American Urban Form: A Representative History

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Overview

American urban form--the spaces, places, and boundaries that define city life--has been evolving since the first settlements of colonial days. The changing patterns of houses, buildings, streets, parks, pipes and wires, wharves, railroads,
highways, and airports reflect changing patterns of the social, political, and economic processes that shape the city. In this book, Sam Bass Warner and Andrew Whittemore map more than three hundred years of the American city through the evolution of urban form. They do this by offering an illustrated history of
"the City"--a hypothetical city that exemplifies the American city's transformation from village to merchant seaport, industrial city, multicentered metropolis, and, finally, regional metropolis that participates in both the local and the global. The book thereby offers a yardstick against which readers can measure the history of their city.

Warner and Whittemore have constructed their hypothetical City from the histories of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, focusing on commonalities that make up key patterns in American urban development. In an engaging text accompanied by Whittemore's detailed, meticulous drawings, they chart the City's changing boundaries, densities, building styles,
transportation infrastructures, and population patterns. Planning for the future of cities, they remind us, requires an understanding of the forces that shaped the city's past; these are the tools of urban change. The city's protean, ever-changing nature offers each generation a fresh chance to reform (and re-form) it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this illuminating book, Warner and Whittemore have teamed to produce a richly visual, extraordinarily conceptual view of urbanization in the
US."--J.F.Bauman, Choice

The MIT Press

"… American Urban Form stands out as a concise narration of the various dynamics that shaped the physical form of the American metropolis…The book is highly engaging in its technical descriptions, which are supported by excellent hand drawings by Whittemore."--Garyfalia
Palaiologou
, The Journal of Space Syntax

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262017213
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 2/24/2012
  • Series: Urban and Industrial Environments
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam Bass Warner, noted urban historian and Visiting Professor of Urban History at MIT, is the author of Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston, 1870-1900; The Private City: Philadelphia in Three Periods of Its Growth; The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City; To Dwell Is to Garden: A History of Boston's Community Gardens; and other books. Andrew H. Whittemore is Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Texas Arlington.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 The City's Seventeenth-Century Beginnings 8

2 The City in the Mid-Eighteenth Century 20

3 The Merchant Republic, 1820 32

4 The City Overwhelmed, 1860 48

5 The City Restructured, 1895 64

6 Toward a New Economy and a Novel Urban Form, 1925 84

7 The Federally Supported City, 1950 102

8 The Polycentric City, 1975 118

9 The Global City, 2000 136

Notes 155

Suggested Reading 161

Index 173

Series List 181

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