Classic References on the History of Suburbia

Fishman, Robert. Bourgeois Utopias. New York: Basic Books, 1987.

Hayden, Dolores. Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000. New York: Pantheon, 2003.

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

Kruse, Kevin M. and Thomas J. Sugrue. The New Suburban History. University Of Chicago Press, 2006.

Nicolaides, Becky M. and Andrew Wiese, eds. The Suburb Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Books on Suburbia and Suburban Retrofitting

Barnett, Jonathan. Redesigning Cities: Principles, Practice, Implementation. Chicago: APA Planners Press, 2003.

Blauvelt, Andrew, ed. Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2008.

Bohl, Charles C. Place Making: Developing Town Centers, Main Streets, and Urban Villages. Washington, D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 2002.

Booth, Geoffrey et al. Ten Principles for Reinventing America’s Suburban Business Districts. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Land Institute, 2002.

Campoli, Julie, and Alex S. MacLean. Visualizing Density. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2007. Online resources at

Chapin, Ross. Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small Scale Community in a Large Scale World. Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 2011.

Chase, John, Margaret Crawford and John Kaliski. Everyday Urbanism: Updated and Expanded. New York: Monacelli, 2008.

Christensen, Julia. Big Box Reuse. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008.

Crankshaw, Ned. Creating Vibrant Public Spaces: Streetscape Design in Commercial and Historic Districts. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2008.

Dunham-Jones, Ellen, and June Williamson. Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Dunster, Bill, Craig Simmons and Bobby Gilbert. The ZEDbook: Solutions for a Shrinking World. London: Taylor & Francis, 2008.

Ewing, Reid, Keith Batholomew, Steve Winckelman, Jerry Walters, and Don Chen with Barbara McCann and David Goldberg. Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute, 2008.

Farr, Douglas. Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Florida, Richard. Cities and the Creative Class. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Frumkin, Howard, Lawrence Frank, and Richard Jackson. Urban Sprawl and Public Health: Designing, Planning, and Building for Healthy Communities. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2004.

Girling, Cynthia, and Ronald Kellett. Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2005.

Jacobs, Allan B., Elizabeth Macdonald, and Yodan Rofé. The Boulevard Book: History, Evolution, Design of Multiway Boulevards.. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.

Leinberger, Christopher B. The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2007.

Lukez, Paul. Suburban Transformations. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007.

Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: Cafés, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts, and How They Get You through the Day. New York: Marlowe, 1997.

Rowe, Peter. Making a Middle Landscape. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1991.

Saunders, William ed. Sprawl and Suburbia: A Harvard Design Magazine Reader. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

Scheer, Brenda Case, and Kiril Stanilov. Suburban Form: An International Perspective. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Sobel, Lee, Greyfields into Goldfields: Dead Malls become Living Neighborhoods. San Francisco: Congress for the New Urbanism. 2002.

Articles in Print and/or Online

Arieff, Allison, “Opinionator” Blog for the New York Times:

Armborst, Tobias, Daniel D’Oca and Georgeen Theodore, “Community: The American Way of Living,”
Places online (2009).

Bohl, Charles C. with Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, “Building Community across the Rural-to-Urban Transect,”
Places 18:1 (Spring 2006): 4-17.

Brill, Michael, “Problems with Mistaking Community Life for Public Life,”
Places 14:2 (2001): 48-55.

Center for Transit-Oriented Development, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Capturing the Demand for Housing near Transit” (Oakland, CA: Reconnecting America, September 2004, revised April 2005),

Dunham-Jones, Ellen, and June Williamson, “Instant Cities, Instant Architecture, and Incremental Metropolitanism,” Harvard Design Magazine 28, online (Spring/Summer 2008),

Dunham-Jones, Ellen, and June Williamson, “Retrofitting Suburbia,”Urban Land, 68:6 (June 2009): 38-47.…/Magazines/UrbanLand/…/UrbanLand/…/Jones.ashx

Dunham-Jones, Ellen, and June Williamson, guest editors. “Retrofitting Suburbia,” Places 17:2 (Summer 2005).
Entire issue available online at;issue=2 

Gamble, Michael and Jude LeBlanc, “Incremental Urbanism: New Models for the Redesign of America’s Commercial Strip,” Harvard Design Magazine 21 (Fall/Winter 2004).

