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eBook The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Studies in Environment and History) ePub

eBook The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Studies in Environment and History) ePub

by Adam Rome

  • ISBN: 0521804906
  • Category: Humanities
  • Subcategory: Other
  • Author: Adam Rome
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 23, 2001)
  • Pages: 332
  • ePub book: 1285 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1558 kb
  • Other: lrf docx azw doc
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Votes: 363

Description

Series: Studies in Environment and History. Rome also tells us about the early attempts at solar energy homes in the 1950s and elaborates on the efforts of electric companies to encourage electrical use, selling homes with electrical heat instead of natural gas or oil.

Series: Studies in Environment and History. Rome also tells us that electric power companies used creative incentives to encourage the selection of electric over gas heat.

Электронная книга "The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism", Adam Rome. Эту книгу можно прочитать в Google Play Книгах на компьютере, а также на устройствах Android и iOS. Выделяйте текст, добавляйте закладки и делайте заметки, скачав книгу "The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism" для чтения в офлайн-режиме.

Rome begins his history with a social and economic analysis of the origins of modern American suburbia. It is too easy to flatten history and say that the postwar suburban build up went uncontested and only in the 1970s onward did Americans look back with some degree of remorse and regret. Focusing on the innovations of Levittown, he shows that the goal of affordable housing was not just sought after by consumers, but by the government as well. In reality, the migration to suburbs and the rise of the environmental movement came about together as critiques about the former shaped the latter.

Rome also discusses the impact of Nixon’s National Environmental Policy Act (1970) and the rise of land-use regulation at the state level.

New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Rome also discusses the impact of Nixon’s National Environmental Policy Act (1970) and the rise of land-use regulation at the state level.

Adam Rome's Bulldozer in the Countryside examines the environmental impact of. .He retired in 1999 as professor emeritus of geography, history, and American studies

Adam Rome's Bulldozer in the Countryside examines the environmental impact of the growth of suburbia in post-World War II America Читать весь отзыв. He retired in 1999 as professor emeritus of geography, history, and American studies. He was considered the father of environmental history. He incorporated studies of biology, ecology, geography, and other sciences in his efforts to chronicle and understand human events. Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. 1. A Spinster for a Spy: Book 1: Lily - Clean Regency Romance (A Duke’s Daughters: The Elbury Bouquet).

Adam Ward Rome is an American environmental historian

Adam Ward Rome is an American environmental historian. In his book Bulldozer in the Countryside, he examines how the post World War II residential construction boom and its resulting urban sprawl contributed to the rise of the modern environmental movement. Rome graduated from Yale University summa cum laude, studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and earned his P. from the University of Kansas. By: Adam Rome(Author). 320 pages, illustrations

Series: Studies in Environment and History. 320 pages, illustrations. For scholars and students of American history, The Bulldozer in the Countryside offers a compelling new insight into two of the great stories of modern times – the mass migration to the suburbs and the rise of the environmental movement. The Bulldozer in the Countryside also offers a valuable historical perspective for participants in contemporary debates about the alternatives to sprawl.

December 2002 · The Journal of American History. Nicholas Dagen Bloom.

Article in The Journal of Environment & Development 11(1):110-112 · March 2002 with 13 Reads. How we measure 'reads'. December 2002 · The Journal of American History.

The Bulldozer in the Countryside is the first scholarly history of efforts to reduce the environmental costs of suburban development in the United States. The book offers a new account of two of the most important historical events in the period since World War II--the mass migration to the suburbs and the rise of the environmental movement. This work offers a valuable historical perspective for scholars, professionals, and citizens interested in the issue of suburban sprawl.

