Home from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World for the Twenty-First Century

James Howard Kunstler, Author Simon & Schuster $23.5 (320p) ISBN 978-0-684-81196-3

In a slashing, fervent, practical, brilliant critique of the philosophy--or lack thereof--underpinning today's dismal American cities and isolating suburbs, Kunstler argues that our streets, malls, parks, civic buildings and houses frustrate innate psychological needs, violate human scale and thwart our desire to participate in the larger world. An architectural design critic (The Geography of Nowhere) and a novelist, he champions ""new urbanism,"" an architectural reform movement dedicated to producing cohesive, mixed-use neighborhoods for people of widely different incomes, neighborhoods resembling U.S. towns prior to WWII. Using photos and line drawings throughout, he highlights numerous new urbanism-inspired projects around the country, from Seaside, a resort town on the Florida panhandle, to redevelopment schemes in Providence, Memphis, Columbus and Corning, N.Y. He also lashes what he considers the major obstacles to new urbanism-banks that make loans only to projects creating more suburban sprawl; stifling zoning laws; and a property-tax system that punishes builders of quality and ""rewards those who let existing buildings go to hell."" First serial to the Atlantic. (Oct.)