The research staff at towers of ilium has been consumed by a book about the development of the American suburbs. Crabgrass Frontier by Kenneth Jackson is the Ur text when it comes to describing the forces behind residential development in the U.S.
What makes his writing so impressive is that he sets out a definition of "suburb" that is more comprehensive than most architectural critics. His criteria for a suburb are as follows:
-Function: predominantly residential
-Form: owner occupied single family dwellings
-Income: middle and upper class
-Density: lower relative to historical urban settlement
So far, he has not used the term "sprawl."
More on this as reading advances.