This first full-scale history of the development of the American suburb examines how “the good life” in America came to be equated with the a home of one’s own . Crabgrass Frontier is the first book to trace the growth of suburbs in America from their origins in the ‘s–in Brooklyn Heights opposite Manhattan–until the. JOHN O’LOUGHLIN. CRABGRASS FRONTIER: The Suburbanization of the United States. By. KENNETH T. JACKSON. x and pp.; maps, diagrs., ills., index.

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I learnt a lot about my adoptive country and how this sort of suburbanisation was somewhat unique here compared to other countries.

After all, his working definition of suburbs contained a class component identified by the middle-class and upper-class The House and the Yard 4. Cornering the Market Susan V. This has much to do with legislation that remains complicated and difficult to this day the book expounds on the problem of annexation of suburb lands to boost population size. Jul 20, Mark rated it really liked it.

Crabgrass Frontier – Kenneth T. Jackson – Oxford University Press

Crabgrass Frontier is chalk full of information on the social, political and personal development of suburb culture. While Jackson couldn’t know exactly what would happen over the last quarter century he did suggest that the s probably was the peak of suburbanisation and that it would slowly start to reverse. He cites the causes as the This challenged my assumption that it was the car that enabled the push towards mass suburbanization.

Jackson also makes the important connection between the suburb and the middle-class emphasis on family. The upper classes lived within walking distance of work and cultural activities, while the unitec laborers lived in the unitsd, or the rough edges of town.

At the same time the way suburban towns are being developed and designed is also now creating more of a sense of community and less of a concrete wasteland. In effect, the government was encouraging the transfer of the middle-class population out of the inner cities and into the suburbs, sometimes with devastating effects on the viability of the city centers. One of the problems one encounters when one wishes to read about suburbs and their developments is that those who are engaged in the process of building homes for others are too busy engaged in the work, so that thos There is a deep problem with an author who can have nice things to thf about the atrocious mass public housing efforts during the Great Depression and afterward but has little or nothing nice to say about the suburbs of the United Kingdom, United States, and other settler colonies.

With the increasing population of the older, more established suburban areas, many of the problems which were once seen as purely suburnanization ones have manifested themselves there as well. My library Help Advanced Book Search.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States by Kenneth T. Jackson

As a Canadian, I find it difficult to accept that Americans were exceptional subyrbanization developing suburban models of growth. For instance, the author says that people who work from home or “day-traders” will not be a “thing” as their history at the time of the book’s writing has been a failure.


One downside I would note though is, in terms of it’s evaluation of the modern landscape, the section that analyizes and acknowledges the shifting positive trends towards a redeveloping of the suburban suburbaniation and a resurgence of downtown revitalization across North America is rather brief. The Suburbanization of the United States.

Mar 12, James Smyth rated it it was amazing. He does a great job of unearthing and presenting the federal government’s stages role in enforcing and promoting segregation through the FHA and HOLC, but it seems to me he fails to fully engage with the issue of racism, or its manifestation among white Americans themselves.

The automobile gets a lot of attention later in the book, which is about the point where Jackson drops the pretense of neutrality and begins to wear his own feelings on his sleeve. Given the massive growth of affordable dwellings accessible by the highway and train, families flocked to planned towns such as Levittown where all the details such as schools and public works were already in place so that builders could erect as many as thirty homes a day to meet demand.

The downside to the HOLC was the appraisal and rating system that stigmatized and racialized valuations of neighborhoods based on density, ethnic or racial composition, or age of structures. It is examines how the changes in transportation, financing and legal means or neglect of legal means created the suburban landscape we now see surrounding even the smaller cities within the US. In understanding how on earth American cities developed as they did, there is probably no better place to start than this book.

This first portion constructs the framework for what is to follow in the second half, which focuses on the twentieth century. After that comes an examination of the time of the trolley 6 as well as the dream of affordable houses for the common man 7and the rise and fall of municipal annexation that left cities unable to take in suburbs that had been developed precisely to avoid the problems of the city 8.

Crabgrass Frontier

This first full-scale history of the development of the American suburb examines how “the good life” in America came to be equated with the a home of one’s own surrounded by a grassy yard and located far from the urban workplace. Since I’ve lived in foreign towns and cities for 5 years, I’ve seen some of these issues already, but the book made them crystal-clear. Minorities, particularly African-Americans, were practically barred from moving to suburbs, both northern and southern, everywhere, by collusion, federal policy choices, etc.

If the government will only loan you money to build a house in the suburbs as compared to in the city, or to repair a structure in the cityand only to white people then uh.

Since William Levitt erected his first houses outside Paris in[25] the European landscape has become littered with all the trappings of suburban America. The growth of mass transportation in the form of horsecars, trolleys and trains first put suburban residence in the possession of the well off, while the dramatic spread of roads, highways and automobiles following World War II, coupled with cheap but sturdy balloon frame construction, put it in reach of the middle class.

  2012 WFCM PDF

The Baby Boom and the Age of the Subdivision Another learning I took away from this book was that suburbanization was not solely a North American problem or reality. This book of about three hundred pages is organized in a largely chronological fashion as the author wishes to tell the narrative of America’s suburbanization from a predictably and lamentably negative perspective.

Open Preview See a Problem? I normally try to keep the more dissertation-y grad school books off of my Goodreads, on the assumption that people aren’t interested in them. Highly academic, rehashes a lot of material although chronologically it precedes from ‘geography of nowhere’ and maybe ‘the death and life of american cities’.

Of course those are still generalisations but I think new trends that change and reverse some of the more egregious suburban developments are clear to see.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States

Nov 19, Onefinemess rated it liked it. Just a gut-wrenching episode that I wouldn’t wish on any one. While not particularly argumentative, Kenneth Jackson’s Crabgrass Frontier is a synthesis of American suburban life and the rise of Americans who wanted to forgo city life for more rural, suburban areas starting shortly after World War II.

He contended that policies adopted during the New Deal and built upon as a result of the acute housing shortage following World War II perpetuated and institutionalized efforts to segregate ethnic and racial groups.

Archived from the original PDF on I could have done with less of that, but so many of the tidbits are delightful, from the horse-car and its effects on the weak-willed: In addition to highways to transport suburban residents to the cities and garages in the new suburban homes, post-war suburbs also contributed to new forms of commercialism including the motel, drive-in theaters, fast food, and shopping malls.

Motivated by a cultural preference for country homes over city living, enabled by the widespread availability of open land –and technological innovations like the rail line and automobile which used that land as a broad canvas to draw an entirely new kind of urban landscape – and further encouraged by government support, the Americans thus became suburbanized.

The simplest explanation, however, is ths they could. The most important part of the book is the look at the use of FHA loans for returning GIs and the use of red line practices, that went largely unchallenged by the government, in the development of how the suburbs came into being. This comprehensive history of suburbia not only establishes why American suburbs are so different from those from across the world, but delves into the full range of factors that led to their creation: