America's first truly twenty-first-century metropolis, Los Angeles is often depicted as diverse, fragmented, polarized, and ungovernable, a city without a unifying geographic center or civic culture. The sprawling evolution of the city and its infamous problems-traffic, pollution, growing inequality-are usually attributed to a Wild West version of capitalism-the triumph of an unregulated free market over comprehensive urban planning. But market choices and lack of planning did not set the terrain of Southern California: Los Angeles has been profoundly shaped by a wide range of local, state, and federal public policies and programs.Up against the Sprawl details how governmental policies and public agencies have dictated many aspects of the region's growth: infrastructure, transportation, housing, immigration, finances, civic and regional administration, the environment. The authors also argue that since public policy set the landscape, it can help forge the future. They explore countermovements by progressive activists to use innovative policies-from smart growth initiatives to the actions of living wage advocates-for greater social, economic, and environmental justice.This book is a major contribution to our understanding of past and present urban processes and policy, and highlights practical lessons for urban and regional policy makers and activists in Los Angeles and beyond.Contributors: Carolyn B. Aldana, California State U, San Bernadino; Carol S. Armstrong; Michael Dear, U of Southern California; Gary Dymski, U of California Riverside; Steven P. Erie, USC; Gregory Freeman; William Fulton; Elizabeth Gearin, USC; Genevieve Giuliano, USC; Pascale Joassart-Marcelli, U of Massachusetts, Boston; Enrico A. Marcelli; Myra A. Marks, Loyola Marymount U; Juliet Musso, USC; Stephanie Pincetl, USC; Laura Pulido; Christine M. Ryan; John P. Wilson.Jennifer Wolch is professor of geography and director of the Center for Sustainable Cities at the University of Southern California.Manuel Pastor Jr. is professor of Latino and Latin American studies and director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz.Peter Dreier is Clapp Distinguished Professor and director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College.