March 15, 2018
(Stream / download audio at bottom of page)
First published in 1994 but sadly more relevant than ever, The Geography of Nowhere traces America’s evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones, and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots. In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts America’s evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern car-centric suburb in all its ghastliness, adding up the huge economic, social, and spiritual costs that the U.S. is paying for its gas-guzzling lifestyle.
It is also a wake-up call for citizens to reinvent the places where we live and work, and to build communities that are once again worthy of our affection. Kunstler proposes that by reviving civic art and civic life, we will rediscover public virtue and a new vision of the common good. “The future”, he says, “will require us to build better places, or the future will belong to other people in other societies.”
The Geography of Nowhere has become a touchstone work in the decades since its initial publication, its incisive commentary giving voice to the feeling of millions of Americans that their nation’s suburban environments are ceasing to be credible human habitats. We examine what has changed during the intervening years and ask, in the shadow of looming political, social, economic, and environmental crises, whether anything worthwhile might be salvaged from the wreckage that America’s suburban sprawl must inevitably become.
Previous interview with James Howard Kunstler:
Too Much Magic
architecture, collapse of society, consumerism, corporate control, depopulation, Dmitry Orlov, Donald Trump, economics, energy crisis, James Howard Kunstler, John Michael Greer, peak oil, sustainability, transition movement, utopia