American Urbanization

The growth of American cities in the later half of the 19th and early 20th century is a story of great vision, productivity, challenge, and sacrifice. This workshop approaches the subject from two perspectives.

The first is an overview of what life was generally like in the good old days, which from a modern contemporary perspective might not have been so good. The lives of the average person, mother, father, siblings, relatives are examined from a practical daily perspective. What were the environmental and health conditions like? How was a day arranged? What were the living conditions?, the working conditions?, transportation? Etc. Many of these fundamental questions will be answered on the basis of the known science and technology of the period.

Moving to the second phase we compare some of the bigger, more well established cities on the coasts and lakes with the new and burgeoning cities of the interior of America. What justified creating a city in the first place? How much planning went into the layout of all primary construction and transportation? How did cities get their wealth and means of financial justification. When is a city too small and weak to survive and when is it too big? What was the relation between politics and economy? Were all cities run as true democracies? How were citizens rights and safety assured?

This program is a work in progress, to be completed for 2008.

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