tv Twentieth Century Suburbs CSPAN September 1, 2017 6:40pm-7:47pm EDT
conplaying rags of world war i, and they lived in the shadow of franklin d. roosevelt. >> and monday, the 1967 detroit riots. >> we prefer to think about it like a rebellion because of all of the energy and anger and act victim of that went into that moment had long been predicted. people had been begging for some remedy for the housing discrimination, the police brutality, the economic discrimination. so that frustration cannot be understood as just chaotic and incoherent. it was a rebellion. >> three day labor day weekend on american history tv on c-span3. now on lectures in history, it's james madison university professor evan friss. he teach as class about the evolution of suburbs from the early 1900s to the frept and talks about how changes to home loan policies, the mass
production of houses and the rise of automobiles helped create an alternative to urban living. his class is about an hour. so today we are talking about the suburbs. how many of you grew up in the suburbs? okay. almost all of you. and what kind of a.j. adjectives would you use to describe the suburbs. i can't hear you? >> proud. >> proud. okay. perhaps an unusual choice. nicolas. >> i would say it's lying being from nowhere. >> like being from nowhere. good. other descriptions? characterization? >> safe. >> safe. good. as lexi points out. cassidy? >> utopia. >> a utopia. >> emily? >> family oriented.
>> family oriented. nicolas were you going to say something? no. drew? >> i loved it. >> okay. good. i mean some people, utopia. maybe this is a different generation. i thought people were going to say lame, and boring, which is why i picked this very lame typeface. and i thought we'd start with an image of contemporary suburbia, which is this is an engagement shoot, a young couple who have taken to the suburban street for their engage -- people get married. they taken gaugement photos. and this was -- this went around the internet for a while and lots of people including myself, laughed at it. so what's so weird about that?
why does this image seem -- what's the disconnect? ali. >> usually engagement pictures are at like i don't know a scenic place like outside like in the woods or something. and this is like in a neighborhood. >> okay. so somewhere maybe scenic or natural. emily? >> usually has more of a romantic feel to it. not random cars parked everywhere. >> romantic. people might take them in nature or the city, places where it seems exciting. young couples, we don't usually associate with suburbia. but what we think about suburbia has changed over time and today we are going to spend the class thinking about how the notion of a suburb -- and it is of course a notion. what we think about suburbs have changed over time. it depends where we are talking about and who we are asking. but we are going to think about suburbs as a kind of historical
construct. and what they mean. but i think somebody maybe it was nicolas i'm not sure said it's kind of nowhere. but by definition, it's relative. right? suburbs only exist. -- the word "suburb" is beneath the city. it's related to the city. it's seen as a kinds of nowheres land between city and rural. i was thinking about this the other day. you know, we think about culture as maybe being urban or rural. jazz music. hip hop. those are historically very urban kind of forms of art. and maybe country music or folk art, we think about rural america as having a very -- a culture that's very obvious to us and one we would recognize.
but what is suburban music? suburban art? suburban culture? these kinds of things. it can be hard to identify. and people who are from the suburbs, maybe not those of us who think they are utopians or drew, who loved growing up there, but you know people are often embarrassed to be from suburbs. i say this because at the beginning of the semester i often ask students where they are from. and somebody will say baltimore. and i will say i know baltimore, well, what neighborhood? it turns out they live in some poe dunk town you know 25 miles outside of baltimore. or, you know, there are 8 million people who live in new york city but probably 30 or 40 million who you ask where they live, they would say new york. nobody wants to admit they are from new jersey, i guess. but you know, they do occupy
this kind of strange space. so we are going to go back all the way in time. we are going to focus on the 20th century and the mid 20th century in particular. but we'll do some early prehistory to think about how suburbs came to be. and much of -- although the word existed all the way back in the 14th century, the suburban ideal, the concept of suburbia really began in the 19th century, 2ikcally in the second half of the 19th century. and it has a lot to do with cities. and we have talked about in class how cities are growing becoming more industrialized, and over times cities become associated with chaos, disorder, poor health. and as a consequence people are seeking the tonics of nature as a kind of prescription for better health. people are wanting to escape the city and one of the ways they are able to do that before they build suburbs are with urban
parks. and here's an example from central park. the construction begins just before the civil war. and the idea was, if you can't live outside of the city at least you can get a taste of the country. so they may live in these kind of squallid, dirty crowded city, but they can have the benefit of fresh air, scenery, flora and fauna, most of which was impo import imported, but nevertheless seemed very natural. and wealthy folk could enjoy the curved paths that stood in stark contrast to the grid-like streets of manhattan. and as the 19th century continues and cities become larger and more industrialized, the notion that cities were diseased, filth-ridden perverted
