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America becomes urban : The development of U.S. cities and towns 1780-1980

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America becomes urban : The development of U.S. cities and towns 1780-1980


, aménagement, aménagement urbain, histoire de l'urbanisme, histoire urbaine, forme urbaine, collectivités locales, gestion locale, gouvernance, urbanisation, Monkkonen Eric H.


From the preface :
The American city: we think of the Manhattan skyline, of Chicago curving along the shore of Lake Michigan, or of the Golden Gate Bridge arcing into San Francisco. Or, if we think historically, we might envision steerage passengers, crowded shopping streets and fetid tenements, leafy boulevards and Victorian mansions. This book captures a different American city, a city epitomized by suburbs and freeways as well as high-rise downtowns. This city, the unglamourous place where most Americans through history have lived, is not the ideal city and does not even represent necessarily the kind of place where people should live. This city, where nearly all Americans today do live—sprawling, diffuse, varied—began in the nineteenth century. It is characterized by its nonvisible foundation, a political center around which its citizens have built the physical and institutional bases of modern transportation, welfare, and education.
The history of our cities is... the history of how they came to their corporate status, what they have done with this status, and how they have shaped themselves. Our cities are what we have made them. They will be what we make them. Not everyone shares evenly in the power to shape and make them, and this is a part of the story. The history of U.S. cities must show what makes them American, what underlies their diversity, and why they share more with the business corporation than they do with their historical, Old World, predecessors. And finally, the history of the U.S. city must show that along with the images of Manhattan's skyline, Chicago's shoreline, and San Francisco's bridges, the suburban tract carries in it a spirit that has characterized the New World city, even in the colonial period. All of these jumbled and contrasting images are the U.S. city, and none alone captures adequately the physical, cultural, and economic variety that their corporate identities have undergirded. They move, change, grow, decay, succeed, and fail, just as the American city itself.
The late Eric H. Monkkonen was Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and History at UCLA.


Eric H. Monkkonen


University of California Press