Comments

Rasmus Rasmus
Book Review: The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism. By Adam Rome. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Pp 299. ISBN 978-0-521-80490-5)
Adam Rome provides us with a unique history of post war America, one which examines the boom in housing development and its impact on the environment. Veterans of World War II returned to a country that was experiencing a tidal wave of economic activity. The depression and war years over, America emerged as the world's foremost economic power. The previous decades had thwarted real estate development and Americans faced a severe housing shortage. Many Americans found themselves forced to live with relatives, or worse. Salvaged buses, garages, and even chicken coops, became "homes" for some. The shortage was exacerbated by the proliferation of marriages and rapidly expanding families.
Entrepreneurs and real estate developers found opportunity in this supply-demand imbalance. Soon American ingenuity retooled from a war driven economy to the mass production of housing developments. William Levitt, best known among many of these entrepreneurs, and his "Levittown" developments, exemplified mass production applied to home building. Levitt and other developers quickly found they could cheaply acquire thousands of acres of vacant land, bulldoze and reshape the terrain, and rapidly manufacture cookie-cutter homes. Utilizing prefabricated materials and a workforce that operated much like Henry Ford's Model T production line, these developers could complete a new house every day. Home buyers seemed pleased with the typical Levittown price of $7,995, and thanks to the new GI Bill, veterans could get a long term mortgage with little or no down payment.
Although Rome's book is an environmental history of the post war period, it is an economic history too. Developers generally bought large tracts of cheap farm land and other open land outside the boundaries of the big cities. Many new home owners soon became two car families. They equipped their houses with the latest appliances. A new trend of consumerism arose, creating a boon for automobile manufacturers and electrical appliance makers. On the other hand, many developers found vertical integration enhanced their profits. Some acquired their own nail factories, lumber yards, and other supply companies, and thus increased their share of the profits. Overall, new home owners appeared content. The American landscape was dotted with suburban "Levittowns," and American enterprise had triumphed.
As Adam Rome's extensive examination into this story reveals, the solutions to America's housing shortage created severe environmental problems that took a few years to surface. The most compelling of these is shown where developers, using advanced heavy equipment like "the bulldozer" completely altered the natural terrain. These developers found it cost effective to simply level hundreds of acres, destroying existing foliage and blocking run off streams. Then they laid fresh concrete streets and foundation slabs. This yielded hundreds of postage stamp sized lots on which to build. Later they added a few small trees or bushes, and some sod or grass seed. Building around existing trees and streams was not as efficient or profitable.
The homes in nearly all of these subdivisions included septic tanks for waste disposal, not sewage system connections. Sewage systems would have increased the builders cost. While septic tanks had been widely used for centuries, they had never been deployed so densely and on such a massive scale. Moreover, natural rain water run off was artificially altered by the bulldozer method that eliminated nature's drainage systems and mature foliage. This combination was further complicated by a high failure rate of septic systems to adequately neutralize human waste. These combined factors became an early warning sign of problems created by the rapid growth and the poor planning of these new housing developments.
In some cases, the waste problem was worsened because many homes obtained their potable water from local wells instead of city or county water purification systems. Rome gives examples such as kitchen water taps dispensing drinking water containing non-biodegradable detergent soap suds, and home owners having to carry in fresh drinking water from outside the subdivision. The septic systems became a threat to natural aquifers, streams, and rivers, and hence threatened the health of human beings as well as other wildlife.
Rome also tells us about the early attempts at solar energy homes in the 1950s and elaborates on the efforts of electric companies to encourage electrical use, selling homes with electrical heat instead of natural gas or oil. In the post war years with low oil and natural gas prices, home buyers showed little interest for alternative fuels. Rome also tells us that electric power companies used creative incentives to encourage the selection of electric over gas heat.
The author tells us that by the 1960s local movements emerged that recognized the need for more planned developments and an interest in more "open spaces." Landscape architect and urban planner, Ian McHarg, felt that development should emanate from more "natural processes" and be limited to areas intrinsically suitable to a particular development. Rome intimates that developers resisted altering their methods, which would result in higher building costs and higher prices for home buyers.
Land use regulations had been universally a function of local and regional governments. Several federal government agencies, however, had issues concerning land use, particularly those related to farming, wildlife, and urban development. In 1970, President Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act into federal law. That same year Washington Senator Henry Jackson introduced the National Land Use Policy Act. The author contends that as land use regulations increased, especially at the national level, a "quiet revolution" emerged. The revolution was premised on the concept that what people or business enterprises did with their land was a liberty deeply-rooted in American culture. At the national level, Jackson's land use bill never passed, despite several years' effort and several votes in the U.S. Congress.
