This first full-scale history of the development of the American suburb examines how “the good life” in America came to be equated with the a home of one’s own . Crabgrass Frontier is the first book to trace the growth of suburbs in America from their origins in the ‘s–in Brooklyn Heights opposite Manhattan–until the. JOHN O’LOUGHLIN. CRABGRASS FRONTIER: The Suburbanization of the United States. By. KENNETH T. JACKSON. x and pp.; maps, diagrs., ills., index.

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Working towards a definition of social geography, I see it as changes in the environment and its use and quantifying those changes — and here is where Jackson shows his social history muscle, by asking those questions with a qualitative answer. Oct 28, Carl Stevens rated it really liked it. Jackson presented a strong argument that advanced several important historiographical themes that characterized urban scholarship.

In in newly rebuilt Chicagoa new type of building appeared, ‘ balloon frame ,’ that “would absorb most of the population growth of the United States over the next one hundred and fifty years”. Suburbanization, and the social interests that caused suburbanization to become a social problem, was playing out nearly everywhere, even if it took a distinct shape in America which is probably more noted in the inability for America to tackle the problem today with the same attention as some of those places across the great pond.

In Crabgrass Frontier, Kenneth Jackson chronicles urban flight and the making of the suburbanozation, establishing that Americans have an historic cultural distaste for cities, inherited through England, and have been trying to have the best of suburbamization worlds, city and country, at least since the end of the 18th century.

From ancient times, the city’s primary function was as a central meeting place to conduct business.

The growth of mass transportation in the form of horsecars, trolleys and trains first put suburban residence in the possession of the well off, while the dramatic spread of roads, highways and automobiles following World War II, coupled with cheap but sturdy balloon frame construction, put it in reach of the middle class.

Apr 14, Michelle rated it it was amazing. Will the amount of driving that is necessary in suburban life be targeted as unsustainable or will the green canopy of frontire suburb be seen as negating the impact of the carbon footprint. The nature, the comfort, etc. I’d like to find a similar volume that brings Jackson’s account up to the present day, say addressing how online retailing has impacted cities and suburbia and more details on how the revitalization of U.

This book provides an extensive history of how inventions in different fields, along with the emergence of the “American Dream” created a mass suburbanization, and the problems associated with it. In conclusion, Jackson offers a controversial prediction: It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Built on cheap land, connected by cheap transport, and occupied by cheap buildings, Jackson believes contemporary sprawl to be fhe worth much in comparison to the city, and points to trends in the s which might signal a turning point.


Crabgrass Frontier – The Mason Historiographiki

The downside to the HOLC was the appraisal and rating system that stigmatized and racialized valuations of neighborhoods based on density, ethnic or racial composition, or age of structures. What is not clear is why he finds it necessary to ignore the English and European antecedents of suburbs. Jackson traces the emergence of this movement to city peripheries as a purposeful choice for elite and middle class in early years of the nineteenth century, nearly a century prior to more recent notions of post-war or white frontie housing development strategies.

Jackson traces the consequences of the predominantly North American process [of suburbanization] through three centuries of technological, economic and social innovation. The steam locomotive in the mid 19th century provided the wealthy with the means to live in bucolic surroundings, to socialize in country clubs [5] and still commute to work downtown; these were the ” railroad suburbs “.

After that comes an examination uited the time of the trolley 6 as well as the dream of affordable houses for the common man 7and the rise and fall of municipal annexation that left cities unable to take in suburbs that had been developed precisely wtates avoid the problems of the city 8. These New Deal policies did a great deal to suburbanizatiion a particular path towards the privatization of American life–which, naturally, suburbanjzation synonymous with the planned economic and racial segregation of America which took place in the 20th century.

He cites the causes as the Jackson attempts to broadly interpret the American suburban experience, which he views as unique. He provides statistical analysis for financial frontidr to move further from jobs and psychological and social reasons for moving away from city congestion to create residential retreats.

But I just read a stat that low-density suburbs grew more in than any other area. Rich People’s Movements Isaac Martin. Really enjoyed the book and the class. As off field of architecture professionalized, home designers guided the public in creating homes that conveyed certain styles or tones.

We’ve seen car ownership and miles traveled in the US drop, unihed investments in inner-city redevelopment for housing and even the younger generation’s abandonment of the mall.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States

Offering a broad interpretation and synthesis that combines intellectual, architectural, urban, and transportation histories with public suburbanizatioon analysis within an international context, Kenneth Jackson explains how “suburbia has become the quintessential physical achievement of the United States” 4.

Developers understood that they benefited from an emphasis on highways rather than mass transit and Jackson covers this story convincingly.


One team of writers have analyzed the building of the Interstate Highway Systemand have concluded that it and other policies of the Federal government played a significant role in American suburbanization.

The Suburbanization of the United States. Jackson does a good job of getting the reader to the point in the s, right after many older American cities had essentially bottomed out, and some had begun to fgontier in some ways gentrification. Books by Kenneth T. This Black flight into cities was for African Americans to seek more opportunities outside of rural areas that offered little to no mobility. What made Americans different was a combination of trends in culture, transportation and government.

Du Bois, and Paul Finkelman. At the same time, home loan and insurance policies favored the suburbs heavily, stifling attempts by those in the city to improve or protect their buildings. Cornering the Market Susan V. Stattes big, mean city, with its confidence men and squalor, did not promise the same haven as the suburbs.

Although Jackson draws examples from various sized cities across the nation, much of the focus is on Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Further, Jackson compares the American experience in cities, rhe later, in the areas surrounding to European counterparts to illustrate the singularity of the American experience. Or, more honestly, they did have a place–in the crowded inner cities that the white middle class began to abandon once trains, trolleys, and the automobile made it possible to do so.

In the course of conducting his research, Jackson has, it seems, formulated an idea of how suburbanization has worked in the United States and reassembled the particular segments to represent his vision.

Crabgrass Frontier

As Americans begin to rebuild their cities and the civilization which they foster, this look back at what caused their disintegration will sttes most helpful. Secondly, Crabgrass Frontier is already showing its age, both in its conclusions and its scholarship.

The New York Times. Minorities, particularly African-Americans, were practically barred from moving to suburbs, both northern and southern, everywhere, by collusion, federal policy choices, etc.

Jackson considers such intriguing questions as why transportation technology changed the shape of American cities more than European ones, why the family room and the television set replaced the stoop and the street as the focus of social interaction, how the evolution of the garage reflected increasing affection for the automobile, how federal housing programs undermined inner city neighborhoods, and how government policies insured the collapse of the nation’s once superb mass transit system.

Contents 1 Summary 2 Commentary 2.

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