A history of the New Deal program intended to improve the living conditions of America’s underclass.
In 1935, under the direction of the Resettlement Administration, the United States government embarked on a New Deal program to construct new suburban towns for the working class. Teams of architects, engineers, and city planners, along with thousands of workers, brought three such communities to life: Greenbelt, Maryland; Greendale, Wisconsin; and Greenhills, Ohio. President Franklin Roosevelt saw this as a way to create jobs. Resettlement Administration head Rexford Tugwell longed to improve the living conditions of the nation’s underclass.
In Best-Laid Plans, Julie Turner identifies where the Greenbelt Towns succeeded and where they failed. The program suffered under the burden of too many competing goals: maximum job creation at minimal cost, exquisite town planning that would provide modest residences for low-income families, progressive innovation that would serve to honor and reinforce traditional American values. Yet the Greenbelt program succeeded in one respect—providing new homes in well-planned communities that continue to welcome residents.
Town planning and suburbanization did not follow the blueprint of the Greenbelt model and instead took a turn toward the suburban sprawl we know today. The Greenbelt towns may represent an unrealistic dream, but they show an imagined way of American life that continues to appeal and hints at what might have been possible.
Since 1945, American popular culture has portrayed suburbia as a place with a culture, politics, and economy distinct from cities, towns, and rural areas. In Between City and Country, Ronald Dale Karr examines the evolution of Brookline, Boston's most renowned nineteenth-century suburb, arguing that a distinctively suburban way of life appeared here long before World War II.
Already a fashionable retreat for wealthy Bostonians, Brookline began to suburbanize in the 1840s with the arrival of hundreds of commuter families—and significant numbers of Irish Catholic immigrants drawn by opportunities to work as laborers and servants. In Brookline the poor were segregated but not excluded altogether, as they would be from twentieth-century elite suburbs. A half century later, a distinct suburban way of life developed that combined rural activities with urban pastimes, and a political consensus emerged that sought efficient government and large expenditures on education and public works. Brookline had created the template for the concept of suburbia, not just in wealthy communities but in the less affluent communities of postwar America.
At the turn of the 20th century, the California dream was a suburban ideal where life on the farm was exceptional. Agrarian virtue existed alongside good roads, social clubs, cultural institutions, and business commerce. The California suburban dream was the ultimate symbol of progress and modernity.
California Dreaming: Boosterism, Memory, and Rural Suburbs in the Golden State analyzes the growth, promotion, and agricultural colonization that fed this dream during the early 1900s. Through this analysis, Paul J. P. Sandul introduces a newly identified rural-suburban type: the agriburb, a rural suburb deliberately planned, developed, and promoted for profit. Sandul reconceptualizes California’s growth during this time period, establishing the agriburb as a suburban phenomenon that occurred long before the booms of the 1920s and 1950s.
Sandul’s analysis contributes to a new suburban history that includes diverse constituencies and geographies and focuses on the production and construction of place and memory. Boosters purposefully “harvested” suburbs with an eye toward direct profit and metropolitan growth. State boosters boasted of unsurpassable idyllic communities while local boosters bragged of communities that represented the best of the best, both using narratives of place, class, race, lifestyle, and profit to avow images of the rural and suburban ideal.
This suburban dream attracted people who desired a family home, nature, health, culture, refinement, and rural virtue. In the agriburb, a family could live on a small home grove while enjoying the perks of a progressive city. A home located within the landscape of natural California with access to urban amenities provided a good place to live and a way to gain revenue through farming.
To uncover and dissect the agriburb, Sandul focuses on local histories from California’s Central Valley and the Inland Empire of Southern California, including Ontario near Los Angeles and Orangevale and Fair Oaks outside Sacramento. His analysis closely operates between the intersections of history, anthropology, geography, sociology, and the rural and urban, while examining a metanarrative that exposes much about the nature and lasting influence of cultural memory and public history upon agriburban communities.
“Which neighborhood?” It’s one of the first questions you’re asked when you move to Chicago. And the answer you give—be it Bucktown, Bronzeville, or Bridgeport—can give your inquisitor a good idea of who you are, especially in a metropolis with 230 very different neighborhoods and suburbs to choose from.
Many of us, in fact, know little of the neighborhoods beyond those where we work, play, and live. This is especially true in Chicagoland, a region that spans over 4,400 square miles and is home to more than 9.5 million residents. In Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs, historian Ann Durkin Keating sheds new light on twenty-first-century Chicago by providing a captivating yet compact guide to the Midwest’s largest city. Keating charts Chicago’s evolution with comprehensive, cross-referenced entries on all seventy-seven community areas, along with many suburbs and neighborhoods both extant and long forgotten, from Albany Park to Zion. Thoughtful interpretive essays by urban historians Michael Ebner, Henry Binford, Janice Reiff, Susan Hirsch, and Robert Bruegmann explore how the city’s communities have changed and grown throughout the years, and sixty historic and contemporary photographs and additional maps add depth to each entry.
From the South Side to the West Side to the North Side, just about every local knows how distinctive Chicago’s neighborhoods are. Few of us, however, know exactly how they came to be. Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs brings the city—its inimitable neighborhoods, industries, and individuals—to life, making it the perfect guidebook for anyone with an interest in Chicago and its history.
