City Dreams, Country Schemes: Community and Identity in the by Kathleen A. Brosnan, Amy L. Scott

By Kathleen A. Brosnan, Amy L. Scott

The American West, from the start of Euro-American cost, has been formed through diversified rules approximately the right way to make the most of actual house and usual environments to create cohesive, occasionally particular group identities. whilst westerners constructed their cities, they developed areas and cultural identities that mirrored substitute understandings of contemporary urbanity. The essays in City goals, nation Schemes make the most of an interdisciplinary method of discover the ways in which westerners conceptualized, outfitted, and inhabited city, suburban, and exurban areas within the 20th century.

The individuals research such themes because the points of interest of open area and rural gentrification in shaping city improvement; the function of tourism in constructing nationwide parks, historic websites, and California's Napa Valley; and the jobs of public artwork, gender, and ethnicity in shaping city facilities. City desires, Country Schemes unearths the values and expectancies that experience formed the West and the lives of the folks who inhabit it.

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Additional info for City Dreams, Country Schemes: Community and Identity in the American West

Sample text

In Europe and North America, this development was related in important ways to industrialization, but it stemmed as well from the intellectual, cultural, and political mixture that in the United States has been labeled the Progressive movement. Urban planning has certainly produced more utopian discourse than utopian practice, yet its contributions to conceptions of western cities have loomed large. In some respects urban planners were like boosters with blank slates in their hands; indeed, in most instances civic elites hired these professionals as allies and experts and recruited them to the cause of promotion.

Salt Lake City in particular—a long distance in time and space from the Burned-Over District of upstate New York where Joseph Smith started the church—attests to the persistence of Jacksonian-era utopianism [ 20 ] the wishful west up to the present. It shows how activities and discourses from one century spill over—albeit in modified form—into another. Salt Lake City stands apart because, among other things, it embodies preindustrial designs in our postindustrial world. This background also made it distinctive very quickly in the American Far West.

The success of T. C. Boyle’s 2003 novel Drop City, which imagines in rather upbeat fashion the migration of a 1970 commune from northern California to the Alaskan interior, hints that Americans remain at least partially optimistic about the notion of a utopian West. Even if we wanted to drive utopianism to extinction, we could not. There will always be more “downwave psychology” prodding people to search for improved forms of community. There will always be another hippie—in Mendocino, New Mexico, or some other part of the wishful West—ready to climb back into the broken-down school bus.

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