places to live only grows. and in fact, some doctors even begin to coin medical conditions. one is new yorkitis that affects people who live in new york who become morbid and disturbed by virtue of just living in the crowded chaotic city with the a cacophony, the noise and all of the people. late in the 19th century there are a lot of remedies for this, new parks, people fleeing the city maybe farther than central parks, but other parks, other natural land marks. a lot of people are riding bicycles as a way to escape the city and have some sense of nature outside. so the suburban kind of style really takes off after the civil
war. and people begin to emphasize having a detached home, a cottage-style house, having fresh air accessible, space, a yard, a garden. and some of you mentioned this notion of suburbs being safe and family oriented. and that idea begins to take off in popularity as well. we talked about earlier in the class here yet beecher osteo, the famous author. her sister actually becomes one of the leading proponents of suburbia in terms of thinking about these spaces as ideal for family, to raise a family, and to encourage a kind of domestic feminism. and the suburban esthetic is seen in a number of ways. we will see just one example here from a house in newburgh, new york. this house was designed by one
of the two people who designed central park. so there's a lot of overlapping themes here. this is a big house, 5,000 square 5,000 square feet. eight bedrooms, only one bathroom. the idea epitomized here but other early architecture was to emphasize nature and its relaceship to nature. so they built this house for mr. warren who was the treasury of some railroad company. the treasurer of a railroad company. they built it purposefully right on the hudson river, to take advantage of this beautiful view, the natural splendor and situated the house in a way that it was opening up to the river view. the big parlor rooms inside the house were in the back of house so that they could see the
water. there was a big giant porch on the back where any assumed -- vox assumed that the residents would spend the summer enjoys the please and taking in the breathtaking view. you can see there's a garden, a yard, emphasizing the smas that could be had in the suburbs. a much bigger house than most people were living in in the city, and one that was supposed to blend in with nature. so vox was very concerned about not having the house stick out so much. even though it was large. le you'll notice that the front of the house has these gables that make the house appear very tall but in the rear there's a a kind of hipped roof to de-emphasize the verticality. there's also a lot of ornamentation and the idea was these houses could express the emotions of the owners.
there are these window hoods on the first floor windows, elaborate trim along the gables as a way to stand out, as a way to have these ornamental flourishes was going to be part of this suburban style architecture. the which was very much intended for wealthier folks who could escape the suburbs. this is just kind of interesting to see what the house looks like today. the this was a couple years ago oh. the nice looking house. twos on the market for $285,000. pretty cheap. but it remains a kind of signal of this earlier impressive era. so while some people like vox were building these houses, others were thinking about creating the first suburban
communities. one this park in new jersey which sat 12 miles outside new york city and the other, river side, illinois, which was pretty close, about nine miles from chicago. the idea here was not to create these nice cottage style homes with the own yard and garden but to create an entire community where similar kinds of folk could come and develop these suburban developments. these neighborhoods, planned communities. and you can see in both of the plans here, again, emphasizing nature, the roads are all curved. they bring in lots of flora and fawn in a. in lieu ellen park, the lot sizes are quite large adon't allow fences so the idea was there was going fob this shared open space where any individual owner could kind of roam in this big public nature ground.
and they're kind of interesting examples for several reasons but one of which you'll also notice in the lieu ellen park, there's a gate house which they used as a way to promote the idea of privacy, security, these kind of features of suburban life we think of today but also to suggest exclusivity. and these were in fact country homes for very wealthy city people. later in the 19th century, we have the origins of street car suburbs that have houses that are often a little less elaborate, but interesting, nonetheless. and street cars become popularized the in the late 19th century because they become electrified and able to travel much fast er. this is an image of pittsburgh and you can see all of the
bridges between pittsburgh crossing the rivers around it. these bridges are not carrying automobiles, but rather pedestrians, railroads, but primarily street cars. and so all around pittsburgh new suburb an street car suburbs as they call them, are developing. some tony squirrels where managers and businessmen can live in these nice more bucolic spaces but still manage to get to the city pretty easily. we think of suburbs primarily of course as residential but they're also industrial suburbs and homestead, pennsylvania, which is about seven miles outside of pittsburgh is an example of one of these industrial suburbs and a street car suburb that's connected to pittsburgh via this bridge that was erected in 1895.
