Private Pleasure, Public Plight: Urban Development, Suburban Sprawl, and the Decline of Community

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This is a social and cultural analysis of community life in metropolitan areas of three nations—the United States, Sweden, and England. The author focuses on how environment and culture interact to shape human behavior. Despite their many similarities, the three societies offer remarkably contrasting urban forms, and thus provide a unique opportunity for comparative research. The findings suggest goals for urban community development in America that can help regain a sense of human scale and establish more meaningful face-to-face contact among urban dwellers.

David Popenoe is professor of sociology at Rutgers University. He has had visiting appointments in the Centre for Environment Studies (London), the University of Stockholm, New York University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Among his other books are: Distributing the Nest: Family Change and Decline in Modern Societies; The Suburban Environment: Sweden and the United States; Neighborhood, City and Metropolis; The Urban Industrial Frontier and a basic text on sociology that will soon appear in its seventh edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An incisive, pioneering work on the nature of modern metropolitan life in wealthier countries. Popenoe has sensitively and convincingly portrayed the life of every man in the cities of these nations, where, although the styles differ somewhat, the basic structure of life is much the same." —Journal of the American Planning Association "Private Pleasure, Public Plight should be read, understood, and heeded, because it makes explicit the aggregate implications of unmitigated acceptance of individual choice in urban areas." —Contemporary Sociology "Deserves the attention of all serious scholars of metropolitan areas. It represents a truly bona fide comparative approach to our study of the phenomenon of metropolitanization." —The Annals "As an introduction to the broad theoretical issues of urban sociology, this volume is praiseworthy and should serve as a useful guide in future cross-societal studies." —Social Science Quarterly "This significant contribution to the sociological literature may serve as a guide in public planning and public housing in the U.S." —Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765807083
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/11/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 196
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

David Popenoe is professor of sociology emeritus and was co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles and as co-chair of the Council on Families in America, he was the primary author of its pioneering 1995 report Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation. Some of his other works include Promises to Keep: Decline and Renewal of Marriage in America and War Over the Family.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the 2000 Edition
Introduction 1
Pt. I History 9
The Rural to Urban Transition 11
The Path to Metropolitan Life 23
Pt. II Form 39
The Metropolitan Setting: A Portrait of Three Metropolitan Areas 41
Explaining the Dissimilarities of Metropolitan Form 55
Pt. III Life 73
Everyday Life in the Metropolitan Area 75
The Structure of the Metropolitan Community 93
Pt. IV Change 109
The Metropolitan Community and the Privatization of Life 111
Changing the Metropolitan Community in the United States 143
Index 159
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