Suggested Reading

Edge City draws on the efforts of many thoughtful people. It is not possible to list all their works. So this, instead, is a cull of items that I think the general reader may find useful, enjoyable, and even startling. Many of these, in turn, have bibliographies and notes that lead off in yet more directions.

This is a personal list-hardly an attempt at a complete one. Nor is it a list of prime sources. Many of those were interviews, several were computer runs, and more than a few were too boring to inflict casually on other human beings. Readers with specific questions about resources and research opportunities are welcome to contact the author in care of The Edge City Group, Broad Run, VA 22014-9501.

On the Shaping of America


Allen, Frederick Lewis. The Big Change: America Transforms Itself, 1900-1950. New York: Harper & Bros., 1952.

Bailyn, Bernard. Voyagers to the West. New York: Knopf, 1986. Barone, Michael. Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan. New York: Free Press, 1990.

—————, and Grant Ujifusa. The Almanac of American Politics 1990. Washington, D.C.: National Journal, 1990.

The biennial review of who we are, how we got that way, and where we're headed that focuses down to the county level and up to the perspective of centuries. Quite a stunt.


Baudrillard, Jean. America. London: Verso, 1989.

A postmodernist de Tocqueville. More about postmodernism under "The Rise of Edge City."


Bell, Daniel. The Coming of the Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting. New York: Basic Books, 1976.

Boorstin, Daniel. The Discoverers. New York: Random House, 1983. Conzen, Michael P., ed. The Making of the American Landscape. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990.

Garreau, Joel. The Nine Nations of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.

Gottmann, Jean. Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States. New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1961.

The Work that introduced a new Word to the language and changed the Way America saw itself.


Herbers, John. The New Heartland: America's Flight Beyond the Suburbs and How It Is Changing Our Future. New York: Times Books, 1986.

Kotkin, Joel, and Yoriko Kishimoto. The Third Century: America's Resurgence in the Asian Era. New York: Crown, 1988.

Louv, Richard. America II. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1983.

Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. London: Oxford University Press, 1964.

Meinig, D. W. The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History. Vol. 1, Atlantic America, 1492-1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986).

The best single volume on how America Was shaped in the three centuries leading up to the Revolution. The maps alone—showing how the World Was viewed by people dependent on Wind and tide—are Worth the price.


Mitchell, Robert D., and Paul A. Groves, eds. North America: The Historical Geography of a Changing Continent. Totowa, N.J.: Row man & Littlefield, 1987.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America, 2 vols. Edited by J. P. Mayer. Translated by George Lawrence. New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1975

Toffler, Alvin. Future Shock. New York: Random House, 1970.

—————. The Third Wave. New York: Morrow, 1980.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Edited by Leo Marx. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967.

Wiebe, Robert H. The Opening of American Society: From the Adoption of the Constitution to the Eve of Disunion. New York: Knopf, 1984.

Zelinsky, Wilbur. The Cultural Geography of the United States. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1973.

On the Art and Science of Seeing One's Surroundings Anew


Clay, Grady. Close-up: How to Read the American City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.

—————. "The Street as Teacher." In Public Streets for Public Use. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1987.

—————. Right Before Your Eyes: Penetrating the Urban Environment. Chicago: American Planning Association Press, 1988.

Gould, Peter, and Rodney White. Mental Maps. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1974.

Jackson, John Brinckerhoff. Landscapes: Selected Writings of B. Jackson. Edited by Ervin H. Zube. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1970.

—————. The Necessity For Ruins. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980.

—————. Discovering the Vernacular Landscape. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984.

Lewis, Peirce F. "Axioms for Reading the Landscape, Some Guides to the American Scene." In The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays, edited by D. W. Meinig. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979.

—————. "Learning from Looking: Geographic and Other Writing About the American Cultural Landscape." In Material Culture: A Research Guide, edited by Thomas Schlereth. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988.

Liebs, Chester H. Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture, Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1985.

Lynch, Kevin. Image of the City. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1960.

—————. What Time Is This Place? Cambridge: MIT Press, 1972.

Venturi, Robert, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour. Learning from Las Vegas. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988.

Whyte, William H. "A Guide to Peoplewatching." In Urban Open Spaces. New York: Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 1979.

Zelinsky, Wilbur. "Oh Say, Can You See? Nationalistic Emblems in the Landscape." Winterthur Portfolio 19, no. 4 (Winter 198 4): 77-86.