Formed by images of crowded city streets and towering skyscrapers, our understanding of nineteenth-century Chicago completely neglects the fact that the city itself was only the center of a web of neighborhoods, farm communities, and industrial towns—many connected to the city by the railroad. Farmers used trains to transport produce into the city daily; businessmen rode the rails home to their commuter suburbs; and families took vacations mere miles outside the Loop.
Historian and coeditor of the acclaimed Encyclopedia of Chicago, Ann Durkin Keating resurrects for us here the bustling network that defined greater Chicagoland. Taking a new approach to the history of the city, Keating shifts the focus to the landscapes and built environments of the metropolitan region. Organized by four categories of settlements-farm centers, industrial towns, commuter suburbs, and recreational and institutional centers-that framed the city, Chicagoland offers the collective history of 230 neighborhoods and communities, the people who built them, and the structures they left behind that still stand today.
Keating reanimates nineteenth-century Chicagoland with more than a hundred photographs and maps; we find here the taverns, depots, and way stations that were the hubs of the region's vibrant, mobile life. Keating also includes an appendix of driving tours so readers can see this history for themselves. Chicagoland takes us into the buildings and sites that are still part of our landscape and repopulates them with the stories and characters behind their creation. The result is a wide-angle historical view of Chicago, an entirely new way to understand the region.
In the midst of the Vietnam war, sit-ins, counter-culture, and campus rallies, the 1966 graduating class of a South New Jersey coast high school came of age on the margins of political and cultural upheaval. Rather than presenting the stereotype of Sixties youth scene, this study reveals this group to be conservative teenagers shaped by mainstream loyalties to God, Country, and Family. These "Coasters"—white, middle-class, suburban baby-boomers—were spectators of rather than participants in the decade's activism. Yet, even as they were missed by the powerful currents of the times, their lives were touched by those currents more than is suggested by the stereotype of Richard Nixon's "Silent Majority."
Paul Lyons interviewed 47 members of the class of 1966, recording recollections of their school days, politics, work, family life, community, and expectations for future careers and family. Each chapter is complemented by personal profiles of individual "Coasters." Removed from both the urban experience and that of the elite suburbs, these teenagers disprove popular cultural assumptions that all baby boomers, with few exceptions, went to Woodstock, protested against the Vietnam War, engaged in drug experimentation, or joined the hippie counter-culture. Instead, Lyons' study explores how their then relative ambivalence to political and cultural rebellion did not preclude many "Coasters" from indirectly incorporating over the years certain core Sixties values on issues of race, gender, mobility, and patriotism.
Sprawling commercial and residential development in outer suburbs and exurban areas has for a number of years masked increasingly severe socioeconomic problems in suburban America. In recent decades, income declines, crime increases, and tax base erosion have affected many suburbs to an extent previously seen only in central cities.In Confronting Suburban Decline, William H. Lucy and David L. Phillips examine conditions and trends in cities and suburbs since 1960, arguing that beginning in the 1980s, the United States entered a "post-suburban" era of declining suburbs with maturation of communities accompanied by large-scale deterioration. The authors examine: why suburban decline has become widespread how the "tyranny of easy development decisions" often results in new housing being built outside of areas that people prefer how strategic planning can help assess dangers how some suburbs have stabilized or revived how interactions between residential mobility and the age, size, and location of housing can help policy makers anticipate dangers and opportunities facing neighborhoods and jurisdictions Making the case that a high quality natural and built environment is key to achieving economic stability, the authors set forth a series of policy recommendations with federal, state, regional, and local dimensions that can help contribute to that goal.In-depth case studies are provided of Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C., along with examples from Minnesota, Oregon, Maryland, Tennessee, and other locations. In addition, the book offers information and statistics on income, population, and racial transitions in 554 suburbs in the nation's twenty-four largest metropolitan areas.Confronting Suburban Decline provides a detailed look at the causes of and responses to urban and suburban decline. Planners and policymakers as well as students and researchers involved with issues of land use, economic development, regional planning, community development, or intergovernmental relations will find it a valuable resource.
They are the suburban jewels that crown one of the world's premier cities. Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff: together, they comprise the North Shore of Chicago, a social registry of eight communities that serve as a genteel enclave of affluence, culture, and high society. Historian Michael H. Ebner explains the origins and evolution of the North Shore as a distinctive region. At the same time, he tells the paradoxical story of how these suburbs, with their common heritage, mutual values, and shared aspirations, still preserve their distinctly separate identities. Embedded in this history are important lessons about the uneasy development of the American metropolis.
Suburbs deserve a better, more resilient future. June Williamson shows that suburbs aren't destined to remain filled with strip malls and excess parking lots; they can be reinvigorated through inventive design. Drawing on award-winning design ideas for revitalizing Long Island, she offers valuable models not only for U.S. suburbs, but also those emerging elsewhere with global urbanization.
Williamson argues that suburbia has historically been a site of great experimentation and is currently primed for exciting changes. Today, dead malls, aging office parks, and blighted apartment complexes are being retrofitted into walkable, sustainable communities. Williamson shows how to expand this trend, highlighting promising design strategies and tactics.
