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Building Chicago: Suburban developers and the creation of a divided metropolis

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Building Chicago: Suburban developers and the creation of a divided metropolis


, périphéries, banlieue, forme urbaine, collectivités locales, gouvernance, politique de la ville, politique urbaine, politique de la banlieue, suburban government, Chicago, Cook County, histoire urbaine, service public, Keating Ann Durkin


Abstract from the publisher:
The suburban subdivision, replete with identical houses, lawns, and families, is a familiar icon of contemporary American culture. Equally familiar are suburban governments, which many critics describe as providers of exclusive havens from urban problems. Building Chicago examines the evolution of both the suburbs themselves and their governments, using Cook County, Illinois - which includes Chicago and its immediate ring of suburbs - as a case study. It argues that suburban government evolved to meet the demands of residents and real estate developers for services and amenities.
Until the 1860s, only two kinds of local government were available to Chiacgo area residents: the chartered urban form and the rural county/township organization. But by the first years of the twentieth century, the Chicago city center was ringed by dozens of suburban incorporated villages. Professor Keating's study explores these dramatic changes and the choices that led to this ring pattern now familiar in so many metropolitan areas. While the particulars are specific to Chiacgo, there are clear connections to other cities in the same period.
No previous study has systematically examined the evolution of suburban government; it has simply been accepted as a given form rather than an independent variable. Building Chicago examines the dynamic development of suburban forms of government as part of the larger city building process, arguing that suburban government is distinguished not so much by form as by constituency, which was determined by the settlement patterns of a region.   In particular, transportation advances and the introduction of new integrated infrastructure systems to provide running water, indoor plumbing, and lighting transformed urban living in the nineteenth century. These services were initially available only in the centers of major urban areas, where they were introduced to protect the health and safety of residents. However, their amenity value surfaced quickly, and developers used such services to attract residents to their subdivisions on the outskirts of the city. The differing economic requirements needed to find homes in communities with differing amenities created individual suburbs with homogenous populations and provided the early constituency for distinctive suburban forms of government.   The physical sorting of constituents into homogenous subdivisions was critical to the patterns that developed. This segregation has had a profound effect on cities up to the present day, sorting residents into a divided metropolis. Professor Keating's study reveals the impact of suburban development on Chicago and on urban life and government throughout America.   Contents: Introduction Patterns of settlement The expansion of city government Technological change and Chicago homes The best of both worlds Local government responds to suburbanization Suburban government and annexation The suburb arrived   Ann Durkin Keating is Professor and Chairperson of History at North Central College, Illinois.  


Ann Durkin Keating


The Ohio State University Press