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
  • 4.39
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Browse Course Chapters

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

Meet Instructor

Join thousands of urban planners on Planetizen Courses

The film courses are great and really add to the learning experience, I look forward to watching more of them.
- David C.
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