The Mysteries of the Great City: The Politics of Urban Design, 1877-1937

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The Mysteries of the Great City examines the physical, cultural, and political transformations of the American city between the Gilded Age and the New Deal. Focusing on New York, Chicago, and Cincinnati, John Fairfield demonstrates that these transformations before and after the advent of city planning were the result of political decisions influenced by corporate and private wealth. The expansion and reorganization of the great city stood out as the most visible symbol of the transformation. The new metropolitan...
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1993-10-01 Hardcover Good 0814206042 Ex Library copy in lightly circulated condition w/usual stamps and markings-pages are unmarked-We provide prompt shipping and delivery ... confirmations-All items guaranteed. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The Mysteries of the Great City examines the physical, cultural, and political transformations of the American city between the Gilded Age and the New Deal. Focusing on New York, Chicago, and Cincinnati, John Fairfield demonstrates that these transformations before and after the advent of city planning were the result of political decisions influenced by corporate and private wealth. The expansion and reorganization of the great city stood out as the most visible symbol of the transformation. The new metropolitan form, with its skyscraping business center, industrial satellites, crowded working-class neighborhoods, and exclusive suburbs, embodied an emerging corporate order. But the metropolis also disguised the new order and gave it an apparent physical implacability and inevitability that obscured the role of choice in its creation and therefore placed it beyond criticism. Fairfield unravels the mysteries of the new form to reveal the centrality of power and politics in urban design. While acknowledging that a great many factors shaped urban development, Fairfield underscores the decisive role of human design. He argues that American cities, both before and after the advent of professional planning, have always been in some measure "planned." Discussing such figures as Frederick Law Olmsted, Henry George, Daniel Burnham, Frederic Howe, Edward Bassett, Robert E. Park, and Louis Wirth, Fairfield illuminates the political and intellectual conflicts among advocates of alternative paths of urban development. The Mysteries of the Great City will enlighten all readers interested in the development of cities, particularly urban historians and planners. In pointing to the Gilded Age as a period of great possibilities of progressive reform, this study will also reward readers interested in the historical foundations of our modern society.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Focusing on New York, Chicago, and Cincinnati, Fairfield (history, Xavier U.) argues that, both before and after the advent of city planning, changes in the cities were political decisions highly influenced by corporate and private wealth. He says that the massiveness of skyscrapers, industrial districts, and neighborhoods gave a sense of inevitability to the changes that obscured the role of human choices. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814206041
  • Publisher: Ohio State University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1993
  • Series: Urban Life and Urban Landscape Series
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 An Urban Republic: Frederick Olmsted, Henry George, and the City Building Debate 15
2 The Political Economy of Suburbanization and the Politics of Space 48
3 From Rapid Transit to City Planning: Social Efficiency and the New Urban Discipline 83
4 The Professionalization of City Planning and the Scientific Management of Urban Space 119
5 An Urban Sociology: Robert E. Park and the Realistic Tradition 158
6 The Alienation of Social Control: The Chicago Sociologists and the Origins of Urban Planning 189
7 Urbanism as a Way of Life: The Paradox of Professional Planning 225
Epilogue 241
Notes 251
Index 305
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2004

    Amazing Stuff

    I loved this book! John Fairfield is an amazing intellectual, and he works very hard. He takes great pride in his work, and it is evident in this masterpiece. I think Fairfield's best quality is his honesty, and it shows in his book. Highly recommended and a must read for everybody!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010

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