Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000
For almost two centuries Americans have been moving to the suburbs in search of affordable family housing, unspoiled nature, and small-town sociability--only to find that their leafy new neighborhoods are part of the growing metropolitan sprawl. It is to this contested cultural landscape, where most Americans now live, that Dolores Hayden draws our attention. From nineteenth-century utopian communities and elite picturesque enclaves to early twentieth-century streetcar subdivisions and owner-built tracts to the vast postwar sitcom suburbs and the subsidized malls and office parks that followed (on a scale that earlier builders could never have imagined), Hayden reveals the cultural and economic patterns that have brought us to the present. She explores the interplay of natural and built environments, the complex antagonisms between real-estate developers and suburban residents, the hidden role of federal government, and the religious and ideological overtones of the "American dream" embedded in the suburbs. Hayden asks hard questions about who has benefited from the suburban building process and about "smart" growth and "green" building. And she makes a strong case for the revitalization of existing neighborhoods in place of unchecked new growth on rural fringes. Few readers will see our ubiquitous suburbs in the same way again.
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