She provides a broad vision of suburban reform based on the best schemes submitted in Long Island's highly successful "Build a Better Burb" competition. Many of the design ideas and plans operate at a regional scale, tackling systems such as transit, aquifer protection, and power generation. While some seek to fundamentally transform development patterns, others work with existing infrastructure to create mixed-use, shared networks. Designing Suburban Futures offers concrete but visionary strategies to take the sprawl out of suburbia, creating a vibrant, new suburban form. It will be especially useful for urban designers, architects, landscape architects, land use planners, local policymakers and NGOs, citizen activists, students of urban design, planning, architecture, and landscape architecture.
As world population grows, and more people move to cities and suburbs, they place greater stress on the operating system of our whole planet. But urbanization and increasing densities also present our best opportunity for improving sustainability, by transforming urban development into desirable, lower-carbon, compact and walkable communities and business centers.
Jonathan Barnett and Larry Beasley seek to demonstrate that a sustainable built and natural environment can be achieved through ecodesign, which integrates the practice of planning and urban design with environmental conservation, through normal business practices and the kinds of capital programs and regulations already in use in most communities. Ecodesign helps adapt the design of our built environment to both a changing climate and a rapidly growing world, creating more desirable places in the process.
In six comprehensively illustrated chapters, the authors explain ecodesign concepts, including the importance of preserving and restoring natural systems while also adapting to climate change; minimizing congestion on highways and at airports by making development more compact, and by making it easier to walk, cycle and take trains and mass transit; crafting and managing regulations to insure better placemaking and fulfill consumer preferences, while incentivizing preferred practices; creating an inviting and environmentally responsible public realm from parks to streets to forgotten spaces; and finally how to implement these ecodesign concepts.
Throughout the book, the ecodesign framework is demonstrated by innovative practices that are already underway or have been accomplished in many cities and suburbs—from Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm to False Creek North in Vancouver to Battery Park City in Manhattan, as well as many smaller-scale examples that can be adopted in any community.
Ecodesign thinking is relevant to anyone who has a part in shaping or influencing the future of cities and suburbs – designers, public officials, and politicians.
Since the 1980s a distinctive suburban politics has emerged in the United States, Juliet F. Gainsborough argues in Fenced Off . As suburbs have become less economically and socially dependent on the central cities, suburban and urban dwellers have diverged not only in their voting patterns but also in their thinking about national politics. While political reporters have long noted this difference, few quantitative studies have been conducted on suburbanization alone—above and beyond race or class—as a political trend.
Using census and public opinion statistics, along with data on congressional districts and party platforms, Gainsborough demonstrates that this "ideology of localism" weakens when suburbs experience city-like problems and strengthens when racial and economic differences with the nearby city increase. In addition, Gainsborough uses national survey data from the 1950s to the 1990s to show that a separate suburban politics has arisen only during the last two decades.
Further, she argues, the political differences between urban and suburban voters have found expression in changes in congressional representation and new electoral strategies for the major political parties. As Congressional districts become increasingly suburban, "soccer moms" and liveability agendas come to dominate party platforms, and the needs of the urban poor disappear from political debate. Fenced Off uses the tools of political science to prove what political commentators have sensed—that the suburbs offer a powerful voting bloc that is being courted with sophisticated new strategies.
During World War II, U.S. businesses devised marketing strategies that encouraged consumers to believe their country’s wartime experience would launch a better America. Advertisements and promotional articles celebrated the immense industrial output that corporations achieved during the war. These commercial messages positioned wartime technologies and corporate expertise as the means to streamline America and invent a socially hygienic future free from poverty, slums, drudgery, filth, and—for some businessmen—the New Deal administration.
From Submarines to Suburbs surveys the development, strategy, and effect of these campaigns over a span of twenty pivotal years. Cynthia Lee Henthorn takes a close look at how pre-fabricated suburban houses, high-tech kitchens, and miracle products developed from war-related industries were promoted as the hygienic solutions for establishing this better America, one led by the captains of free enterprise.
As Henthorn demonstrates, wartime advertising and marketing strategies tying consumer prosperity to war were easily adapted in the Cold War era, when a symbiotic relationship between military standing and standards of living intensified in a culture dependent on defense spending. Were the efforts to engineer a better America successful? Using documentary evidence in the form of numerous advertisements, From Submarines to Suburbs stands as a significant contribution to understanding how today’s “better” America evolved.
There exists a category of American cities in which the line between suburban and urban is almost impossible to locate. These suburban cities arose in the last half of twentieth-century America, based largely on the success of the single-family home, shopping centers, and the automobile. The low-density, auto-centric development of suburban cities, which are largely in the arid West, presents challenges for urban sustainability as it is traditionally measured. Yet, some of these cities—Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake, Dallas, Tucson, San Bernardino, and San Diego—continue to be among the fastest growing places in the United States.
In The Future of the Suburban City, Phoenix native Grady Gammage, Jr. looks at the promise of the suburban city as well as the challenges. He argues that places that grew up based on the automobile and the single-family home need to dramatically change and evolve. But suburban cities have some advantages in an era of climate change, and many suburban cities are already making strides in increasing their resilience. Gammage focuses on the story of Phoenix, which shows the power of collective action — government action — to confront the challenges of geography and respond through public policy. He takes a fresh look at what it means to be sustainable and examines issues facing most suburban cities around water supply, heat, transportation, housing, density, urban form, jobs, economics, and politics.
The Future of the Suburban City is a realistic yet hopeful story of what is possible for any suburban city.
