'A Short History of America' by R. Crumb. Click to see a larger version. Source.
Robert Crumb, the cartoonist famous for his interest in American folk art as well as his biting critiques of contemporary culture, portrays the history of America as completely subsumed in its legacy of land speculation and development. In the cartoon above, a bucolic landscape quickly turns into the strip-mall-lined and traffic-choked roadways that architects like Robert Venturi once celebrated.
The type of urban succession that Crumb simulates in the drawing has prompted widespread reaction in the architecture community in recent years, from the neoliberal fever dream that is New Urbanism to a more generalized reinvestment in center cities. Nonetheless, the object of Crumb’s 1979 critique must still be dealt with in a comprehensive way, as the 2008-2009 foreclosure crisis—driven by suburban land speculation and succession—shows most clearly.