so, this is not a zoomed in look here, but what do you find striking about this particular suburb? how does it maybe look unusual? greg? >> unlike the other ones, all the streets are very straight and there's no attempt to incorporate nature. >> good. the so there's a very rectilinear street pattern, linear. and if you notice, they often follow the railroad tracks or street car tracks. development is following transportation. >> there's like factories close to the sib barbs too. >> god good. there's a great deal of industry here. home stead steel works eeventually purchased by andrew car nage. this is a center of industry. the it becomes a company town where more than half of the people living here eventually
work for the steel company. so we're not going to spend so much time thinking about these kind of sib barbs but it's important to remember that manufacturing often does move to the fringes of the cities and they're all kinds of different sib barbs. but i want to talk about some of the things that really precipitate the modern suburban movement in h the mid 1950s and some of that stems from the new policies we talked about earlier, and in particular, the creation of the homeowner's lone corporation. a new deal by product that was trying to help people afford homes. as we discussed a couple weepks back the great depression produce the tremendous
homelessness, foreclosures et cetera. and part of what the new deal wanted to do was create a boom in the construction industry and also provide homes for people who needed them. so this holc was an effort to provide mortgages for people. in the 19th century, most buyers either built their house, or they paid cash for it. and mortgages were just beginning to become a thing, but they were often very short term. you would have to refinance and so the holc promoted a longer term mortgage with therefore a lower monthly payment. but one of the interesting things about the holc is of course they didn't want to give out loans that weren't going to be paid back. so they had a very intricate process of assessing neighborhoods. values. and they didn't want to give loans to neighborhoods that they thought would be in decline.
so they created a very detailed system where individual assessors would go to a neighborhood, look at the kind of housing. they would look at how old the housing is. the whether it was in good shape to try to determine if it was a really good neighborhood was going to hold its value, or a neighborhood that was on decline. the and they made these maps with colors and letters to denote a was the -- a were the best neighborhoods, then b, c and d. but as we'll see from this example of a 1937 map from richmond, virginia, the most salient feature in the assessor's reports had to do with race. and in this case, white neighborhoods tended to be shaded in green or blue, which were the highest ratings. and if a neighborhood was populated heavily by african-americans, it would
almost always receive a d or red rating. that was certainly the case in this neighborhood that we'll look at in a minute, which, today, is randolph, and it had effect even on neighboring neighborhoods. you can see just to the side of this neighborhood, is a yellow grouping that's currently bird park in richmond. and the reports for this neighborhood say that it would have been higher, would have gotten a blue rating, a b rating, but was downgraded because it's next to an african-american neighborhood and there's a park on this side of the c 4 neighborhood so african-americans are walking through this neighborhood. thereby, supposedly, devaluing it. when the assessors wrote reports like this, in other neighborhoods, they included all sorts of detailed information. and maybe you can't see, but
under inhabitants often twro say salaried workers, managerial class, to define the kind of people who worked there. as a way to under stand how much money they made as a way to understand if in neighborhood was going to become prosperous or at least maintain itself. but in neighborhoods that were dominated by african-americans, the assessor usually just listed negro and that was enough to warrant a red designation. and this sh the part of the origin of the term known as red lining, which came to mean discriminating against certain minority groups in terms of providing services, financial services, government services et cetera. now, there's been some debate about how much these ratings actually mattered in terms of lending practices. but there's no doubt that there's certainly a sign of how
new deal benefits were being meted out disproportionately. perhaps it's not also a surprise that there's a correlation between these maps and poverty rates today. in is an overlay, a map of the original holc map from 1937. and the area shaded in red underneath it are areas that are -- experience more than 20% poverty rate. and perhaps the government was simply good at predicting the future and these neighborhoods were really in decline or more likely the government helped cement the fate of these neighborhoods. so what does this have to do with suburbanization. you will y you'll notice the areas in red tended to be in the center, the core of the city.
that was often the case. this is a map of chicago. another from cleveland, and finally, in oakland. all of these from 1940 or 1937, like richmond. and you'll notice that the red is at the city's center, the core of the city. and so the government started to promote, by giving loans and incentivizing in other ways the development at the fringes of the city, which happened at the expense of the city center. and it also began the process of associating inner cities, city centers as the neighborhoods of decline, and similarly, that those neighborhoods are decline were the neighborhoods in which african-americans disproportionately lived. and these ideas would become linked in a way that was hard to -- that would be hard to
entangle for a very long time. following up on the homeowners' loan corporation, another even bigger an more important new deal program known as the fha, federal housing administration which becomes a huge part of the post war boom. it makes home loans much more affordable and goes even further than the holc in providing ensuring private lones that will provide very long-term loans with very little down payments, often less than so10% was neede. this similarly, operated in a way that promotes discrimination. so the fha would often was more likely to ensure new housing development rather than reconstructing or rehabilitating
old development which of course meant new housing was more likely to be built outside of the cities. they were more likely to insure mortgages for single-family houses, the kind that would be very popular nat suburbs. and perhaps most appallingly, in many of the new sib suburbs that the fha sub ssidized in a way. they promoted the idea of restrictive covenants. agreements that the suburb anites who moved into these neighborhoods would be held to that made sure they would never sell their house to somebody who was not white. excluding very explicitly african-americans. these covenants would eventually be ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court in 1948 in shelly versus kramer but discrimination managed to continue in a variety of other ways.