Do cities work anymore? How did they get to be such sprawling conglomerations of lookalike subdivisions, megafreeways, and "big box" superstores surrounded by acres of parking lots? And why, most of all, don't they feel like real communities? These are the questions that Alex Marshall tackles in this hard-hitting, highly readable look at what makes cities work. Marshall argues that urban life has broken down because of our basic ignorance of the real forces that shape cities-transportation systems, industry and business, and political decision making. He explores how these forces have built four very different urban environments-the decentralized sprawl of California's Silicon Valley, the crowded streets of New York City's Jackson Heights neighborhood, the controlled growth of Portland, Oregon, and the stage-set facades of Disney's planned community, Celebration, Florida. To build better cities, Marshall asserts, we must understand and intelligently direct the forces that shape them. Without prescribing any one solution, he defines the key issues facing all concerned citizens who are trying to control urban sprawl and build real communities. His timely book will be important reading for a wide public and professional audience.
One of the great debates of our time concerns the predominant form of land use in America today -- the all too familiar pattern of commercial and residential development known as sprawl. But what do we really know about sprawl? Do we know what it is? Where did it come from? Is it really so bad? If so, what are the alternatives? Can anything be done to make it better? The Limitless City offers an accessible examination of those and related questions. Oliver Gillham, an architect and planner with more than twenty-five years of experience in the field, considers the history and development of sprawl and examines current debates about the issue. The book:
offers a comprehensive definition of sprawl in America
traces the roots of sprawl and considers the factors that led to its preeminence as an urban and suburban form
reviews both its negative impacts (loss of open space, increased pollution, gridlock) as well as its positive aspects (economic development, personal freedom, privacy)
considers responses to sprawl including "smart growth," urban growth boundaries, regional planning, and the New Urbanism
looks at what can be done to improve and counterbalance sprawl
The author argues that whether we like it or not, sprawl is here to stay, and only by understanding where it came from and why it developed will we be able to successfully address the problems it has created and is likely to create in the future. The Limitless City is the first book to provide a realistic look at sprawl, with a frank recognition of its status as the predominant urban form in America, now and into the near future. Rather than railing against it, Gillham charts its probable future course while describing critical efforts that can be undertaken to improve the future of sprawl and our existing urban core areas.
In the 1950s, 99 percent of adult Americans said they believed in God. How, James Hudnut-Beumler asks, did this consensus about religion turn into the confrontational debates over religion in the 1960s? He argues that post-World War II suburban conformity made church-going so much a part of middle-class values and life that religion and culture became virtually synonymous. Secular critics like David Riesman, William Whyte, C. Wright Mills, and Dwight Macdonald, who blamed American culture for its conformism and lack of class consciousness, and religious critics like Will Herberg, Gibson Winter, and Peter Berger, who argued that religion had lost its true roots by incorporating only the middle class, converged in their attacks on popular religion.
Although most Americans continued to live and worship as before, a significant number of young people followed the critics' call for a faith that led to social action, but they turned away from organized religion and toward the counterculture of the sixties. The critics of the 1950s deserve credit for asking questions about the value of religion as it was being practiced and the responsibilities of the affluent to the poor—and for putting these issues on the social and cultural agenda of the next generation.
Urban historians have long portrayed suburbanization as the result of a bourgeois exodus from the city, coupled with the introduction of streetcars that enabled the middle class to leave the city for the more sylvan surrounding regions. Demonstrating that this is only a partial version of urban history, Manufacturing Suburbs reclaims the history of working-class suburbs by examining the development of industrial suburbs in the United States and Canada between 1850 and 1950. Contributors demonstrate that these suburbs developed in large part because of the location of manufacturing beyond city limits and the subsequent building of housing for the workers who labored within those factories. Through case studies of industrial suburbanization and industrial suburbs in several metropolitan areas (Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and Montreal), Manufacturing Suburbs sheds light on a key phenomenon of metropolitan development before the Second World War.
Knox, Paul L Rutgers University Press, 2008 Library of Congress HT352.U6K56 2008 | Dewey Decimal 307.760973
Decades of economic prosperity in the United States have redefined the American dream. Paul Knox explores how extreme versions of this dream have changed the American landscape. Increased wealth has led America's metropolitan areas to develop into vast sprawling regions of "metroburbia"ùfragmented mixtures of employment and residential settings, combining urban and suburban characteristics.
Upper-middle-class Americans are moving into larger homes in greater numbers, which leads Knox to explore the relationship between built form and material culture in contemporary society. He covers changes in home design, real estate, the work of developers, and the changing wishes of consumers. Knox shows that contemporary suburban landscapes are a product of consumer demand, combined with the logic of real estate development, mediated by design and policy professionals and institutions of governance. Suburban landscapes not only echo the fortunes of successive generations of inhabitants, Knox argues, they also reflect the country's changing core values.
Knox addresses key areas of concern and importance to today's urban planners and suburban residents including McMansions, traffic disasters, house design, homeowner's associations, exclusionary politics, and big box stores. Through the inclusion of examples and photos, Metroburbia, USA creates an accessible portrait of today's suburbs supported by data, anecdotes, and social theory. It is a broad interpretation of the American metropolitan form that looks carefully at the different influences that contribute to where and how we live today.
