It is now impossible to understand major North American cities without considering the seemingly never-ending and ever-growing sprawl of their surrounding suburbs. In The Shape of the Suburbs, activist, urban affairs columnist, and former Toronto mayor John Sewell examines the relationship between the development of suburbs, water and sewage systems, highways, and the decision-making of Toronto-area governments to show how the suburbs spread, and how they have in turn shaped the city.
Using his wealth of knowledge of the city of Toronto and new information gathered from municipal archives, Sewell describes the major movements and forces that allowed for rapid development of the suburbs, while considering the options that were available to planners at the time. Discussing proposals to curb suburban sprawl from the 1960s to the recently adopted plan for the Greater Toronto area, Sewell combines insightful and accessible commentary with rigorous research on the debate between urban and suburban. Concerned not only with sprawl, The Shape of the Suburbs also demonstrates the ways in which suburban political, economic, and cultural influences have impacted the older, central city, culminating in the forced Megacity amalgamation of 1998.
Rich in detail and full of useful visual illustrations, The Shape of the Suburbs is a lively look at the construction of the suburban era.
About the author
JOHN SEWELL served as an alderman on Toronto City Council during the 1970s and was mayor of Toronto from 1978 to 1980. He chaired the Metro Toronto Housing Authority from 1986 to 1988 and the Commission on Planning and Development Reform in Ontario from 1991 to 1993. Sewell wrote an urban affairs column for The Globe and Mail from 1984 to 1986, currently writes for Now, a Toronto weekly, and is the author of Up Against City Hall, Police: Urban Policing in Canada, and the recently published The Shape of the City: Toronto Struggles with Modern Planning.
‘Thoroughly researched, Sewell creatively weaves an abundance of planning documents and historical maps into a compelling story making Shape of the Suburbs a rich and valuable contribution to the history of suburbanization.’
Historical Geography, vol 39:2011
Other titles by John Sewell
Crisis in Canada's Policing
Why change is so hard, and how we can get real reform in our police forces
How We Changed Toronto
The inside story of twelve creative, tumultuous years in civic life, 1969-1980
Police in Canada
The Real Story
A Political Biography
Houses and Homes
Housing for Canadians
The Shape of the City
Toronto Struggles with Modern Planning
Urban Policing in Canada