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Book Reviews: Better, Not Bigger

“Better NOT Bigger is an important primer explaining and exploding the myths of our more is better political culture and provides basic tools for those seeking to deal fairly and - yes, smartly - with growth”

Carolyn Chase, San Diego Earth Times,

“...this clearly organized and readable paperback just might be the most useful $14.95 you’ve spent if you’re looking out for the future of your town.”

Fred Kosnitsky, The Simple Life (column), Vermont Times, 3/22/00
(The Simple Life, 44 North Main St., St. Albans VT 05478, or

“The most useful piece of writing on sprawl control I've seen.”

Donnella Meadows, The Global Citizen, March 11, 1999. See more reviews from her columns of the same time period at Meadows was a professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College and authored "Beyond the Limits"(1992) a sequel to her landmark book "The Limits to Growth."

“For any reader interested in understanding and solving urban growth problems, it is likely that there is not a better resource book available.”

Jim Leonard, Land Use Information Network, Davis, CA. See full review at http://www/

“In all, Better, Not Bigger provides a detailed and challenging look at the newest information available concerning the impacts of the new growth of the 1990s. It also gives excellent organizing information for citizens wanting to become active in shaping their communities.”

Small Town Magazine, p. 30 (January 2000 issue?)

“In his first book, Better Not Bigger, Oregon community planning consultant Eben Fodor breaks down many of the myths and misconceptions regarding the benefits of urban growth. Fodor suggests that community activists and elected officials should ask hard questions about what they really want to achieve and then offers a range of policy options to get there. The book is well documented and full of case studies, primarily from California, Colorado, New Jersey, and his own Oregon.”

Cynthia Pollock Shea, Editor, Florida Sustainable Communities Center News. (April 18, 1999)

See the full review on their web site:

“The author presents his arguments clearly, devoting entire chapters to shooting down the popular myths that have kept this [growth] juggernaut moving forward so long. He presents data in lucid charts and graphs and enough anecdotal evidence to give the reader pause. He also provides realistic, step-by-step solutions that residents can take to ensure that their communities maintain a level of vibrancy that sustains the economic health of the community without falling prey to these developers.

“This book is target to the activist or a person ready to challenge an accepted cultural mindset and actually do something. The text, which encourages the reticent, is well-documented and offers numerous other sources that can help.”

Karl Kunkel, Independent Publisher (date unknown, maybe April 1999)

“Eben Fodor's new book, “Better, Not Bigger: How to Take Control of Urban Growth and Improve Your Community,” might just encourage you to get involved in your community's future again. Fodor, a long-time civic activist and consultant who lives in Eugene, addresses many common concerns in growing communities and how ordinary folks can get involved. There's something for everyone, from "urban growth machine" political theory, to accessible economics about the costs of growth, to visions about “the new millennium community.”

“Fodor acknowledges no community has yet successfully stopped growth, but he clearly believes there are many actions we all can take to improve our communities and change the way we think about progress. While the book is packed with strong ideas and helpful stories, this thread of hope running through its pages is what makes it so valuable. To order "Better, Not Bigger" contact New Society Publishers at 800-567-6772 or

Evan Manvel, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Land Use Update, February 12, 199

“Better, Not Bigger isn’t the sort of book you’d take to the beach, but for someone who’s serious about getting urban growth under control, it could be invaluable. Government officials in Memphis and Shelby County should keep a copy at their bedside table.”

Debbie Gilbert, The Memphis Flyer, 3/18/99

“If you are involved in trying to control or manage growth, this book will be indispensible.”

Bill Boyer, Author of America’s Future and former president, Alliance for Responsible Land Use in Deschutes County (Oregon).

Other reviews of the book and a statement by the author can be found on by doing an author or title search.

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