The New Suburban History
Edited by Kevin M. Kruse and Thomas J. Sugrue University of Chicago Press, 2006 Library of Congress HT352.U6N48 2006 | Dewey Decimal 307.760973
America has become a nation of suburbs. Confronting the popular image of suburbia as simply a refuge for affluent whites, The New Suburban History rejects the stereotypes of a conformist and conflict-free suburbia. The seemingly calm streets of suburbia were, in fact, battlegrounds over race, class, and politics. With this collection, Kevin Kruse and Thomas Sugrue argue that suburbia must be understood as a central factor in the modern American experience.
Kruse and Sugrue here collect ten essays—augmented by their provocative introduction—that challenge our understanding of suburbia. Drawing from original research on suburbs across the country, the contributors recast important political and social issues in the context of suburbanization. Their essays reveal the role suburbs have played in the transformation of American liberalism and conservatism; the contentious politics of race, class, and ethnicity; and debates about the environment, land use, and taxation. The contributors move the history of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and blue-collar workers from the margins to the mainstream of suburban history.
From this broad perspective, these innovative historians explore the way suburbs affect—and are affected by—central cities, competing suburbs, and entire regions. The results, they show, are far-reaching: the emergence of a suburban America has reshaped national politics, fostered new social movements, and remade the American landscape. The New Suburban History offers nothing less than a new American history—one that claims the nation cannot be fully understood without a history of American suburbs at its very center.
From submarines to the suburbs—the remaking of Pittsburgh during the Cold War
During the early Cold War, research facilities became ubiquitous features of suburbs across the United States. Pittsburgh’s eastern and southern suburbs hosted a constellation of such facilities that became the world’s leading center for the development of nuclear reactors for naval vessels and power plants. The segregated communities that surrounded these laboratories housed one of the largest concentrations of nuclear engineers and scientists on earth. In Nuclear Suburbs, Patrick Vitale uncovers how the suburbs shaped the everyday lives of these technology workers.
Using oral histories, Vitale follows nuclear engineers and scientists throughout and beyond the Pittsburgh region to understand how the politics of technoscience and the Cold War were embedded in daily life. At the same time that research facilities moved to Pittsburgh’s suburbs, a coalition of business and political elites began an aggressive effort, called the Pittsburgh Renaissance, to renew the region. For Pittsburgh’s elite, laboratories and researchers became important symbols of the new Pittsburgh and its postindustrial economy. Nuclear Suburbs exposes how this coalition enrolled technology workers as allies in their remaking of the city.
Offering lessons for the present day, Nuclear Suburbs shows how race, class, gender, and the production of urban and suburban space are fundamental to technoscientific networks, and explains how the “renewal” of industrial regions into centers of the tech economy is rooted in violence and injustice.
At one time, a move to the suburbs was the American Dream for many families. However, despite the success of Levittown, NY,impoverished “inner-ring” suburbs—those closest to the urban core of metropolitan cities—like Lansdowne, MD, are in decline. As aging housing stock, foreclosures, severe fiscal problems, slow population growth, increasing poverty, and struggling local economies affect inner-ring suburbs, what can be done to save them?
Once the American Dream analyzes this downward trend, examining 5,000 suburbs across 100 different metropolitan areas and census regions in 1980 and 2000. Hanlon defines the suburbs’ geographic boundaries and provides a ranking system for assessing and acting upon inner-ring suburban decline. She also illuminates her detailed statistical analysis with vivid case studies. She demonstrates how other suburbs, particularly those in the outer reaches of cities, flourished during the 1980s and 1990s. Once the American Dream closes with a discussion of policy implications and recommendations for policymakers and planners who deal with suburbs of various stripes.
Americans are voting with their feet to abandon strip malls and suburban sprawl, embracing instead a new type of community where they can live, work, shop, and play within easy walking distance. In The Option of Urbanism visionary developer and strategist Christopher B. Leinberger explains why government policies have tilted the playing field toward one form of development over the last sixty years: the drivable suburb. Rooted in the driving forces of the economy—car manufacturing and the oil industry—this type of growth has fostered the decline of community, contributed to urban decay, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and contributed to the rise in obesity and asthma.
Highlighting both the challenges and the opportunities for this type of development, The Option of Urbanism shows how the American Dream is shifting to include cities as well as suburbs and how the financial and real estate communities need to respond to build communities that are more environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable.
On Melbenan Drive just west of Atlanta, sunlight falls onto a long row of well-kept lawns. Two dozen homes line the street; behind them wooden decks and living-room windows open onto vast woodland properties. Residents returning from their jobs steer SUVs into long driveways and emerge from their automobiles. They walk to the front doors of their houses past sculptured bushes and flowers in bloom.
For most people, this cozy image of suburbia does not immediately evoke images of African Americans. But as this pioneering work demonstrates, the suburbs have provided a home to black residents in increasing numbers for the past hundred years—in the last two decades alone, the numbers have nearly doubled to just under twelve million. Places of Their Own begins a hundred years ago, painting an austere portrait of the conditions that early black residents found in isolated, poor suburbs. Andrew Wiese insists, however, that they moved there by choice, withstanding racism and poverty through efforts to shape the landscape to their own needs. Turning then to the 1950s, Wiese illuminates key differences between black suburbanization in the North and South. He considers how African Americans in the South bargained for separate areas where they could develop their own neighborhoods, while many of their northern counterparts transgressed racial boundaries, settling in historically white communities. Ultimately, Wiese explores how the civil rights movement emboldened black families to purchase homes in the suburbs with increased vigor, and how the passage of civil rights legislation helped pave the way for today's black middle class.
Tracing the precise contours of black migration to the suburbs over the course of the whole last century and across the entire United States, Places of Their Own will be a foundational book for anyone interested in the African American experience or the role of race and class in the making of America's suburbs.
Winner of the 2005 John G. Cawelti Book Award from the American Culture
Winner of the 2005 Award for Best Book in North American Urban
History from the Urban History Association.
"This is a remarkable and timely book. A number of scholars and policy analysts have argued the case for uniting city and suburb. However, no study provides more compelling arguments for regional economic integration." William Julius Wilson
"There's a simple, sweeping truth in this book. It's that successful twenty-first-century metropolises will be those that learn to combine agendas of economic prosperity, environmental protection, and social equity. American politics will be transformed when the regional-neighborhood ties these authors explain is fully grasped." Neal Peirce
"The authors argue that for U.S. regions to prosper, they must provide and preserve opportunity for all citizens and all communities. This is an important book that helps us understand the evolving regional movement-and its potential-in this country." Myron Orfield
Offering a new vision of community-based regionalism, this book arrives just as "smart growth" measures and other attempts to link cities and suburbs are beginning to make their mark on the political and analytical scene. The authors make a powerful case for emphasizing equity, arguing that metropolitan areas must reduce poverty in order to grow and that low-income individuals must make regional connections in order to escape poverty.
A hard-hitting analysis of Los Angeles demonstrates that the roots of the unrest of 1992 lay in regional economic deterioration and that the recovery was slowed by insufficient attention to the poor. Regions That Work then provides a history and critique of community-development corporations, a statistical analysis of the poverty-growth relationship in seventy-four metro areas, a detailed study of three regions that have produced superior equity outcomes, and a provocative call for new policies and new politics.
Manuel Pastor Jr. is professor of Latin American and Latino Studies and director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Peter Dreier is E. P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College. J. Eugene Grigsby III is director of the Advanced Policy Institute and professor at UCLA's School of Public Policy and Social Research. Marta LÃ³pez-Garza is an assistant professor and holds a joint position in Women's Studies Department and Chicano/Chicana Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.
Often referred to as “the Big Tomato,” Sacramento is a city whose makeup is significantly more complex than its agriculture-based sobriquet implies. In River City and Valley Life, seventeen contributors reveal the major transformations to the natural and built environment that have shaped Sacramento and its suburbs, residents, politics, and economics throughout its history.
The site that would become Sacramento was settled in 1839, when Johann Augustus Sutter attempted to convert his Mexican land grant into New Helvetia (or “New Switzerland”). It was at Sutter’s sawmill fifty miles to the east that gold was first discovered, leading to the California Gold Rush of 1849. Nearly overnight, Sacramento became a boomtown, and cityhood followed in 1850.
Ideally situated at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers, the city was connected by waterway to San Francisco and the surrounding region. Combined with the area’s warm and sunny climate, the rivers provided the necessary water supply for agriculture to flourish. The devastation wrought by floods and cholera, however, took a huge toll on early populations and led to the construction of an extensive levee system that raised the downtown street level to combat flooding. Great fortune came when local entrepreneurs built the Central Pacific Railroad, and in 1869 it connected with the Union Pacific Railroad to form the first transcontinental passage. Sacramento soon became an industrial hub and major food-processing center. By 1879, it was named the state capital and seat of government.
In the twentieth century, the Sacramento area benefitted from the federal government’s major investment in the construction and operation of three military bases and other regional public works projects. Rapid suburbanization followed along with the building of highways, bridges, schools, parks, hydroelectric dams, and the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant, which activists would later shut down. Today, several tribal gaming resorts attract patrons to the area, while “Old Sacramento” revitalizes the original downtown as it celebrates Sacramento’s pioneering past.
This environmental history of Sacramento provides a compelling case study of urban and suburban development in California and the American West. As the contributors show, Sacramento has seen its landscape both ravaged and reborn. As blighted areas, rail yards, and riverfronts have been reclaimed, and parks and green spaces created and expanded, Sacramento’s identity continues to evolve. As it moves beyond its Gold Rush, Transcontinental Railroad, and government-town heritage, Sacramento remains a city and region deeply rooted in its natural environment.
Seattle, often called the “Emerald City,” did not achieve its green, clean, and sustainable environment easily. This thriving ecotopia is the byproduct of continuing efforts by residents, businesses, and civic leaders alike. In Seattle and the Roots of Urban Sustainability, Jeffrey Craig Sanders examines the rise of environmental activism in Seattle amidst the “urban crisis” of the 1960s and its aftermath.
Like much activism during this period, the environmental movement began at the grassroots level—in local neighborhoods over local issues. Sanders links the rise of local environmentalism to larger movements for economic, racial, and gender equality and to a counterculture that changed the social and political landscape. He examines emblematic battles that erupted over the planned demolition of Pike Place Market, a local landmark, and environmental organizing in the Central District during the War on Poverty. Sanders also relates the story of Fort Lawton, a decommissioned army base, where Audubon Society members and Native American activists feuded over future land use.
The rise and popularity of environmental consciousness among Seattle’s residents came to influence everything from industry to politics, planning, and global environmental movements. Yet, as Sanders reveals, it was in the small, local struggles that urban environmental activism began.
