By Steven Conn

ISBN-10: 0199973679

ISBN-13: 9780199973675

T is a paradox of yankee existence that we're a hugely urbanized kingdom choked with humans deeply ambivalent approximately city existence. An aversion to city density and all that it contributes to city lifestyles, and a notion that the town was once where the place "big government" first took root in the USA fostered what historian Steven Conn phrases the "anti-urban impulse." In reaction, anti-urbanists referred to as for the decentralization of town, and rejected the function of presidency in American existence in prefer of a go back to the pioneer virtues of independence and self-sufficiency. during this provocative and sweeping ebook, Conn explores the anti-urban impulse around the twentieth century, studying how the guidelines born of it have formed either the areas during which american citizens stay and paintings, and the anti-government politics so powerful this day. starting within the booming commercial towns of the innovative period on the flip of the twentieth century, the place debate surrounding those questions first arose, Conn examines the development of anti-urban activities. : He describes the decentralist flow of the Nineteen Thirties, the try and revive the yank small city within the mid-century, the anti-urban foundation of city renewal within the Nineteen Fifties and '60s, and the Nixon administration's application of establishing new cities as a reaction to the city quandary, illustrating how, by way of the center of the 20 th century, anti-urbanism was once on the heart of the politics of the recent correct. Concluding with an exploration of the recent Urbanist experiments on the flip of the twenty first century, Conn demonstrates the complete breadth of the anti-urban impulse, from its inception to the current day. Engagingly written, completely researched, and forcefully argued, american citizens opposed to the town is critical examining for an individual who cares not only in regards to the background of our towns, yet approximately their destiny to boot.

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Additional resources for Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth Century

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The plan is a visual embodiment of urban forces—transportation, industry, commerce—and above all, it envisions growth. At the time of the plan’s publication, Chicagoans routinely and casually predicted that their metropolis would grow to be the largest city in the world within a century, rightful heir to Athens, Rome, and London. But Addams and Burnham also saw some of the same things as they stared at their city and imagined its future. Foremost, perhaps, they saw the same basic problem with the city, though it went by several names: crowding, congestion, density.

Taking the two together, it becomes hard to discern larger trends, patterns, or correlations in these maps. And maybe that was the point. What emerges in visual form is a colorful cacophony that must have echoed the experience of walking on those bustling, chaotic streets in the 1890s. Still, the maps give order to a part of Chicago that would have struck most people at the time as lacking it. An undifferentiated mass of immigrants could be broken up into specific nationalities; a great lump 3 4 • A m e r i c a n s A g ai n s t t h e Ci t y of the Lumpenproletariat could be grouped by different occupations and income.

He wrote his essay in order to make sure that the American past at least was understood to be an anti-urban romance, played out in the Midwest. Frederick Jackson Turner and the philosopher Josiah Royce were almost exact contemporaries—Royce had been born in 1855, Turner in 1861—and they overlapped for a few years on the faculty at Harvard University. On the surface, the historian and the philosopher would not seem to share intellectual concerns. ” Turner looked to the pre-industrial, pre-urban past as the place where American community was created.

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