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A Field Guide to Sprawl

Organized by the Hudson River Museum
Travels to Yale University, August 2007

YONKERS , NY . May 30, 2007 — A Field Guide to Sprawl, a traveling exhibition organized by the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, is based on the book by the same name — the product of aerial photojournalist Jim Wark and author Dolores Hayden. Their book features forty-eight aerial photographs of “sprawl” from around United States cities with insightful commentary by Hayden, who writes about the cultural landscape where Americans live and work, from the inner city to the outer suburbs. An urban historian and architect, she is Professor of Architecture and American Studies at Yale University, and she has explored the politics of planning and design in her award-winning books that include The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History, 1995; Redesigning the American Dream: Gender, Housing, and Family Life, revised edition, 2002; and, Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 2003.

Wark’s photographs show the excesses of the built environment as types of sprawl, rather than locating sprawl by location. Hayden describes America’s landscape with new names like “Alligator,” “Ball Pork,” “Edge Node” and “Leapfrog.” Whatever the name or image, sprawl is easily recognized by Americans, who inhabit sprawling metropolitan regions layered with tracts, strips, office parks, and highways.

The exhibition A Field Guide to Sprawl has its roots in Westchester: The American Suburb, an exhibition organized by the Hudson River Museum in 2006. Exploring the impact of increasing traffic, development, and density in a growing United States , “Suburbs” highlighted a fast growing “edge city” and a rustic village, both open to often overwhelming social and physical changes.

This traveling exhibition depicts sprawl and debates its effects. A process of careless land use, sprawl is visible in constant new construction at the fringes of cities and suburbs, coupled with lack of investment in older downtowns and suburbs. The effects of sprawl are discussed with an essential vocabulary that not only includes familiar terms such as subdivision, highway, and parking lot, but also the more exotic growth machine, category —killer, privatopia, tank farm, and tower farm. The show forms a “devil’s dictionary” of bad building patterns, from alligator to zoomburb.

A Field Guide to Sprawl , curated by Bartholomew F. Bland, Curator of Exhibitions for Hudson River Museum , was first presented at the Westchester Arts Council, White Plains , and will be on view at Yale University , New Haven , from August 31 to October 19, 2007 .

The Hudson River Museum is located at 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers NY. minutes from the Saw Mill River Parkway, exit 9, north or southbound
Information and directions: 914.963.4550 and
www.hrm.org.
Museum admission: Adults $5; Seniors 62 & older and children 5-16  $3. Fridays 5 to 8 pm to galleries and the planetarium free

The largest and oldest museum in Westchester County, the Hudson River Museum is a multi-disciplinary cultural complex that draws its identity from its site on the banks of the Hudson River, and seeks to broaden the cultural horizons of all its visitors. It engages in the presentation of exhibitions, programs, teaching initiatives, research, collection, preservation, and conservation – a wide range of activities that interpret its collections, interests and communities.

   

 

 



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