The American metropolis has been transformed over the past quarter century. Cities have turned inside out, with rapidly growing suburbs evolving into edge cities and technoburbs. But not all suburbs are alike. In Shaping Suburbia, Paul Lewis argues that a fundamental political logic underlies the patterns of suburban growth and states that the key to understanding suburbia is to understand the local governments that control it - their number, functions, and power. Using innovative models and data analyses, Lewis shows that the relative political fragmentation of a metropolitan area plays a key part in shaping its suburbs.
American suburbs have been seen as both exclusive idylls for elites as well as crucibles for new ideologies of gender, class, race, and property. But few have considered what the growing diversity of suburban America has meant for progressive social, economic, and political justice movements. Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs is a pioneering and multidisciplinary volume that reassesses commonplace understandings of suburban activism.
Editor Christopher Niedt and his contributors shed light on organizing and conflict in the suburbs with historical and contemporary case studies. Chapters address topical issues ranging from how suburbanites actively fought school segregation to industrial pollution and displacement along the suburban-rural fringe. Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs also considers struggles for integration and environmental justice as well as efforts to preserve suburban history and organize immigrant communities.
Contributors include: Douglas R. Appler, Aaron Cavin, Nancy A. Denton, Lisa Feldstein, Casey Gallagher, Anne Galletta, Joseph Gibbons, Robert Gioielli, Lucas Owen Kirkpatrick, JoAnna Mitchell-Brown, Manuel Pastor, john a. powell, Jason Reece, Alex Schafran, June Williamson, and the editor.
"This is perhaps the best theoretically oriented book by a United States urban sociologist since the work of Firey, Hawley, and Sjoberg in the 1940s and 1950s.... Gottdiener is on the cutting edge of urban theoretical work today." —Joe R. Feagin, Contemporary Sociology
Since its first publication in 1985, The Social Production of Urban Space has become a landmark work in urban studies. In this second edition, M. Gottdiener assesses important new theoretical models of urban space—and their shortcomings—including the global perspective, the flexible accumulation school, postmodernism, the new international division of labor, and the "growth machine" perspective.
Going beyond the limitations of these and older theories, Gottdiener proposes a model of urban growth that accounts for the deconcentration away from the central city that began in the United States in the 1920s and continues today. Sociologists, political scientists, economists, geographers, and urban planners will find his interdisciplinary approach to urban science invaluable, as it is currently the most comprehensive treatment of European and American work in these related fields.
Sprawl is the single most significant and urgent issue in American land use at the turn of the twenty-first century. Efforts to limit and reform sprawl through legislative “Smart Growth” initiatives have been enacted around the country while the neotraditionalist New Urbanism has been embraced by many architects and urban planners. Yet most Americans persist in their desire to live farther and farther away from urban centers, moving to exurbs made up almost entirely of single-family residential houses and stand-alone shopping areas.
Sprawl and Suburbia brings together some of the foremost thinkers in the field to present in-depth diagnosis and critical analysis of the physical and social realities of exurban sprawl. Along with an introduction by Robert Fishman, these essays call for architects, urban planners, and landscape designers to work at mitigating the impact of sprawl on land and resources and improving the residential and commercial built environment as a whole. In place of vast residential exurbs, these writers offer visions of a fresh urbanism—appealing and persuasive models of life at greater density, with greater diversity, and within genuine communities.
With sprawl losing the support of suburban citizens themselves as economic, environmental, and social costs are being paid, Sprawl and Suburbia appears at a moment when design might achieve some critical influence over development—if architects and planners accept the challenge.
Contributors: Mike Davis, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Peter Hall, David Harvey, Jerold S. Kayden, Matthew J. Kiefer, Alex Krieger, Andrew Ross, James S. Russell, Mitchell Schwarzer.
William S. Saunders is editor of Harvard Design Magazine and assistant dean for external relations at the Harvard Design School. He is the author of Modern Architecture: Photographs by Ezra Stoller.
Robert Fishman is professor of architecture and urban planning at the Taubman College of Architecture, University of Michigan. He is author of Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia and editor of The American Planning Tradition: Culture and Policy.
The environmental impacts of sprawling development have been well documented, but few comprehensive studies have examined its economic costs. In 1996, a team of experts undertook a multi-year study designed to provide quantitative measures of the costs and benefits of different forms of growth. Sprawl Costs presents a concise and readable summary of the results of that study.
The authors analyze the extent of sprawl, define an alternative, more compact form of growth, project the magnitude and location of future growth, and compare what the total costs of those two forms of growth would be if each was applied throughout the nation. They analyze the likely effects of continued sprawl, consider policy options, and discuss examples of how more compact growth would compare with sprawl in particular regions. Finally, they evaluate whether compact growth is likely to produce the benefits claimed by its advocates.
The book represents a comprehensive and objective analysis of the costs and benefits of different approaches to growth, and gives decision-makers and others concerned with planning and land use realistic and useful data on the implications of various options and policies.
2016 Choice Outstanding Academic Title andJane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award finalist
Starting with the premise that suburban films, residential neighborhoods, chain restaurants, malls, and megachurches are compelling forms (topos) that shape and materialize the everyday lives of residents and visitors, Greg Dickinson’s Suburban Dreams offers a rhetorically attuned critical analysis of contemporary American suburbs and the “good life” their residents pursue.
