Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the Twentieth by Steven Conn

By Steven Conn

T is a paradox of yank lifestyles that we're a hugely urbanized state packed with humans deeply ambivalent approximately city existence. An aversion to city density and all that it contributes to city lifestyles, and a conception that the town used to be 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 known as for the decentralization of the town, and rejected the position of presidency in American lifestyles in desire of a go back to the pioneer virtues of independence and self-sufficiency. during this provocative and sweeping publication, Conn explores the anti-urban impulse around the twentieth century, studying how the guidelines born of it have formed either the areas within which american citizens stay and paintings, and the anti-government politics so robust this present day. starting within the booming business towns of the revolutionary period on the flip of the 20 th century, the place debate surrounding those questions first arose, Conn examines the development of anti-urban hobbies. : He describes the decentralist stream of the Thirties, the try to revive the yank small city within the mid-century, the anti-urban foundation of city renewal within the Fifties and '60s, and the Nixon administration's software of establishing new cities as a reaction to the city hindrance, illustrating how, by means 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 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 town is critical interpreting for an individual who cares not only concerning the heritage of our towns, yet approximately their destiny in addition.

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Royce imagined how community could be created in the new urban, industrial circumstances of American life at the turn of the twentieth century. Royce never turned his philosophical attention to the city in any full or considered way, though his own life ran a Turnerian course in reverse: from the rough-and-tumble California frontier of the 1850s and ’60s to the urban and urbane world of Boston and Harvard. As America’s leading idealist philosopher, Royce was surely intellectually, emotionally, and temperamentally predisposed to notions of community rooted in a shared sense of spiritual unity and purpose.

Consider this passage from Stephen Crane’s novella George’s Mother: She looked out at the chimneys growing thickly on the roofs. A man at work on one seemed like a bee. In the intricate yards below, vine-like lines 4 2 • A m e r i c a n s A g ai n s t t h e Ci t y had strange leaves of cloth. To her ears came the howl of the man with the red, mottled face. He was engaged in a furious altercation with the youth who had called attention to his poor aim. They were like animals in a jungle. Crane’s better known novel Maggie: A Girl of the Streets opens with a scene of feral children hurling rocks at one another.

Turner looked to the pre-industrial, pre-urban past as the place where American community was created. Royce imagined how community could be created in the new urban, industrial circumstances of American life at the turn of the twentieth century. Royce never turned his philosophical attention to the city in any full or considered way, though his own life ran a Turnerian course in reverse: from the rough-and-tumble California frontier of the 1850s and ’60s to the urban and urbane world of Boston and Harvard.

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