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Last Harvest

From Cornfield to New Town

Witold Rybczynski


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/17/2007)


When Witold Rybczynski first heard about New Daleville, it was only a developer's idea, attached to ninety acres of cornfield an hour and a half west of Philadelphia. Over the course of five years, Rybczynski met and talked to everyone involved in the building of this residential subdivision -- from the developers to the township leaders, whose approval they needed, to the home builders and engineers and, ultimately, the first families who moved in.

Always eloquent and illuminating, the award-winning author of Now I Sit Me Down looks at this "neotraditional" project, with its houses built close together to encourage a sense of intimacy and community, and explains the trends in American domestic architecture -- from where we place our kitchens and fences to why our bathrooms get larger every year.

Last Harvest was voted one of the ten best books of 2008 by the editors of Planetizen, and as Publishers Weekly said, "Rybczynski provides historical and cultural perspectives in a style reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell, debunking the myth of urban sprawl and explaining American homeowners' preference for single-family dwellings.

Praise For Last Harvest: From Cornfield to New Town

"Maybe you like the way America is being built, maybe you don't, but either way you will not find a more absorbing or patient look at the real real estate process than this elegant time-lapse portrait of a neighborhood-to-be. Witold Rybczynski is the poet laureate of what you haven't noticed that's probably right in front of you." -- Robert Sullivan, author of Cross Country: Fifteen Years and 90,000 Miles on the Roads and Interstates of America

"Nowhere do pretty hypotheses get blast-tested by the facts as in the work of Witold Rybczynski. He is not the kind of scholar who looks at perfectly functional realities and asks whether they can possibly work in theory. Instead, in Last Harvest Rybczynski is our engaging and authentic guide, immersing us in a fascinating narrative of how real people live, work, play -- and build. Last Harvest is The Soul of a New Machine for the new urbanism." -- Joel Garreau, author of Edge City: Life on the New Frontier

"The master has done it again. His best book ever. It is a must-read for anyone interested in urban development. This seemingly simple example sheds light on suburban development and, in the process, why affordable housing is disappearing." -- Dr. Peter Linneman, Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance and Business Public Policy, the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Scribner Book Company, 9780743235976, 315pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2008