City Dreams, Country Schemes
Community and Identity in the American West
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Nevada Press
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This collection of thirteen chapters by noted historians explores how new approaches to urban and rural development influenced the creation of community and identity in the twentieth-century American West. Each chapter considers how a specific western locale drew upon earlier utopian traditions to fashion new communities that purposely blurred the boundaries between urban and rural spaces. In so doing,..
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In Looking Backward (1888), Edward Bellamy tells the story of a man who falls asleep in 1887, awakens in 2000, and discovers a United States where goods are equitably distributed and capital is commonly owned. Steeped in socialist theory, his utopian vision critiqued industrial capitalism and argued that better alternatives existed.1 Looking Backward was part...
The Wishful West
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Thus in the beginning all the world was America.” John Locke’s statement from his Second Treatise of Government (1690) exemplifies the pervasive European and Anglo-American perception of the New World, and especially its western reaches, as a tabula rasa. Not knowing what the West in fact contained, Europeans and Anglo-Americans have often been disposed to imagine the best-possible scenarios for this blank slate. So first...
Part I: The Metropolitan Retreat to the Eco-Urban
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In the twentieth century community development in the West was often a synthetic response aimed at balancing residents’ desires for culturally rich urban living, stable community life, and access to nature. In Irvine, California, as Stephanie Kolberg explains, planners rejected the chaotic sprawl that defined Greater Los Angeles. Inspired by Ebenezer Howard’s garden-city model, Irvine’s...
Crafting the Good Life in Irvine, California
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Amid the seemingly undifferentiated post–World War II sprawl of Southern California, a private company put forth plans for a brave new city, plans that aimed to foster a heightened sense of community through “village life” and through the integrated presence of nature. The new city would provide a respite...
Open-Space Politics in Boulder, Colorado
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For many decades, residents of Boulder, Colorado, tried to balance two competing visions for their city. The town’s founders believed that Boulder had to grow—both economically and in population—to be a viable community capable of competing with other regional towns and cities. At the same time, many...
Wilderburbs and Rocky Mountain Development
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Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, Park City, Utah’s prosperity has always been firmly linked to its rich natural resources. Over the past century, Park City’s environment shaped two major transitions in the town’s development. The city began as a mining boomtown, creating vast fortunes from its ore-rich mountains. After mining declined and almost disappeared...
Middle-Class Migration and rural Gentrification in Western Montana
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A newcomer to Missoula made an interesting observation about her neighbors and, in doing so, captured a profound change in community in western Montana. She noted, “Yeah, they moved from Billings, but they were in Chicago before that. And those people are from Florida and Texas. They’re from...
Part II: Tourism, Memory, and Western Urban Identities
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By the late nineteenth century, cities were the dominant organizers of community and environment. “No environment,” writes Philip Dreyfus, “could really escape the grasp of an increasingly dominant urban civilization.”1 Certainly, this was true of Napa County, California, as well as...
Urbanity and Pastoralism in Napa Tourism
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Decked out in red, white, and blue bunting, the pavilion of the Napa County fairgrounds provided the setting in 1952 when the Napa Valley Vintners Association (NVA) greeted two thousand representatives of the General Electric (GE) Company. The event afforded the winemakers..
Family Travel, National Parks, and the Cold War West
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For Americans ready to tour the country after World War II, the West was the prime vacation destination. In 1949 those who responded to the Gallup Poll’s question asking what was the most desirable place to visit if one could go anywhere in the world (all expenses paid) listed California as their top choice, with Colorado second. Yellowstone National Park...
Public Art, Memory, and Mobility in 1920s New Mexico
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Longtime Santa Fe resident and archaeologist Jesse Nusbaum recalled the day Harry Truman arrived “at the corner of Shelby and San Francisco on the Plaza” bearing a gift for the city.
As the truck came to a stop, the Santa Fe group there to meet it immediately expressed refusal and loudly ordered the truck to move on. Someone...
Reclaiming Cannery Row's Industrial History
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John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel, Cannery Row, brought to life the Monterey, California, waterfront during the sardine industry’s heyday. Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the fish plants, Steinbeck’s characters live on the margins of society. Mack and the boys hang out under the black cypress tree, live in a fish-meal storage warehouse, and frequently stock...
Seattle's Pike Place Market
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Clinging to a hillside on the northwestern edge of downtown Seattle, the Pike Place Market has a carnival atmosphere. The smell of fresh seafood, ripe fruits and vegetables, a panoply of floral arrangements, and masses of humanity mingle with the sounds of fishmongers tossing salmon and yelling at passing crowds. Elderly...
Part III: From Cultural and Geographic Margins to Urban Centers
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By erecting legal, economic, and cultural barriers to the region’s expanding suburbs and exurbs, privileged westerners created homogenous communities based on class, race, gender, and lifestyle. These homogenous communities offered their carefully selected residents lifestyle amenities, social status, and a sense of security. 1 However...
The Making of San Francisco's Queer Urban Scene
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Utopian visions spark urban migrations, and San Francisco has long inspired fantasies of economic prosperity, racial harmony, and sexual liberation. Newcomers and travelers seeking pleasure or fulfillment have come to San Francisco to carve out new lives, and although some returned home frustrated that their fantasies had not materialized, others stayed and settled, transforming the landscape of San Francisco’s neighborhood communities. In...
San Francisco, Red Power, and the Emergence of an "Indian City"
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The urban environment of San Francisco encapsulated and inspired a unique utopian Intertribal vision of Tribal sovereignty. It was a vision that forged a new awareness of Native empowerment and independence during the late twentieth century. From the early 1920s San Francisco...
Gay Male Rural-Urban Migration in the American West
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“We’re not in Kansas anymore!” Many know this classic line from the 1939 motion picture The Wizard of Oz. Numbers of mid- and late-twentieth-century gay American men also readily recognized it; it resonated deeply in their lives, and for a number of reasons. For one, gay icon Judy Garland,...
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Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Urban West Series