so these programs are in place before the war, but once the war begins to die down, soldiers are returning home, the gi bill is enabling all sorts of economic growth. we have really post war suburban boom. that follows world war ii. and during the war towards the end of the war, 1944, there were about 144,000 new houses built in a single year. by 1950, there would be roughly 2 million houses built in that exact year. and by 1950, the rate of suburban growth was more than 10 times that the rate of the city center. so these new sib barbs were often much less dense, often houses looked similar and so did the people. and the most famous and largest
example of these post war suburbs was in h lev vittown in long island. about 25 miles east of new york city. where abraham lev vit and his two sons buy 4,000 acres of potato farms in 1946, and eventually build 17,000 houses and do 0 so in a way that's reminiscent of mass production. as you can see here, non union eased workers would go from house to house and do the same task, oftentimes very minute over and over again. and they really helped revolutionize the building process. so as you can see from this aerial image, they had pre cut lumber, they came from the le vit farms and maded concrete slabs 60 feet apart, dumped all
the materials out and would quickly build a house. very quickly. they were able to build houses at a rate exceeding 150 a week. and 9 result was that the houses were very affordable. since they were built so quickly. the earliest model sold for $7900 and it's hard to do kind of economic comparisons to today, but it would probably be something like $85,000, $95,000 in today's money. they became very affordable for many people in the middle class, and people start moving in in 1947 to houses that look like this. this is one that's still standing. but the original cape cod style, and floor plan. so what do you make of this particular house? compared to other suburban
houses? what's interesting? >> good. it's one floor. emily? >> very basic. >> very basic, simple, compact. good. these cape cod style houses were only 750 square feet. only had one bathroom. two bedroom. so these seemed pretty small to us in our suburbs today, but at the time time seemed pretty spacious. and roomy. and had a lot of exciting features for people. most notably, of course, it was your own house. it was detached. the it was separate. you had a yard. the house conveyed a sense of family. there were very few private spaces. instead of formal dining rooms, there was just a public mitch
more open kitchen that was designed so that mothers working in the kitchen could look out the front window and watch their children playing in the front lawn. there's no porch. which is often seen as the kind of connection to the public of what makes the link between the public street and the private house, people hanging out on their porch, a sense of community, things that they would be ridiculed as lacking later on. there were no sort of stereo typically male spaces, no den, library, billiard room. and in fact, these kind of suburban houses reflect a new male domesticity where men were more likely to be expected to spend time with their family instead of just hanging out with other male friends.
speak of the community, there are of course no bars or saloons where men or other people are hanging out. at first, there weren't any s m swimming pool pools, parks or play playgrounds, eventually some of those are built but that comes much later. there's also, of of course -- there is only one of the house types. eventually they develop a ranch style but basically only two kinds of houses. they all look very similar. and some people would suggest helped create a lack of diversity in terms of the architecture. suburban architecture indeed tends to look similar, whether it's in long island or somewhere els else. but perhaps the more important critique is that the people living in lev it town all looked fairly similar as well.
at least in terms of them all being white. buy 1960, when 82,000 people are living in this very popular suburban community of lev it town there's not one african-american included. and they are purposefully and explicitly excluded. so this issue of diversity is of ours one of the critiques of suburbia. but there were many others, even at the time back in the 1940s as they're starting out and the 50s and 60s as they're exploding in populari popularity. >> i had a question. you said something about red lining and restrictive covenants but when was block busting introduced? i know during that time a lot of white families were selling their homes. >> good. so although restrictive covenants are ruled unconstitutional in h 1948, a
lot of -- they sort of put a waiting period on it. so a lot of communities are able to actually create them and they don't negate existing ones. and then what happens of course even after those are put in place, they're a variety of ways mostly real estate agents, that are working to make sure that african-americans don't purchase in a particular neighborhood because the fear was that property values would go down. and they're all sorts of ways of doing this. not only real estate agents steering people in a particular direction but how you present the community. le think about even here in virginia, some of you may see suburbs, neighborhoods that are called the jones plantation. what does that signal to a particular group? or i don't know if any of you ever go pump kin picking?
anybody go pick pumpkins? well if you go in town here, there's a great little nice place to pick pumpkin that is i take my family to every year but you have to drive through this little suburban development and it's called battle field estates, and you drive on confederacy lane. these are names that signal something to certain people. but what eventually happens, which we're not going to talk about too much today of course is that the city populations decline as is a great em pedestrian tus for people to move to the suburbs and families are beginning the so called white flight where neighborhoods are going from white to black. and people are trying to so called defend their neighborhoods to make sure that they stay white, and do so through all sorts of ways. that's when we have a block busting, and neighborhoods
rapidly changing. predominantly in h the 50s when you start to see that as happening much more so. but good question. so other critiques of -- while people are boosting suburbia, real estate agents, developers, banks, mortgage insurers, construction companies, are boosting the notion of suburbia, while popular television shows are romanty sizing a kind of almost inaccessible suburban ideal. plenty of people are beginning to question whether or not these are actually utopias. and great places to live. and part of that critique is of course about sameness. that there's a this mass culture that's developing where people are replicating one another, and that there's this concern that the houses all look the same. the pieces all look the same. and we're going to have this
very boring stayed culture that is antithetical to perhaps what we want. the especially in terms of culture. there's also unique problems in terms of women. and the notion of a suburban house wife. and what that does in terms of isolation and female oppression. and women, across the country, whether in cities, suburbs or rural areas, of course are facing challenges all their own. but to get to this idea of a house wife, and eventually a suburban house wife, i thought i'd show a brief clip from a news reel of the 1951 mrs. america pageant. so pay attention what the kind of housewife, what miss america is expected to do. >> holds a questions for mrs. america.
she's got to cook as well as look. 32 married show they know potatoes have to be peeled. mrs. new york city with a cheese casserole. bed making comes next. into the beds go the testers, best beds by mrs. new york city. hmm. feels comfortable. but it's the body beautiful that's the criterion for the well-rounded mrs. america. ♪ >> the winner is mrs. new york city. mrs. may nard done can. yes, wife can be beautiful. ♪ >> so you know, mrs. america, the married women being rated z on how well they can peel potatoes, how well they make beds. the men come in as the test -- i don't know what they're testing for. but they're testing the bed.
and then of course they have to look good in a swimsuit to boot on top of this all. and so women in suburbia are facing this prevailing image of what a suburban housewife should be and has to do. the and their lives are quite challenging. this is one example of a woman mar jurorie from the late 1940s who lives in a suburb about 20 mile the outside new york city and she's talking about just how difficult, how busy her life is. she doesn't have a job in the typical sense of the word, but her schedule, she wakes up at 6:30 in the morning, three kids, a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and baby, she wakes up at 6:30, dresses the two boys makes breakfast, husband goes to work, washing dishes, cleans down stair, kids are outplaying,
bathes baby, cleans upstairs nurses the baby, makes lunch for the kids, husband comes home. kids take a nap. she washes the dishes, nurses the baby, wakes up the kids, gardens mends clothes, fixes a snack. dinner for the kids. gives them baths. then dresses for dinner with her husband. has a cocktail with her husband, makes dinner for her husband, nurse baby. kids go to sleep and 11:00 she goes to bed. in the article she talks about how they wake up in the mid of the night and it's a neverending cycle. this is a lot of work for somebody who's not working. surely some of you grew up in households where one of your parents stayed home and probably und underappreciated how much they did. my wife stays home with our two boys and her schedule looks something like this. although she doesn't dress up for dinner with me.
