By Steven Conn
T is a paradox of yank existence that we're a hugely urbanized country choked with humans deeply ambivalent approximately city existence. An aversion to city density and all that it contributes to city existence, and a belief that town used to be where the place "big government" first took root in the US 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 lifestyles in want of a go back to the pioneer virtues of independence and self-sufficiency. during this provocative and sweeping booklet, Conn explores the anti-urban impulse around the twentieth century, studying how the guidelines born of it have formed either the locations during which americans reside and paintings, and the anti-government politics so robust this day. starting within the booming business towns of the revolutionary 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 stream 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 main issue, illustrating how, by way of the center of the 20 th century, anti-urbanism was once on the middle of the politics of the recent correct. Concluding with an exploration of the hot Urbanist experiments on the flip of the twenty first century, Conn demonstrates the whole 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 necessary interpreting for an individual who cares not only in regards to the heritage of our towns, yet approximately their destiny to boot.
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Extra info for Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth Century
Ostensibly, it referred to Woods’s South End settlement house, and the fact that the information presented in the book had been gathered through his work there. But by juxtaposing wilderness and settlement, Woods underscored the metaphoric relationship between the frontier, that mythic place with which most Americans were already familiar, and the newer urban frontier. If the former could be settled—and as Frederick Jackson Turner pointed out, that process was now complete—then so too could the latter.
In an era before high-rise apartments, that figure is astonishing. In lower Manhattan, however, the numbers boggle the mind. 5 No place in the Western world squeezed more people into less space. Admittedly, Manhattan stands at the far end of the spectrum, but all the boom cities of the industrial age faced variations of this problem. None of them had the infrastructure—streets, water, sanitation, schools, lighting, transportation—to cope with the number of people who now made demands on it. Congestion, as it was often called, was a real and genuine problem in the American city, and it begat a number of other problems besides.
HALIC, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago. Digital File #80380 on a 1901 study of housing conditions. After ten years, they found conditions barely improved. 36 Burnham’s plan solved the problem simply, if radically. ”37 For the city that invented the skyscraper, Burnham imagined a more low-rise, horizontal future. For Addams, and for all those who saw the city from its sidewalks and back alleys, the solutions revolved around zoning and regulation, of the sort the New York Congestion Commission had recommended for Gotham.