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Subdivide and Conquer (Short Version)
A Modern Western

Suburban sprawl -- causes and remedies.

A printer-friendly version of this page 27 minutes
Produced by Jeff Gersh and Chelsea Congdon
Narrated by Dennis Weaver

"A compelling argument for the containment of sprawl." Jeff Thomas, Northern Arizona University
In the West, as in the rest of the country, sprawl is gobbling up the land. What makes it more shocking in the West is that it assaults our cultural myths about the frontier, its wide-open spaces and unique landscapes.

After examining the causes of sprawl and its devastating effect on our sense of community and the environment, SUBDIVIDE AND CONQUER suggests remedies, and shows examples of sound public policy and good land use planning. It seems that, when presented with a real choice, most of us want to live in distinct, well-designed neighborhoods, with all the amenities and attractions that they provide, and where we don't have to spend inordinate amounts of time in our cars.

SHORT VERSION: Emphasizes the alternatives for reining in sprawl and building more livable communities. It provides only a condensed treatment of how sprawl affects the lives of people and the environment in cities, suburbs and rural areas. It also does not include the history section explaining how sprawl got started and spread to every corner of the country.

Grade Level: 7-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1999     Copyright Date: 1999
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-389-7     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-799-9

"For its first-rate script and score, great production values, and useful suggestions, I highly recommend that you 'head this one up and move it on out to your video shelves."
Video Librarian

"More than merely showing the contradictions of the American Dream in its simultaneous romanticization and destruction of nature, Subdivide and Conquer provides a multidimensional critique and various alternatives to one of the greatest environmental problems facing the U.S. today."
Joe Bandy, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College

"An excellent introduction to the social, political and environmental problems of urban sprawl...Excellently suited for junior or senior level classes in environmental studies at the high school level, or college level classes in modern history, environmental studies, urban studies, interdisciplinary classes that include the above topics."
Kate Foss-Mollan, PhD., author of Hard Water: Politics and Water Supply in Milwaukee

"Subdivide and Conquer is an upbeat and down-home promo for a new brand of proactive incentives-based planning, playing on folks' pride of place as they muster the courage to take a stand against the banditry of sprawl."
Dr. Ian Wright, City Planning and Environmental Design, University of Manitoba

"An entertaining and informative look at the forces that drive development and lead to urban sprawl...Though Subdivide and Conquer maintains a regional focus, the process described in this program applies to the country as a whole."
Todd Gardner, PhD, University of Minnesota, author of The Metropolitan Fringe: Suburbanization in the United States Before World War II

"A well-planned, carefully developed discussion of a problem which plagues many areas of our country far beyond the mountain West...recommended."
Rue Herbert, University of South Florida, MC Journal

"Every viewer of Subdivide and Conquer is bound to learn something new and offers its analysis in a lively and informative manner."
H. Peter Steeves, Dept. of Philosophy, DePaul University

"Opposing business-as-usual practices with optimistic possibilities, this video effectively champions planned development in the West."

"Revelations like these should make Subdivide and Conquer the anti-sprawl activist's favorite documentary."
Sierra Magazine

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Study guide

Awards and Festivals
Best Environmental Program, MountainFilm, Telluride
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film Festival

Air Pollution
American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Land Use
Local Economies
Public Policy

Social Studies
Urban Studies
Urban and Regional Planning
Western US

Related Titles

Subdivide and Conquer
Suburban sprawl: causes and remedies.

Store Wars
Looks at the impact on a small town when Wal-Mart plans to build a mega-store there.

Save Our Land, Save Our Towns
Examines the causes and effects of -- and then remedies for -- suburban sprawl.

Livable Landscapes
How growth and sprawl affect the quality of life in New England, and some possible solutions.

Is "sustainable cities" an oxymoron or can they be made to work?

ReInventing The World
Three 50-minute programs on creating sustainable cities, food systems, and lifestyles.

Wind River
The battle over water rights on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Community by Design
Good design of houses and neighborhoods builds community.

The Air We Breathe
Connects asthma and other respiratory diseases with air pollution and suburban sprawl.

Possum's Rest
Can humans and wildlife co-exist in the suburbs?

Escaping from History
Poverty and consumerism clash in Mexico City. What can we do?

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