The City's Limits
Why Living Smaller, Living Closer,and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability.
By David Owen.
Riverhead. 357 pp. $25.95
From the moment Henry David Thoreau drove a post into the shores of Walden Pond, the American environmental movement declared its hostility toward cities—those sooted handmaidens of industrial despoliation into which, by 1920, half the American population was smooshed. The argument against urban congestion was moral, aesthetic, and increasingly grounded in science. Yet in spite of the hygienic improvements of Progressive-era municipal reforms, the birth of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and the...