Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

New Book Explores The End Of Suburban Sprawl


Benjamin Ross, Author of, "Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism"

Howard Blackson, Chair of the California Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism

"Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism" is a new book by Benjamin Ross, a transit activist who lives in Maryland.

The suburbs take a lot of criticism. They are ridiculed in songs, portrayed as stultifying and bland in literature and blamed for everything from childhood obesity to climate change.

But, in the beginning, suburbs seemed a benign idea, a patch of green to give middle-class families a breather from noisy, dirty cities. So what happened?

Author Benjamin Ross was president of a group in Maryland that has been trying to build a light rail line since the early 1980s.

Ross said the group built a coalition of environmentalists, labor and civic groups who supported the project but after 15 years of work and no light rail line to show for it, he wanted to understand why it was so difficult to get the job done.

The result is his new book, "Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism." Ross traced the history of suburbia across the nation and here in San Diego. He examined the reasons that suburban sprawl continues to exist and offered suggestions for a comprehensive change in land use planning.

Ross will be singing copies of his book and giving a talk on April 28 at 7 p.m. at Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Seaport Village

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.