—————. "A Toponymic Approach to the Geography of American Cemeteries." Names 38, no. 3 (1990): 109-21.

And cemeteries? And cemeteries.

Grady Clay, J. B. Jackson, Peirce Lewis, and Wilbur Zelinsky are America's foremost chroniclers of everyday places. Like most cultural geographers, they are also delightful reading companions.


On the Shaping of Cities


Bacon, Edmund N. Design of Cities. New York: Penguin, 1976.

Barnett, Jonathan. The Elusive City: Five Centuries of Design, Ambition, and Miscalculation. New York: Harper & Row, 1986.

Braudel, Fernand. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. Vols. 1 and 2. 2d rev. ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Fishman, Robert. Urban Utopias in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1988.

Goldberg, Michael A., and John Mercer. The Myth of the North American City. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986.

Gottmann, Jean, and Robert A. Harper, eds. Since Megalopolis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961.

—————. Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principles of Economic Life. New York: Random House, 1984.

Hamer, David. New Towns in the New World: Images and Perceptions of the Nineteenth-Century Urban Frontier. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Hartshorn, Truman A. Interpreting the City: An Urban Geography. New York: Wiley, 1980.

Konvitz, Josef W. The Urban Millennium: The City-Building Process from the Early Middle Ages to the Present. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1985.

Le Corbusier. The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning. New York: Dover, 1987.

Monkkonen, Eric. America Becomes Urban. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

Mumford, Lewis. The Culture of Cities. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1938. —————. The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1961.

—————. The Lewis Mumford Reader. Edited by Donald L. Miller. New York: Pantheon, 1986.

Vance, James E., Jr. This Scene of Man: The Role and Structure of the City in the Geography of Western Civilization. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

The most useful one-volume Work on the rise of cities throughout history that I know. I found myself turning to it more often than to Mumford.


Warner, Sam Bass, Jr. Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston, 1870-1900. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962.

—————. The Private City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968.

—————. The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Wonderful photos.


Whyte, William H. The Last Landscape. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968.

—————. City: Rediscovering the Center. New York: Doubleday, 1988.

On Suburbia


Fishman, Robert. Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia. New York: Basic Books, 1987.

Jackson, Kenneth. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Stilgoe, John. Borderland: Origins of the American Suburb, 1820-1939. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

These are the three major modern books on suburbia. I am partial to Fishman's Work, for he is the most forward-looking analyst, seeing clearly how the desires that produced suburbia inexorably lead to Edge City.


On the Rise of Edge City


Baerwald, Thomas. "Emergence of a New Downtown," Geographical Review 68 (July 1978).

—————. "Major Diversified Centers in Midwestern Metropolises." Paper presented to West Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers, November 1983.

Birch, David. "From Suburb to Urban Place," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 422 (1975).

Downs, Anthony. The Need for a New Vision for the Development of Large U.S. Metropolitan Areas. New York: Salomon Brothers, August 1989. "Edge Cities." Landscape Architecture 78, no. 8 (December 1988). With a cover story by Joel Garreau.

Fishman, Robert. "Megalopolis Unbound." Wilson Quarterly (Winter 1990).

The definitive Work on Edge City topics to that date.


Forbes, Bryan, director, and Edgar J. Scherick, producer. Stepford Wives. Columbia, 1975.

Be careful what you ask for.


Garreau, Joel. "The Emerging Cities of Washington: From Suburbs, Cities Are Springing Up in Our Back Yards" Washington Post, March 8, 1987.

—————. "The Emerging Cities: Civilization and the Suburbs." Washington Post, June 19-20, 1988.

Hartshorn, Truman A. "Industrial Parks/Office Parks: A New Look for the City." Journal of Geography 62 (March 1973).

—————, and Peter O. Muller. Suburban Business Centers: Employment Implications. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1986. Landscape Magazine 3o, no. 3 (1990). P.O. Box 7107, Berkeley, CA 94707.

Landscape Magazine, Which was founded by J. B. Jackson, is always a font of earthly delights, but this issue includes a remarkable compilation of insights on Edge City topics, especially Robert L. Thayer, Jr., "Pragmatism in Paradise: Technology and the American Landscape," p. 1; Richard West Sellars, "Why Take a Trip to Bountiful—Won't Anaheim Do?," p. 14; and Judith A. Martin, "European Models and American Realities: A Perspective on Urban Design," p. 36, in Which Martin trashes European models.


