The remaining corner of an old farm, unclaimed by developers.
The brook squeezed between housing plans. Abandoned railroad lines.
The stand of woods along an expanded highway. These are the
outposts of what was once a larger pattern of forests and farms,
the "last landscape." According to William H. Whyte, the place to
work out the problems of our metropolitan areas is within those
areas, not outside them. The age of unchecked expansion without
consequence is over, but where there is waste and neglect there is
opportunity. Our cities and suburbs are not jammed; they just look
that way. There are in fact plenty of ways to use this existing
space to the benefit of the community, and The Last
Landscape provides a practical and timeless framework for
making informed decisions about its use.
Called "the best study available on the problems of open space" by
the New York Times when it first appeared in 1968, The
Last Landscape introduced many cornerstone ideas for land
conservation, urging all of us to make better use of the land that
has survived amid suburban sprawl. Whyte's pioneering work on
easements led to the passage of major open space statutes in many
states, and his argument for using and linking green spaces,
however small the areas may be, is a recommendation that has more
currency today than ever before.
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