Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes

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Overview

By the end of the twentieth century, America's suburbs contained more office space than its central cities. Many of these corporate workplaces were surrounded, somewhat incongruously, by verdant vistas of broad lawns and leafy trees. In Pastoral Capitalism, Louise Mozingo describes the evolution of these central (but often ignored) features of postwar urbanism in the context of the modern capitalist enterprise. These new suburban corporate landscapes emerged from a historical moment when corporations reconceived their management structures, the city decentralized and dispersed into low-density, auto-dependent peripheries, and the pastoral—in the form of leafy residential suburbs—triumphed as an American ideal. Greenness, writes Mozingo, was associated with goodness, and pastoral capitalism appropriated the suburb's aesthetics and moral code. Like the lawn-proud suburban homeowner, corporations understood a pastoral landscape's capacity to communicate identity, status, and right-mindedness. Mozingo distinguishes among three forms of corporate landscapes—the corporate campus, the corporate estate, and the office park—and examines suburban corporate landscapes built and inhabited by such companies as Bell Labs, General Motors, Deere & Company, and Microsoft. She also considers the globalization of pastoral capitalism in Europe and the developing world including Singapore, India, and China. Mozingo argues that, even as it is proliferating, pastoral capitalism needs redesign, as do many of our metropolitan forms, for pressing social, cultural, political, and environmental reasons. Future transformations are impossible, however, unless we understand the past. Pastoral Capitalism offers an indispensible chapter in urban history, examining not only the design of corporate landscapes but also the economic, social, and cultural models that determined their form.

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Editorial Reviews

Bookforum - Anthony Paletta
Mozingo is no apologist for suburban corporate expansion, and in sketching out its history, builds to a conclusion not much different from many other critics of urban planning — that sprawling development has reinforced an unsustainable dependency on cars…Mozingo has provided a backstory to the business park that weaves together corporate history, academic-commercial collaboration, and design innovation to fill in an unfairly overlooked chapter in the modern geography of life and work.
From the Publisher

"Mozingo is no apologist for suburban corporate expansion, and in sketching out its history, builds to a conclusion not much different from many other critics of urban planning -- that sprawling development has reinforced an unsustainable dependency on cars…Mozingo has provided a backstory to the business park that weaves together corporate history, academic-commercial collaboration, and design innovation to fill in an unfairly overlooked chapter in the modern geography of life and work." -- Anthony Paletta,
Bookforum

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262015431
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2011
  • Series: Urban and Industrial Environments
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,328,777
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise A. Mozingo is Associate Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

She was a practicing landscape architect for nearly a decade.

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