i'm going to have to ask her about that. but these people working really, really hard, and we don't think of them as working. but of course they have tremendous economic value. because if they were working outside the home, somebody would have to be doing these tasks. today, of course day care is more common. but there's really value here. this photograph is symbolizing one week's worth of her work. they assemble. so she makes in a given week 35 beds. and she washes 750 items of glass and china. she washes 400 pieces of silverwa silverware. she prepares 175 pounds of food. does 250 pieces of laundry. in a given week. and in the article, accompanying this photograph, she talks about her many roles. she's a driver, a seamstress, maid, cook, nurse and her
husband's galam or girl. and she has all of these mod ernt appliances, now by the time we get to the 40s, 50s and 60s that a washing machine and dishwasher makes life easy, but in fact, women even by the mid 60s, are spending just as much time on housework as they were 50 years earlier. but for mar jorie, part of the extra burden is she's living in the suburbs and it's isolating. she has to drive her family around all over the place. her aunts, kusz zins don't live with them. . her neighbors are more distant. doesn't see hepeople walking in and out of the bidding and it can feel and does feel for her very isolating. that's another of course kind of critique. yet, another is the idea of
consumption. that suburbia is driving american consumption to even greater levels. we've talked about overand over again in this class, how markers of class and status are based on somebody's income but rather based on what they buy. what they consume. what they wear, what they drive. and nothing becomes more important in terms of class than one's home. and in terms of achieving the so-called american dream by being a property owner. and that idea is portrayed in this magazine cover from the late 1950s in which a young couple is it is managing their future, managing a ranch home and managing all the stuff stuck inside of it. all of the appliances, and by
the 1950s, americans buy something like three quarters of all the appliances in h the entire world. one the more lasting critiques of suburbanization is in terms of its affect on the environment. there's a kind of irony here that people moving to the suburbs to get close to nature, but in the process of course they've helping to destroy it. what might have been more natural landscapes are being bulldozed, topsoil is being replaced with houses and lawns. air pollution, gasoline consumption, energy consumption, trash. the all of these things are creating great wastes. and of of course is suburban nature really even nature?
you know, if you think back to those lev vit town houses and many of the suburbs you grew up in, people have little pieces of rectangular grass. right? what's up with that? and that's not -- they water it in the summer. they fertile ease it with chemicals, mow it all the time. what would the grass look like if it was just kept more natural? and of course the kinds of grass that were growing are not even native to the area. so it's kind of strange and people are pruning their trees, and hedging their lawns to make these perfectly rectangular angles. people have bushes. just today, on my way to campus, i walked by a house i never noticed it before. but it had a bush in the shape of a dog.
a little badog. i was about to take a picture and include it, but people saw me standing in front of their house and i didn't want to be creepy. but it's weird. and everybody pruning their trees. this time of the year, everyone's raking their leaves. and thenl putting them in plastc bags and putting them on a truck. is that natural? or the guys outside are bidding here with the machines, blowing all the leaves everywhere. it's kind of weird. if we think about it. this natural element. and of course, a lot of the environmental critiques have to do with automobiles. and one of the developments in terms of suburban architecture is of course in terms of the
garage. you may have noticed those lev i town buildings in the 1940s didn't have garages and we talked about automobiles earlier in the class. but they're very rare until the 1920s, people are parking maybe in stables. by the 30s and 40s, start to have driveways, but not until the 50s that they become integrated into the house. you can see from this floor plan in 1963, the garage is enormous. it takes up more than 25% of the entire squi entire square footage of the whole house. it can fit two cars and a whole bunch of junk inside. this becomes a staple of suburban architecture. you may remember the first image we showed in class the most striking architectural feature were these protruding garages.
they're called kind of pejoratively snout houses. they have big noses, big garages. and people are critical of them because they elevate the car. but they also distance the house from the public. it's often hard to see the front door and the connection to the people. so, garages are weird. they're an entire house just for your compare. you can drive your car into the house so you don't have to feel the weather or see any neighbors. the you just drive into your house in this little house just for the garage. they're not so little. and these garages have become bigg bigger and bigger, even as the cities have. sort of alluding to ashley's question earlier, about what's happening in h the cities, a lot of people are becoming auto centric and desiring having a car which is propelling people to move to the suburbs and some cities, cognizant of this are
trying to promote automobilety within the city and create garages. this is one famous example of a residential skyscraper in chicago from 1964 called marina city and it's a little hard to tell, but at the bottom of this giant building, is this many-story-tall 900-space valeted garage. where people could park their cars. and this was dung one as a way stem white flight and encourage people not to move to the suburbs. you could have the garage here in the city too. you can see this is what it looks like today. they're alall backed in by valets. it's a very striking building but certainly elevating the idea, of course, of the car. we've already talked about in our last class, the highway act that creates all of these roads
in the mid 1950s. but in h terms of their effect on the urban and suburban sta landscape, we should not forget about that. think about the size, gravity effect of these highways. this is from los angeles, the i-10 and 110 exchange. the just shows you the immense nature of these highways that are helping to funnel people out of cities into the suburbs. but still allowing them access. and where these highways were built inside the city or on the periphery was often determined by the political will of a certain community how well off and affluent a community was, and often times the racial makeup where highways often cut through neighborhoods bill filled with people of color.
that happened down the street even here in harrison burg. this is a photograph of east gay street. a neighborhood known as newtown filled with many african-americans and harrisonberg, no the of course a huge city but still a city begins to think about suburban nicing the city, making it more car friendly, widening the roads creating retail shopping sending tere centers. if you want to know how beautiful this place looks today, it's this wonderful parking lot and shopping center that nobody goes to. it's kind of ugly. but there are these suburbanization elements that creep into the city. and represent nents are still felt today every time the city considers a project.
the people always go to city council to voice their concern about loss of parking. le there's a great concern. ho wuj of one of the things that these highways do is enable sprawl. which is unplanned scattered bits of the city that are spread across. and los angeles is probably the most famous example. you can see in the very distance is downtown la and all of this low density housing and commercial distributes leading towards los angeles. in reality, la is more dense than many other places. but you still get the idea. perhaps even a more striking example from nevada. a sub division created in the middle of the desert. where do these people go grocery shopping? where do they work? where do they play? they have to drive everywhere. and it's completely separate.
and of course, to think about the environmental consequences of this is obvious. so there were a number by the time we get to the 60s, a lot of these critiques of suburbia had blossomed enough that a number of innovators were trying to do something different and created a cities of new town like reston, virginia and you are -- jamsrous who was particular concerned about sprawl between baltimore and washington. he create the the city of columbia in between these two cities because he was afraid that the current housing in these dots represented where people were living as sprawling from the city. the these dots would eventually swallow columbia, that everything in between would be an ugly sprawling unplanned
mess. so he took this opportunity to buy 14,000 acres of land which was then pretty rural, from farmers in small tracts and milking cows and picnic lunches and decides he's going to section off this place to create a new kind of suburb. one that explicitly deals with the limitations, the problems of existing suburbs. and he secretly buys all this land and eventually comes to the public that he's going to create this new city. and a lot of people were happy to hear that because there were rumors being spread someone was buying all the land to create a garbage jump for all of baltimore and washington's trash. the so people thought this was perhaps a better idea. so this guy, his idea was to create a new city from scratch, and the symbol of this new city
is this tree, a people tree. and he had this kind of corny phrase that he wanted to create a garden to grow people. what are the ingredients of the soil in what do you need to create the best kind of community to create the best kind of people? and his solution was to break down the city into smaller bits. you can see that on this plan here. the idea was to have a town center, some kind of downtown, but to have a series of nine villages. that people felt more comfortable in small town america, and you could -- the suburb could be a kind of hybrid of small town america with the villages and oern little main street, shopping center, but also have a kind of bustling downtown with industry, with commerce, with an urban pulse. and he's thinking about existing
problems with suburbs that are bedroom communities where only people live and he wants to counter that with industry and commerce. he's thinking about suburbs that are all white and goes to great lengths to create a much more diverse community. many, many other kinds of examples that we'll see in a moment. and each of these villages, the blue dots represented a town center, where the community could supposedly come together. so the first village, this was a rendering of what it might look like was known as wild lake. the and you can see a number about of kind of trademark elements here. the one, there was a lake. and the idea that suburb was going to respect nature instead of run over it. it was also broken down into several smaller neighborhoods, each of which had its own
elementary school. the understanding was that school was at the center of community. and that each of these neighborhoods would coalesce around a particular school. this set of buildings here says churches, but in reality they created what they called instead interfaith centers where they actually forbade churches, synagogues and mosques from being created but instead had these interfaith centers where christia christians, jews, muslims and others would worship under the same roof to hopefully promote a sense of community. and understanding. along the same lines, in each of these villages there was a community pool. but people weren't allowed to have their own pool. so they'd be forced to go swim with other people. they couldn't have fences. nobody had their own mailbox. instead there were community
mailboxes. so you had to get out into the street and see your neighbors and think about this sense of community. in a very real way. and some interesting smaller details you can see. falkner ridge, named the communities and the streets after american poets and writers as a way to try to instill creativity and foster a sense of intellectualism. klu columbia was created in this time of cars but hope it woontsd be as auto centric. he planned -- they're hard to see but all of that ez shaded lines which are bike paths that link the schools to the people and community to community. that he imagined would foster another way of moving around this kind of new city. again, in antitheses to the
existing suburbs and that you will a of this would combine with the kind of downtown center that would really provide the center of activity, the center of culture and the excitement. but instead of building a traditional downtown with a series of intersecting streets, and restaurants and public kind of facilities, in downtown columbia, which was a relatively new concept at the time, the downtown became a essentially a mall, built in 1971, the columbia mall was only the 16th mall in the country. they called it a gal ler reya at the time. but it became emblematic of what new suburbs were going to look like. where commerce was going to be insulated in in these kind of strange structures, the mall, which of course on the one hand, is very auto centric, you can
see the mall surrounded by a moat of parking spaces. and this makes it, of course inaccessible for people who don't have cars and helps control the kind of people who shop there. the but the malls are kind of like suburbs themselves. they are's supposed to be this mix of urban -- you can see here the space frame geometry on the roof of the mall. signals this kind of urban geometric grid. there are brick pavers that make it feel like an outdoor plaza. there are shadows coming in. they're little vendors, key osk and stuff where people sell you mon grammed sweatshirts or whatever orb or cell phone plans. street lights. there's always birds in these places, i don't know if they put
them there or they just get in. but birds. you can kind of feel like you're outside. but, they're not really like a city. because they have these -- imported in this case, fiek cuss trees from florida. there are the natural elements like the water fall and trees but everything is planned and controlled. there's private security. the there are no homeless people. no graph feetty, no bars or pornography shops. not really urban spaces but a very purified notion of what an urban space might be. we're going to talk more about malls as the center urban culture in the 1980s eventually. but, the mall becomes the kind of of course downtown of columbia, at the expense of everything else. and what happens in columbia after this in the 70s and 80s,
ends up being mimicked in many other places. the it remains much more racially inclusive than many other suburbs but it has become many of its pre gressive elements, the things we're trying to be less suburban like have gradually moved to become more suburban like. people are building their own pools, instead of going to the community pool. erecting fences. the bike path that i showed you earlier, the person on the bicycle was my mom. whoi who live the there. the i was standing on the bike path waiting to take a photograph of somebody walking or riding their bike but nobody came and everybody drives even if they live a mail or half mile from the shopping center. everybody drives so i asked my mom to stage the photograph. and she kindly did. but people are in the sechbs of community, hasn't really panned
out so much. the interfaith centers, some of the churches communities moved to the fringes of the cities one of the large ers h.est if not the lanchest synagogue decided it didn't want to share spaces. build outside the town. people are private. even my parents who live there, who are very friendly, nice people, their kbliends blinds a drawn. even in the front just have these drapes that are permanent so you can't see out and people can't see in. i was talking to one neighbor recently who lived there for 30 years said he only knew the name of one person on his entire block. some of these things didn't pan out quite the way that he had in es saerl he hoped as columbia has become more private, corporate tised and even had
some more sprawl. we don't really have time to discuss the development in the last couple of decades, diversification of the suburbs, polit sisization of the suburban vote, rise of mcmansions, gating private communities and all this kind of change that's been happening in suburban development. the but we can sort of return back to our engagement photo at the half developed cul-de-sac here. to think maybe we still decry suburbs as mediocre or lame or boring, but we still very much live in a suburban nation, more than half of americans describe themselves as suburban. and suburbs are changing, malls, strip malls, big box retailers are begins to suffer with the rise of e-commerce. maybe we'll have self-driving
cars. who knows? suburbs will surely change as they have before. but they remain interesting places to study. so, add deose. >> american history tv is in prime time all week with our original series, lectures in history focusing on college and university classroom the around the country. tonight we take a look at the civil war including a lecture on cultural heritage and confederate monuments. begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> labor day weekend on american history tv on c-span 3, at 8:00 p.m. eastern, saturday, on lectures in history, fears about overpopulation. the. >> some of the issues talked about at earth day.
pesticides, was a big one. the pollution was a big one. non renewable resources. the things like oil, and gasoli gasoline. but the super big one, the thing that really overshadowed that first earth day was the prospect of global famine due to ov overpopulation of the earth. >> sunday, on the presidency. the friendship between presidents hoover and truman. >> it is easy to overlook the fact that they both had roots in farming communities, he this thad known economic hardship and self-reliance, they were transformed by the conflagration of world war i. the and they lived in the shadow of franklin dmt rose dealt. >> monday, the 1967 detroit rye yoets. >> we refer to think about it like a rebellion because all of the energy and anger and
activism that went into that moment had long been predicted. people had been begging for some remedy for the housing discrimination, police brutality, economic discrimination and so that frustration cannot be understood as just chaotic and incoherent. it was a rebellion. >> three-day labor day weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. >> working with our cable partners, the c-span cities tour takes american history tv on the road to explore the history of selected american cities. next, we are featuring pennsylvania's state capitol, harrisburg. >> this is our third state capital here. the first one was built from 1819 to 1822 and burned in 1897. the second one