Building Suburbia

Green Fields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000

By Dolores Hayden
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375727214, 336pp.)

Publication Date: November 9, 2004

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A lively history of the contested landscapes where the majority of Americans now live, "Building Suburbia "chronicles two centuries in the birth and development of America's metropolitan regions.
From rustic cottages reached by steamboat to big box stores at the exit ramps of eight-lane highways, Dolores Hayden defines seven eras of suburban development since 1820. An urban historian and architect, she portrays housewives and politicians as well as designers and builders making the decisions that have generated America's diverse suburbs. Residents have sought home, nature, and community in suburbia. Developers have cherished different dreams, seeking profit from economies of scale and increased suburban densities, while lobbying local and federal government to reduce the risk of real estate speculation. Encompassing environmental controversies as well as the complexities of race, gender, and class, Hayden's fascinating account will forever alter how we think about the communities we build and inhabit.

About the Author
Dolores Hayden, professor of architecture and American studies at Yale, writes about the politics of design.
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