Book review: Geography of nowhere

Book review: Geography of nowhere image

A short book review of The Geography of Nowhere: The rise and decline of America's man-made landscape by James Howard Kunstler


Suburbia, suburban sprawl, shopping malls, Modernism, auto-dependence, world expositions, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, DisneyWorld, Sullivan, Bauhaus.

In the classic book that is sometimes used in university courses in cultural geography, Kunstler writes: "I had a hunch that many other people find their surroundings as distressing as I do my own, yet I sensed too that they lack the vocabulary to understand what is wrong with the places they ought to know best. That is why I wrote this book."

The author achieves this very well. He helps the reader analyze the built-up environment and provided a framework for how to think about and describe this. Kunstler also describes many of the economic and political forces that led to the built environment in USA at the time the book was written.

How liveable is your community? To see how your community rates, use this pdf survey.

Now sum the total for the 20 questions. Maximum is 100 points, minimum 20 points.

  • 20 – 40 poor community, a disaster
  • 41 – 60 fair community, needs major improvements
  • 61 – 80 moderately well, some improvements needed
  • 81 – 90 very good community
  • 91 – 100 excellent community