THE DREAM DEFERRED: People, Politics and Planning in Suburbia by Samuel Kaplan

THE DREAM DEFERRED: People, Politics and Planning in Suburbia

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1968 the Kaplans moved to the pleasant Long Island suburb of Port Washington to enjoy the usual amenities, and soon found themselves enmeshed in local affairs. A pointed remark by Kaplan--former newspaperman, planning and development official--landed him a spot on the Port Washington Citizens Advisory Committee on the Master Plan, where he quickly discovered that ""there is no Port Washington."" Like many suburban railway stops, Port Washington is a patchwork made up--in this case--of four incorporated villages, parts of two others, and about two square miles of unincorporated areas, all within the vague Town of North Hempstead. So Kaplan agitated for a townwide citizens' advisory panel, only to see its efforts stymied and its report shelved. He had run up against suburban amiability (villages run like private clubs) and its obverse, cupidity (""The power to zone is the power to make money""). Other sections--which embrace suburban experiences elsewhere--concern exclusionary zoning, buttressed by the environmental movement and fought by a new alliance of civil rights groups and real estate interests (recent court cases are aired); ""Them""--the blacks who are excluded. . . or snuffed out; the all-pervasive--and regressive--property tax (and the related problem of equalizing public education expenditures); home-grown and relocating businesses. A thorough briefing on suburban problems by a professional who met them head-on at home.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury