New York: Basic Books, In his book Bourgeois Utopias: the rise and fall of suburbia, author Robert Fishman leads his readers on a fast-paced examination of the orgins of the suburban concept, its rise to maturity, and its eventual status. Fishman informs his readers that the original concept of suburbia is to be found in Britain in the Eighteenth-Century. For most people of meansduring this eraliving in a peripheral zone would have been madness; the only institutions to be found in such areas were those who were in virtual exile from the urban centre. As urban populations and the pace of industrialization increased at the beginning of the Nineteenth-Century, the number of these villas increased, as did the amount of time the middle class was spending at them. This regime was in stark contrast to that of the very rich and very poor.
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Start your review of Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise And Fall Of Suburbia Write a review Shelves: cities-and-suburbs Cited in everything really, finally got around to reading this and it was both better and worse than I was expecting. It takes the origins of the suburbs back further than I realised, to Georgian London. But first the main thesis on the suburb: Its power derived ultimately from the capacity of suburban design to express a complex and compelling vision of the modern family freed from the corruption of the city, restored to harmony with natured, endowed with wealth and independence yet protected by Cited in everything really, finally got around to reading this and it was both better and worse than I was expecting.
But first the main thesis on the suburb: Its power derived ultimately from the capacity of suburban design to express a complex and compelling vision of the modern family freed from the corruption of the city, restored to harmony with natured, endowed with wealth and independence yet protected by a close-knit, stable community Where other modern utopias have been collectivist, suburbia has built its vision of community on the primacy of private property and the individual family.
Here it is suburbia as bourgeois utopia, but what I found most fascinating were its earlier religious origins in Clapham, and on class fears in Manchester. Pretty awesome. The wealthy lived in the centre of town, and the bourgeois merchants and artisans lived where they worked -- often above their shops, warehouses or workshops, with their employees living above them in the garretts.
It is hard to imagine now, especially the ways in which the very rich and desperately poor lived immediately next to each other. One of the key insights of this book for me was the following: English society was still something of a caste society in the sense that social distance was so marked that the priveleged felt no need to protect themselves further from the poor by physical distance. It is also driven by changing ideals of the family, a move to the nuclear family, more intense care and love lavished on children more likely to survive and as enjoined by evangelical religion.
It is Manchester, however, that suburbia really took form as merchants abandoned the city for homes and communities in the outskirts, fundamentally changing the urban structure, however piecemeal. Fishman writes: The older urban form involved the frequent and intimate contact of the middle and working classes. This closeness was precisely what the Manchester bourgeoisie had come to fear. Thus Manchester comes to be described as the town where the distance is greatest between rich and poor -- and this by the time Engels is describing it in France, of course, never experienced such flight of the wealthy to the suburbs because during this period Haussmann transformed Paris to build grand new boulevards and rid it of its poor, making the city a haven for the middle classes as the country was for England.
Thus there is whole dynamic around race fear that he is missing in his description of L. Still, this one of the earlier books on the subject, and does a good job of describing some of the more interesting cultural components forming the pull of the suburbs.
Bourgeois utopias : the rise and fall of suburbia
Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise And Fall Of Suburbia