The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome

John Wasik

Bloomberg Press,  June 2009

An incisive look at the consequences of today's costly and damaging suburban lifestyle

Wasik's observations are firmly grounded in exclusive on-the-ground research, interviews with thought leaders, and the latest studies and statistics. He exposes the untold truths about home ownership: “green” isn't always so “green”; life isn't cheaper after accounting for gas, water, and taxes; and modern suburban living isn't so idyllic considering the toll it takes on our health. But some are attempting to revive suburbia, and Wasik shows us how.

The roots of the worst housing bust in generations lie in the mythology of the American dream: buy as much house as possible, move away from urban centers, home prices will always go up, the schools there are “better.” The foundation of the dream itself is faulty; indeed, the desire that “every man have his castle” is bankrupting us.

Today's crisis in home values is the least of suburbia's problems. The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome details the destructive connections between home ownership, economics, and the environment. John Wasik provides powerful insights into how the U.S. suburban lifestyle became unsustainable and what can be done to salvage it.

hardcover | ISBN: 9781576603208 | Publication Date: June 2009

"John Wasik's The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome offers enough to chew on for three sets of teeth, enough to digest for three stomachs, and then alerts the mind faster than an approaching siren."
--Ralph Nader, Consumer advocate

"Get ready for a totally original look at the American dream. Wasik delivers the first truly multidisciplinary examination -- using planning, law, architecture, and history to focus on working solutions that can keep the dream alive. This is a winner!"
--Paul B. Farrell, JD, PhD, Columnist,, author of The Millionaire Code

This excellent book takes a ground-level look at the causes of our housing crisis and offers myriad ideas on reinventing the concepts of home and community."
--Ilyce R.Glink, Syndicated real estate columnist and author of 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask

"A genuine kick to the head, showing how our individual quests for the biggest house on the hill is destroying our environment, the economy, and our health. But The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome is no dead end. It offers a green, urbanized promised land with real community, more free time, and a higher living standard. It's a masterful blueprint to unpave paradise and restore the world we cherish."
--Laurence Kotlikoff, Coauthor of Spend 'Til the End: The Revolutionary Guide to Raising Your Living Standard -- Today and When You Retire