Dickinson’s analysis suggests that the good life is rooted in memory and locality, both of which are foundations for creating a sense of safety central to the success of suburbs. His argument is situated first in a discussion of the intersections among buildings, cities, and the good life and the challenges to these relationships wrought by the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The argument then turns to rich, fully-embodied analyses of suburban films and a series of archetypal suburban landscapes to explore how memory, locality, and safety interact in constructing the suburban imaginary. Moving from the pastoralism of residential neighborhoods and chain restaurants like Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill, through the megachurch’s veneration of suburban malls to the mixed-use lifestyle center’s nostalgic invocation of urban downtowns, Dickinson complicates traditional understandings of the ways suburbs situate residents and visitors in time and place.
The analysis suggests that the suburban good life is devoted to family. Framed by the discourses of consumer culture, the suburbs often privilege walls and roots to an expansive vision of worldliness. At the same time, developments such as farmers markets suggest a continued striving by suburbanites to form relationships in a richer, more organic fashion.
Dickinson’s work eschews casually dismissive attitudes toward the suburbs and the pursuit of the good life. Rather, he succeeds in showing how by identifying the positive rhetorical resources the suburbs supply, it is in fact possible to engage with the suburbs intentionally, thoughtfully, and rigorously. Beyond an analysis of the suburban imaginary, Suburban Dreams demonstrates how a critical engagement with everyday places can enrich daily life. The book provides much of interest to students and scholars of rhetoric, communication studies, public memory, American studies, architecture, and urban planning.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, as Americans contended with rapid industrial and technological change, readers relied on periodicals and books for information about their changing world. Within this print culture, a host of writers, editors, architects, and reformers urged men to commute to and from their jobs in the city, which was commonly associated with overcrowding, disease, and expense. Through a range of materials, from pattern books to novels and a variety of periodicals, men were told of the restorative effects on body and soul of the natural environment, found in the emerging suburbs outside cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. They were assured that the promise of an ideal home, despite its association with women's work, could help to motivate them to engage in the labor and commute that took them away from it each day.
In Suburban Plots, Maura D'Amore explores how Henry David Thoreau, Henry Ward Beecher, Donald Grant Mitchell, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Nathaniel Parker Willis, and others utilized the pen to plot opportunities for a new sort of male agency grounded, literarily and spatially, in a suburbanized domestic landscape. D'Amore uncovers surprising narratives that do not fit easily into standard critical accounts of midcentury home life. Taking men out of work spaces and locating them in the domestic sphere, these writers were involved in a complex process of portraying men struggling to fulfill fantasies outside of their professional lives, in newly emerging communities. These representations established the groundwork for popular conceptions of suburban domestic life that remain today.
The suburban dream of a single-family house with a white picket fence no longer describes how most North Americans want to live. The dynamics that powered sprawl have all but disappeared. Instead, new forces are transforming real estate markets, reinforced by new ideas of what constitutes healthy and environmentally responsible living. Investment has flooded back to cities because dense, walkable, mixed-use urban environments offer choices that support diverse dreams. Auto-oriented, single-use suburbs have a hard time competing.
Suburban Remix brings together experts in planning, urban design, real estate development, and urban policy to demonstrate how suburbs can use growing demand for urban living to renew their appeal as places to live, work, play, and invest. The case studies and analyses show how compact new urban places are already being created in suburbs to produce health, economic, and environmental benefits, and contribute to solving a growing equity crisis.
Above all, Suburban Remix shows that suburbs can evolve and thrive by investing in the methods and approaches used successfully in cities. Whether next-generation suburbs grow from historic village centers (Dublin, Ohio) or emerge de novo in communities with no historic center (Tysons, Virginia), the stage is set for a new chapter of development—suburbs whose proudest feature is not a new mall but a more human-scale feel and form.
Suburban space has traditionally been understood as a formless remnant of physical city expansion, without a dynamic or logic of its own. Suburban Urbanities challenges this view by defining the suburb as a temporally evolving feature of urban growth. Anchored in the architectural research discipline of space syntax, this book offers a comprehensive understanding of urban change, touching on the history of the suburb as well as its current development challenges, with a particular focus on suburban centres. Studies of the high street as a centre for social, economic and cultural exchange provide evidence for its critical role in sustaining local centres over time. Contributors from the architecture, urban design, geography, history and anthropology disciplines examine cases spanning Europe and around the Mediterranean. By linking large-scale city mapping, urban design scale expositions of high street activity and local-scale ethnographies, the book underscores the need to consider suburban space on its own terms as a specific and complex field of social practice
Using the urbanized area that spreads across northern New Jersey and around New York City as a case study, this book presents a convincing explanation of metropolitan fragmentation--the process by which suburban communities remain as is or break off and form separate political entities. The process has important and deleterious consequences for a range of urban issues, including the weakening of public finance and school integration. The explanation centers on the independent effect of urban infrastructure, specifically sewers, roads, waterworks, gas, and electricity networks. The book argues that the development of such infrastructure in the late nineteenth century not only permitted cities to expand by annexing adjacent municipalities, but also further enhanced the ability of these suburban entities to remain or break away and form independent municipalities. The process was crucial in creating a proliferation of municipalities within metropolitan regions.
The book thus shows that the roots of the urban crisis can be found in the interplay between technology, politics, and public works in the American city.