The suburbanization of the inner city : urban housing and the pastoral ideal
Author(s)Ryan, Brent D., 1969-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Lawrence J. Vale.
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This dissertation examines the influence of vernacular suburban architectural and neighborhood design on new inner-city housing developments in Detroit, Michigan, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The central research hypothesis of the dissertation is that the widespread pastoral ideal of American culture is acting in concert with the weak land market of inner cities to produce a reshaping of these places in the image of the American vernacular suburb. I call this shift inner-city suburbanization. This dissertation offers a needed new perspective on the study of American urban revitalization. Most current debate concentrates on the alleviation of economic and social problems in inner cities, a focus which leaves the physical dimensions of the situation underexamined, while urban design theory advocates a different physical vision from that which many distressed urban neighborhoods are actually experiencing. The result has been a lacuna of academic research on the form of inner cities while significant decisions are being made in the world of practice. This dissertation attempts to bring these two worlds closer together. The dissertation begins with an introduction that frames the central research questions of the study. It continues with a review of the role of the suburb, the inner city, and of low-income housing in the history of American urbanism in Chapter Two.(cont.) Chapter Three provides operational definitions of vernacular suburbia and of the process of inner-city suburbanization to produce a suburbanization index. In Chapter Four case cities are selected and case neighborhoods are selected within these cities. The index is then applied to new developments in the case cities to produce a portrait of the inner-city suburbanization process there. Chapter Five investigates the causality of inner-city suburbanization by examining the histories of three developments in each city in more detail. Chapter Six concludes by discussing the significance of the phenomenon, the dilemmas that it raises for design and planning professionals, and the prospects for future research. The study includes two appendices with additional data.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2002.MIT Institute Archives hard copy of thesis missing p. 192-197.Pages 153 and 189 are foldouts, printed as leaves.Includes bibliographical references (p. 385-406).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.