Fixing the mess we made

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Emily Talen examines the challenges facing planners in the US in light of increasing urban sprawl and the corrective measures that need to be taken. In the short term, sprawl repair, or suburban retrofit, is driven by failing malls, widespread housing foreclosures, and the need to stimulate new forms of investment. Sprawl repair requires both big thinking and political moxy. There are rights-of-way to be negotiated, multiple property owners to be organized, and lawsuits to fend off. Building incrementally, with lower levels of debt, may be more realistic. For the purpose of sprawl repair, however, smaller projects may not have the heft to establish a fundamentally new type of urban pattern. Planners could also help by coordinating sprawl repair efforts and creating strategic plans. They could position individual projects to be part of a broader framework, a far more effective approach than one isolated mall retrofit at a time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-36
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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