Repairing the American Metropolis

Common Place Revisited

Douglas S. Kelbaugh

  • Published: 2002. Paperback May 2017
  • Subject Listing: Architecture
  • Bibliographic information: 272 pp., 80 illus., 7 x 10 in.
  • Contents

Repairing the American Metropolis is based on Douglas Kelbaugh's Common Place: Toward Neighborhood and Regional Design, first published in 1997. It is more timely and significant than ever, with new text, charts, and images on architecture, sprawl, and New Urbanism, a movement that he helped pioneer. Theory and policies have been revised, refined, updated, and developed as compelling ways to plan and design the built environment.

This is an indispensable book for architects, urban designers and planners, landscape architects, architecture and urban planning students and scholars, government officials, developers, environmentalists, and citizens interested in understanding and shaping the American metropolis.
Douglas Kelbaugh is professor of architecture and urban planning in Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and former principal in Kelbaugh, Calthorpe and Associates in Seattle and in Kelbaugh + Lee in Princeton, New Jersey. Among many other writings, he coauthored the national best seller The Pedestrian Pocket Book.

"At once a primer on how architecture, urban design, and metropolitan planning can be pursued in a key that resonates with sustainability and wise stewardship of the environment and a compelling polemic on why such thinking will produce better places to pursue our livelihoods and live out our lives."
-Alex Krieger, Harvard Graduate School of Design

"Repairing the American Metropolis is written with such exquisite clarity and confidence, it is easy to overlook that Doug Kelbaugh is arguing for nothing less than a fundamental reconsideration of contemporary American architecture and planning."
-Don Prowler, Princeton University

"This is the most sophisticated critical presentation of the New Urbanism to be found anywhere."
-Andres Duany, Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company


1. Suburban Sprawl: Paved with Good Intentions
2. Critical Regionalism: An Architecture of Place
3. Typology: An Architecture of Limits
4. New Urbanism: Versus Everyday Urbanism and Post Urbanism
5. Public Policy: What We Should Do A.S.A.P.


"Kelbaugh describes architects' and urban planners' responses to the problems of 20th-century urbanism and reviews the predicament of modern suburbanization, offering a cognent critique of both modernist and postmodernist paradigms. In contrast to architectural historians who do similar work, however, Kelbaugh also suggests solutions to the spatial problems he documents."

"An academic's thoughtful meditation on values that should underlie development-community, sustainable order, and human spirit-and a discerning examination of the proposed remedies."
-New Urban News

"The reader's urban experience will never be quite the same after experiencing this book. With clarity, precision, and deft detail, Kelbaugh pans the unsustainable design strategies and conceits of an auto-crazed culture, as our human spirit vanishes in the rearview mirror. The author is uniquely well qualified to connect the dots between the habitat we could fashion and the humanity we could reclaim."
-Planning and Zoning News