black and white image aerial of suburban homes

The Story of Sprawl

This series of historic films, ranging from 1939 until 1965, offers a unique look at the forces that created urban sprawl.

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Course Info

  • Duration 9 video lessons (163 Mins)
  • Published Published
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Browse Course Chapters

  • 1. Introduction (2 mins)
  • 2. The City (1939) (32 mins)
  • 3. Cities How They Grow (1952) (9 mins)
  • 4. Homes for Veterans (1946) (14 mins)
  • 5. For the Living (1949) (21 mins)
  • 6. Give Yourself the Green Light (1954) (22 mins)
  • 7. In the Suburbs (1957) (19 mins)
  • 8. Community Growth: Crisis and Challenge (1959) (16 mins)
  • 9. No Time for Ugliness (1965) (24 mins)

Course Description

This course offers a visual document of how the United States sprawled, as told by a series of historic films ranging from 1939's The City, created by famed planner Lewis Mumford, to 1965's No Time For Ugliness, produced by the American Institute of Architects. Through these films, see how the United States changed shape through the middle of the 20th century, spurred on by the rise of the automobile, G.I.s returning from WWII, and various political interests.

In this course, you can watch the films on their own. To get a modern perspective on what these films represent, we've recorded commentary tracks for each video with noted planners and authors: The Story of Sprawl - With Commentary Tracks

Image: Nelson Minar

Learn these skills

  • Development
  • Housing
  • Land Use
  • Regulations
  • Transportation
  • Urban Design
  • Walkability
  • Zoning Codes

Meet Your Instructor

Tim Halbur

Tim Halbur

Tim Halbur is communications director for the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), the leading organization promoting walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development, sustainable communities and healthier living conditions.

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