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Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000


From the author of "The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History" comes a comprehensive exploration of the contested cultural landscape ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000

Overall customer rating: 2.000

Read Bruegmann instead.

by sonoftwig on May 8, 2010

Hayden's political bias clouds the narrative. For a dispassionate, but highly readable book on this topic read Robert Bruegmann's "Sprawl: a compact history". While some of the political history presented surrounding development is interesting and not widely understood, it is veiled with her view that it was an evil enterprise perpetrated by money grubbing patriarchs, rather than people making a living within the cultural context of a particular time period. Hayden asserts that better planning and architecture could have prevented what she sees as the ugly and chaotic character of suburban development. First "ugly" is subjective, and infers that a purely urban form is more aesthetically pleasing. Is North Philly actually prettier than Avon, CT? Not to my eye. In terms of planning, she may have a point, but fails to develop where or how this is the case.

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