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The idea of what we call the Suburb actually existed in the time of ancient Persia around the Ur area, now present day Iraq. Suburbs are said to combine the best of both farmland and city, and these ideas even predate the letter (which doesn't specify if its about the alphabet or the letters that are written.) Closer to the modern era than in the B.C time of Persia, the United States have seen examples of these suburbs pop up, such as in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. (David Y.)

Suburbanization projects with fast growth had really taken hold in North America and Great Britain, the latter of which had nicknamed these “Walking Cities” due to the main method of transportation being walking. London was a prime example, despite having so many people in the city, someone can walk from locations like Paddington to the edge of the city and then to the center in about three hours. Despite being smaller than their European counterparts, American cities had the same intensity as the cities across the Atlantic. (David Y.)

In early America as “walking cities” were developing, suburbs were originally home to African Americans fleeing racial persecution. In walking cities, the city center was home to the wealthy population and the outskirts/suburbs were populated by lower-class residents. As technology developed and cities became less walkable, the dynamic between the city center and suburbs flipped so that the suburbs mostly housed wealthy residents while the city center largely housed lower-class residents. (Kynzie J.)

The “walking city” had several concepts that made it truly unique: heavy congestion, a clear divide between city and country, a mix of functions spread out, rather than a specific industry being contained in one area, a short distance between home and work, and wealthier areas concentrated in the center. For much of urban history, this model was the dominant form cities took, since walking was the only efficient method of navigating the city. But this would come to an end as new methods of transportation slowly became more available over time.

In the early days of the walkable city, due to the density of the streets, many neighborhoods and streets were multiethnic as well as multi-purpose. Many people lived where they worked, and elites, slaves, and low income workers all lived in relatively close proximity to each other. Over time, as transportation like busses, street cars, and ferries became available, this ended up causing cities to expand rapidly, allowing for racial, class, and industry segregation to happen in major cities. (Oliver M)

Early American cities relied on the walkability and accessibility of its layout. That usually meant a flat and dense city center that made all a persons needs or places of employment close by. It also meant that it should be near access routes for trade/imports/exports. Because quick over land travel hadn't been invented yet, that usually meant being near a water way and building up a harbor. All good either came in or went out through these waterways.- Emma Galvin

Andrew Jackson Downing was an architect that specialized in garden landscapes. He is known for wanting/promoting spaces that are pleasing to the eye for the general public, and believed that city scapes should also have greenery to make it more enjoyable to live. He believed/advocated for private, individual homes in suburban neighborhoods that were cheap and affordable to everyone including the working class (Oliver)

At this time, grid patterns were popular in city planning to create a uniform look that was easy to navigate. However many argued that this was unnatural and even not good for people's mental health. Instead, many planners advocated for suburbs to have winding roads that went out in a tree pattern, which is how we have big, large, sprawling suburbs (Oliver)

This shift to wide, treelined boulevards made it so the typical block size became twice the size of what it had been before the Civil War. The boulevards of Baron Georges Haussman in Paris inspired elegant boulevards such as Elm Street in New Haven and Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.

In this section of Crabgrass, we start to see the importance of emerging suburban life. This was taking place in the late nineteenth century leading up to the turn of the century. There’s also a continuous development in the changing development of how cities are set up and how urban planning is taking place. Towards the later part leading into the 1900s, we see a changing shift in the development of city transportation. This transportation goes from what we typically know of as horses and buggies, wagons, or walking to horse-powered street cars and then finally the development of electrified trolleys and streetcars. (Jacob M.)

The electric streetcar was invented in 1867 by Charles T. Harvey- they were vehicle connected to constantly moving cables. By 1894 Chicago had the world's most extensive cable system, with 1,500 trailer cars and over 86 miles of track. Philadelphia, New York City, and Oakland also opened cable lines in the 1880s. By 1890 there were 283 miles of track in 23 cities. However, the popularity of cable cars waned quickly due to their cost and inefficiency.

Suburbanization, while slow, came to be through a variety of factors. Perhaps the most prevalent was a shifting mindset away from the tight-knit and public society found in urban environments, and an increasing preference for privacy, domestic life, and owning “your” land. There was a sense of pride in having your very own roof, one that truly prioritized your family over your culture or neighborhood. Furthermore, this also saw the early days of what would become the nuclear family: the breadwinning father, and the housewife who would look after the kids. That being said, there was much pushback at the time against this trend, mostly from Socialist groups, who saw it as a betrayal of public society, and Feminists, who saw it as enslavement for women. (Sam J.)

William Dean Howells was the one who saw firsthand the earliest advantages to the need for city, suburbs and small towns working together. In the chapter, Howells had noticed the disadvantages of a lack of urban services in the suburbs when he was living in Boston. He noted how there was lack of things we would often see nowadays in our own cities; graded streets, landfill, lanterns, and police who protected the people, or even a good water source to stop fires when they occur. (David Y.)

In pre Napoleonic Europe, the idea of a family as we know it today was vastly different, as groups of people with no relationship to each other were living in hovels, and that was about 75% of the population. French historian Philippe Ares pointed out how in the l8th Century, the idea of the family being a close knit group that was free from outside control had started to take shape. This movement really showed itself in the United States within the suburbs as homes were being developed with individual rooms affecting the aspects of needs like eating, sleeping, and relaxing. (David Y.)

As the suburbs developed, an increased importance was placed on owning a home. Homeownership was seen as a symbol of success, stability, and middle-upper class values, making it difficult for housing developers to rent their properties. As people began to move to the suburbs to escape cities and the dirt and disease they contained, new housing developments emphasized separation and private space through implementation of large yards. Wide blocks and streets with green space also replaced the typical grid system seen in most cities. (Kynzie J.)

jackson_crabgrass_frontier.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/29 16:41 by mmacarth