Here the Vincent Scully Prize–winning architect and critic who penned A Clearing in the Distance and the Governor General's Award winner Home: A Short History of an Idea looks at the maze of cultural, commercial, and legal entanglements in the seemingly simple project of building a modest subdivision in Pennsylvania. New Daleville was designed in response to community council members who wanted something "neotraditional"—well-built houses with smaller lots and more community space. Over five years, Witold Rybczynski interviewed everyone involved in the transformation of this land; he tells their stories and also explains trends in American domestic architecture, from where we place our kitchens and fences to why our bathrooms get larger every year.
"[The author] provides historical and cultural perspective in a style reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell, debunking the myth of urban sprawl and explaining American homeowners' preference for single-family dwellings. But Rybczynski also excels at the 'close-up,' John McPhee's method of reporting, where every interview reads like an intimate conversation, and a simple walk down neighborhood sidewalks can reveal a wealth of history."—Publishers Weekly