Leinberger, Christopher B. "The Six Types of Urban Village Cores." Urban Land 47 (May 1888).

—————. "Development Trends and Real Estate Opportunities in the 1990's." Urban Land (December 1990).

—————, and Charles Lockwood. "How Business Is Reshaping America." Atlantic, October 1986.

This was the article that introduced the idea of Edge City in the popular press.


Lewis, Peirce F. "The Unprecedented City." In The American Land. New York: Norton, 1979.

—————. "The Galactic Metropolis." In Beyond the Urban Fringe, edited by Rutherford H. Platt and George Macinko. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.

—————. The New City. Lecture delivered at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, conference, Changing Scale: Recent Projects, April 7, 1990.

Of the people who saw Edge Cities coming early, the ones from whom I learned the most were Robert Fishman, Christopher Leinberger, and Peirce Lewis.


Muller, Peter O. Contemporary Suburban America. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1981.

—————. "Transportation and Urban Form: Stages in the Spatial Evolution of the American Metropolis." In Geography of Urban Transportation, edited by Susan Hanson. New York: Guilford Press, 1986.

Scott, Ridley, director, and Michael Deeley, producer. Blade Runner. Warner Bros., 1982.

Soja, Edward W. Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory. London: Verso, 1989.

Postmodernism, as I understand it, is that school of thought whose bottom-line observation is that human reality is always more complicated than any structure you can erect to describe it. Hence, it refers to a diverse collection of people who are united less by what they believe than by what they do not believe—i.e., that the giant system-makers of the past like Rene Descartes, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud have a lock on truth. Postmodernism is especially embraced by those of the left, like Soja, who recognize that today's communism is terminal but who nonetheless can make a convincing case that today's capitalism is a less than pretty description of what makes humans tick. Sadly, the term "postmodern" is also all too often wrapped like a protective cloak around writing that mistakes incomprehensibility for profundity. But the postmodernists, I think, are on to something. In a war today, for example, the ephemeral perceptions of millions of individuals around the globe watching that war live on CNN are far more likely to produce results that lead to tangible change than are the actual physical realities produced by the bombings of the war itself. Those who are groping for a larger explanation of the working of that and the myriad other weirdnesses of our times that appear to defy description—much less sense—are not wasting their time.


Warner, Sam Bass, Jr. "Suburb City Relations: When Suburb Becomes City." Paper presented at the Conference on the Future of the Design of Suburbs in America sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Boston University, February 8, 1988.

Welfeld, Irving. Where We Live: The American Home and the Social, Political, and Economic Landscape, from Slums to Suburbs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

An authoritative dose of reality that dashes much of conventional Wisdom. The book is made even more attractive by the fact that the author actually has a sense of humor.


Wells, H. G. "The Probable Diffusion of Great Cities." In Anticipations and Other Papers, vol. 4 of The Works of H. G. Wells. New York: Scribner's, 1924.

Wood, Joseph S. "Suburbanization of Center City." Geographical Review 78 (1988).

Wright, Frank Lloyd. The Living City. New York: Horizon Press, 1958.

On the Automobile and the Future of Mobility


Batten, David F., and Roland Thord, eds. Transportation for the Future. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1989.

Bruce-Briggs, Barry. The War Against the Automobile. New York: Dutton, 1977.

The combative tone of this defense of the automobile can be excessive. Nonetheless, it remains the best single explanation of why our great-grandchildren will probably be conveyed to the maternity ward to have children in an individual transportation device that has four Wheels and a steering column.


Cervero, Robert. Suburban Gridlock. New Brunswick, N.J.: Center for Urban Policy Research, Rutgers University, 1986.

—————. America's Suburban Centers: A Study of the Land Use/Transportation Link. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1988.

—————. "Jobs-Housing Balancing and Regional Mobility." American Planning Association (Spring 1989).

Downs, Anthony. "The Law of Peak-Hour Expressway Congestion." Traffic Quarterly 16, no. 3 (July 1962), updated.

Dunphy, Robert T. "In Search of the Holy Rail." Urban Land (May 1990).

Gregor, Harry P. "Alcohol Fuel: The One for the Road," Washington Post, July 9, 1989.

Laas, William, ed. Freedom of the American Road. Dearborn: Ford Motor Company, 1956.

With a foreword by Henry Ford II and an introduction by the historian Bernard DeVoto, this is a wonderfully antique cultural artifact that presents With pride the virtues of the freeways and makes no bones that first among them is freedom.


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