Nelson, Arthur C., “Leadership in a New Era,” Journal of the American Planning Association 72:4 (Autumn 2006): 393-407.

Ouroussoff, Nicolai, “Learning From Tijuana: Hudson, N.Y., Considers Different Housing Model, ” New York Times, February 19, 2008.

Payton, Neal and Brian O’Looney, “Seeking Urbane Parking Solutions,”
Places 18:1 (Spring 2006).×236

Scheer, Brenda Case, “The Anatomy of Sprawl,”
Places 14:2 (2001). Online at

Southworth, Michael, “Reinventing Main Street: From Mall to Townscape Mall,” Journal of Urban Design 10:2 (June 2005): 151-170.

Online Resources

Atlanta Regional Commission’s Livable Centers Initiative:

Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program:

Center for Neighborhood Technology, Housing + Transportation Index:

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy:

National Resources Defense Council, “Smart Growth” issue page:

National Trust for Historic Preservation “Main Street” Center:

Pocket Neighborhoods:

Project for Public Spaces:

Reconnecting America:

Regional Plan Association of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, program on Community Design:

Sprawl Retrofit Initiative of the Congress for the New Urbanism:


US Green Building Council’s LEED for Neighborhood Development:


Histories of Long Island

Hofstra University’s Long Island Studies Institute Collectionon the history and development of the region including the papers of several notable Long Islanders and Long Island organizations. Additionally the collection includes documents, pamphlets, plans, and maps focusing on suburban planning on Long Island. Some topics represented are erosion, land use, parks, population, transportation, and water.

The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages offers several permanent exhibitions about life on Long Island with particular emphasis on the 19th century.

Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities is a museum in Cold Spring Harbor with a large collection of artifacts from the 19th and early 20th century. Several publications are also available focusing on specific historical topics.

Kelly, Barbara M., ed. Long Island: The Suburban Experience. 1990.

Kelly, Barbara M. Expanding the American Dream: Building and Rebuilding Levittown. 1993.

Krieg, Joann P. and Natalie A. Naylor, eds. Nassau County: From Rural Hinterland to Suburban Metropolis. 2000.

Martin, Linda B. Nassau County at 100: The Past and Present in Photographs. 1999.

Sachs, Charles L. Blessed Isle: Hal B. Fullerton and His Image of Long Island, 1897-1927. 1991.

Wayne, Kenneth and Erik Neil, eds. Long Island Moderns: Art and Architecture on the North Shore and Beyond. Huntington, NY: Heckscher Museum, 2009.

Planning Reports

A wide variety of publications are available from the Suffolk County Planning Department covering housing inventories, land use studies, downtown surveys, population analyses, maps and much more.

In Nassau County, the recent countywide Master Plan is available from:

Culture: Literature, Film and TV

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set in on the north shore of Long Island in a burg named “West Egg,” a stand in for Great Neck.

L.I.E.: A Novel (2000) by David Hollander (also a 2001 film starring Paul Dano and Brian Cox), a coming of age story set in the 1980s among the strip malls, subdivisions and highways of blue-collar Suffolk County.

Aloft (2004) by Chang-rae Lee, described as “the suburban novel meets the immigrant novel.”

Judy Berlin (1999), with Edie Falco, set in Babylon during a solar eclipse, is an unusual take on filmic suburban dystopia.

Farmingville (2003), by Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval, is a moving documentary about the turmoil over the presence of Mexican day laborers in the blue-collar Long Island town of Farmingville.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), a quirky film starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, takes place in Rockville Centre and Montauk.

Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS, 1996-2005), which starred Ray Romano, is set in Lynbrook.

Leaving Long Island (2009), 3-part series on WLIW Long Island Public Television: