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The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream    by John F Wasik order for
Cul-de-Sac Syndrome
by John F Wasik
Order:  USA  Can
Bloomberg Press, 2009 (2009)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Author and award-winning consumer journalist John F. Wasik carefully explains what on earth happened to create the devastating housing and mortgage nightmare Americans have experienced over the past year and more. While not excusing what he calls the 'stereotypical villains,' Wall Street bankers, the government, and greedy profiteers, Wasik says there's plenty of blame to go around.

Wasik believes a fundamental contributing factor is the unsustainable dream of homeownership (bigger is better) in the suburbs, which, in view of the precarious state of the economy, the planet, and our sanity, has to go. He makes a good case.

The book is partitioned into two parts. Part One analyzes how various factors fed off each other - as government looked the other way - to create the housing debacle. Part Two lays out a sustainable plan, including incorporating smarter building strategies such as manufactured modular built homes (a la California architect Michelle Kaufman), eschewing suburbia and embracing community-centric inner city living (as promoted by Angela Hurlock and The Claretians), and incorporating the smart growth principles of New Urbanism.

This extremely current book (some early 2009 data is included) does a nice job of explaining a complex problem in easily understood terms; it's consumer-friendly. Also, Wasik's elaboration of the sustainable possibilities for communities educates readers who wish to play a role in the metamorphosis that must take place to prevent another housing recession in the future.

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