Monthly Archive for January 2019

Upcoming Excerpts: Suburbanism & How Transit Shapes Experience

As is often the case, I've bitten off something probably far too involved and long to write. But it is progressing nicely, and to paraphrase Apocalypse Now, someday, it's gonna be done. But for now, two excerpts for the new year.

In the broadest of strokes, this was a worldview which fundamentally conceived of the city as a dirty, congested, and miasmic place—a site of both physical and moral decay. By the postwar era of urban renewal, the 19th Century industrial city had come to be seen as a particularly harmful relic: outdated, decaying, and in dire need of replacement. In fact, in the minds of many experts and political leaders, the combination of aging buildings, incompatible land uses, and "disreputable" people and their activities was seen as a literal form of cancer: an infectious, growing "blight" which threatened to kill the urban organism unless it was quickly excised. Undergirding these beliefs was the deep faith of early- to mid-Twentieth Century America in the necessary inevitability of progress. Technological innovation, it seemed obvious, when combined with rational, technocratic planning, would necessarily lead to ever more healthy and prosperous places.
Put simply, transportation facilities often lie at the experiential heart of everyday urban existence. They are some of the most important spaces through which we experience any given city. They shape not only how we interact with urban space, but also our psychological understandings of its shape, its size, and its character.
-Upcoming excerpts

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