Urban City Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Edge Cities" by Joel Garreau.

Edge Cities

Joel Garreau authored the best seller on how we build the cities that become the milestones of our civilizations because the fact is that these places are where we find our offices and shopping malls located bringing money to all of us.

The title of the book Edge Cities by Garreau is one book that has been valued by its readers because it opens doors to the subject of unplanned architecture. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier is not only a blockbuster, but The New York Times declared it "the first major book to examine a phenomenon that by any reasonable definition is among the most pressing of our age." Garreau's ability to write is exceptionally different because he has the ability to look into the obvious chaotic mess that will only worsen the future.

The cities that have been defined as the new Edge Cities are as follows, Silicon Valley, Ca., Tysons Corner, Va., Schaumburg, Ill., and Irvine, Ca. They are also the cities that house the headquarters of prestigious companies such as, Microsoft, Motorola, AT&T, Kmart, and Sears. This is why it doesn't come as a surprise to know that some of these Edge Cities are now larger than downtown Seattle or Minneapolis. Perhaps this is because these cities are the places where majority of all Americans prefer to live and work. The author also points out that these cities are where nearly 80% of all the white-collar jobs were they were created. Another interesting point to note is that Garreau states that these new Edge Cities are not just on the American soil but also being built in the urban areas such as, London, Paris, Toronto, Seoul, Peking, and Jakarta, since they contain majority of the world's wealth and provide jobs to many people all over the world.

His work in the book "Edge City," led Garreau to be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize three times. His knowledge is not read by readers but he is valued for this by marketers of consumer products and politicians, as well as financiers from renowned places such as Prudential, CB Commercial, J.P. Morgan, pension funds, and Japanese investors. Even stakeholders such as, the Buckhead Coalition, Oregon Metro and future white-collar staff from reputed universities also treasure his knowledge in the book.

Due to the success of the book, Garreau has been on more than a thousand television and radio programs, including "Good Morning America," "The CBS Evening News With Dan Rather," "The NBC Nightly News," "ABC World News With Peter Jennings," and "The Larry King Show."

Joel Garreau is currently working as a staff writer for The Washington Post, and as a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Policy at George Mason University, a member of the futures consortium known as Global Business Network; and he is also the president of his own company, The Edge City Group.

The truth is that this book is over a decade old, but it still has a classic perception on why we cannot stop the suburban areas from spreading and the reasons for why those who are trying to recreate the 1920'ss style of downtowns are just at the risk of failure in doing so. The author does show a soft corner for the new settlements in the suburban areas, preservationists, and advocates using mass transit system, however he feels that they are overlooking the basic facts that Americans will always be motorists and prefer to have their own mode of transport rather than use public transport. This fact is not linked with the fact that if oil becomes expensive they will obviously choose to use mass transport system, this is because alternative fuels will become an option so that means that the car will always be there regardless. The truth is that no body would want to stand waiting in the pouring rain to take a ride in a bus that may have some bad odor passengers and bums. Another factor is that Americans wouldn't like to walk even 600 feet, though ironically this is the normal distance between anchor stores in a large mall. In his book, Garreau argues that it is not possible to change the new setup or go back to times of the good old days of the American downtown.

The book has a chapter each on the cities of New Jersey, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix, Texas, LA, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The book contains only 2 photos and 10 maps but had the book been more pictorial it would have enhanced the ideology a lot. The book has given rise to good discussions about the important factors and logic people take into consideration when they take decisions about where to live and what should be the location in choosing a house.

Edge City highlights the fact that the suburbs are not just residential areas where people choose to live but go to the cities to work and study, but they are now fast becoming the centers of employment and trade in their own way. This point is elaborately explained in the book in chapters where people are shown traveling to the "Edge City" Silicon Valley for work every day. Each chapter highlights a different edge city and the issues that have arose because of the new way of life in these areas. The book does make a slow read but at the same time it is enjoyable and easy to read.

The book serves to be very interesting for city planners. I think the part where Garreau's discusses the new "downtowns" being built on the outskirts on the suburban areas and along some freeways provides us with a fresh view of the entire change in city planning. At some points he seems to be happy with the ideas that most architectures and city planners seem to criticize.

In the book Edge Cities, the author also talks about the growth poles and how they cater economic linkages that facilitate change. This is to provide us with a better understanding of the impact of Edge Cities on the metropolitan areas and their economy as well.

The concept by Joel Garreau was to explain the new forms of urban expansion in and around major metropolitan complexes in the United States. The general idea of expansion in the metropolitan areas of advanced nations is what it employs. Metropolitan expansion links are closely associated with their national economies. As one reads the book one finds that Garreau helps us understand how the key corporate players are contributing to the strength of the urban and regional arena of national economies.

Garreau has a set of concepts that are explained in his book such as, that the Edge City has five million square feet of leasable office space, as well as plots with a holding of at least six hundred thousand square feet of retail space. The centers are all viewed as work locations with people there during the weekdays but resting in their residential suburbs on the weekends. Edge Cities would be perceived locally as a single end destination for mixed use-jobs, shopping and entertainment (pp. 425). Finally, Garreau saw Edge City sites as having been predominantly rural or residential as little as thirty years ago (pp. 425).

There are some parts that make us feel that the book Edge City by Garreau makes us think that the United States emerged as a service economy because today nearly seven out of ten new jobs are service-oriented. Thanks to the suburban expansion, service industries are also expanding in size and importance in the national economy and many services are now choosing to locate in urban areas.

Reading Garreau's book the Edge City we learn about the growth in the transportation and communications…

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