Rome characterizes the defeat of the national land use legislation as ideological, intimating a populist backlash against the federal government, because the law represented an attack on liberty, the American system of free enterprise, and threatened the "American way of life." But with that conclusion he lessens the impact the elite and big business may have played in defeating this bill at the federal level. Was national land reform defeated by those same folks in Vermont and Maine that Bosselman and Callies wrote about in The Quiet Revolution in Land referred to by the author? (227) The defeat of the federal bill for national influence over land use was more likely brought about by wealthy land owners and corporate interests in agribusiness, mining, property developers, and the like. The author's own words support the second conclusion: "The [U.S.] Chamber of Commerce also worked to stir up opposition at the grassroots. In a 1974 `action' letter sent to roughly 2,500 local and state affiliates...the organization stressed the economic threat to small property owners." (246) The point overlooked by Rome is that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is neither populist, nor a true grassroots organization. It is a lobby for big business. It is more likely that the bill was defeated because of several years of politicking and lobbying by elite and corporate interests, to the detriment of broader and reasonable national oversight of land use.
Adam Rome clearly states that he has limited the scope of his work to the 1945-1970 period. This is unfortunate because much has evolved in the thirty-one years from 1970 through the 2001 copyright date. The author even briefly hints at several points, and a likely reader who possesses some anecdotal knowledge feels left with an incomplete story. Moreover, the author completely neglected to mention any environmental issues resulting from the 1956 formation of the Interstate Highway System, which occurred during the period under study. Because of significant alterations of the natural terrain, disruption of wildlife habitats, and social changes brought about by the interstate highways, there would appear to be some parallels at least worth mentioning.
The narrow topic that Rome did cover, he covered well. The Bulldozer in the Countryside is exceptionally well documented with abundant primary and secondary sources that frequently include the author's insightful comments. The book is well organized and is written with excellent prose that makes Rome's story easy to follow.
Cia Cia
Anyone interested in environmental history will find this work an asset to his/her library. Well-researched and a steady read, it is understandable to students and historians.
Mora Mora
absolute masterful work of environmental history. Right next to Kenneth Jackson in terms of a must read.
Lilegha Lilegha
This is an excellent book, easily read by lay people. If you have any interest in urban planning (or lack thereof) of the past, present, and future, this book will be invaluable. I used it to write an article about housing in the 40s and it was one of the most insightful and helpful.
Welahza Welahza
Provides a detailed story line describing the development of environmental planning and land use planning.
Whitemaster Whitemaster
Informative about the development of our nation and some of the unfortunate placement of homes without regard to nature. Good read but even for a documentary could be a little more exciting.
Jaberini Jaberini
The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism. By Adam Rome. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2001. 299 pp. ISBN 0-521-80059-5. Call no. GE197. R66 2001.)
Adam Rome's book The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism introduced a new type of scholarly work into the field of American History called Urban Environmental History. This book won the 2002 OAH's Frederick Jackson Turner award and revised the view on consumer based environmentalism. Rome explains how consumers in the post WWII era actually, "intensified rather than diminished the human impact on the environment" by purchasing tract housing in the new suburbs (p. 13). His thesis is clearly stated in the title of the book; Suburban sprawl led to the rise of American environmentalism. Rome explains how the bulldozer destroying a local stand of trees down the block from Suzie-homemaker had more an impact on environmental activism than the debates of far away Western lands. He claims the need for local open spaces, clean water and various other public health concerns in suburban neighborhoods increased environmental activism in America.
The book runs in chronological order from around 1945 until just after the passing of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1970 by Richard Nixon's administration. According to reviewer James Jasper historians generally study rural or urban environmental issues, but Rome uncovers, "their interesting intersection," in a place called the suburbs (p. 1105). This new place was not urban; yet, it was not a rural setting either. The millions of WWII veterans sought affordable housing outside of the city slums and launched the suburban inundation. Rome explains how the industrial construction companies catered to their desires for "park-like" settings by naming their housing divisions after the "natural features" they bulldozed over (meadows, woods, and hills) (p.13). The true cost of destroying natural settings was not felt for many years, but Rome illustrates that these neighborhoods spur on environmental activism.
The first chapter in The Bulldozer explains the rise and progression of the suburbs, the first was Levittown, Pennsylvania. Rome explains how the "housing industry" used war time machinery and production line tactics to revolutionize the home building craft forever. No longer were the workers skilled at their trade, Levitt innovated the construction process into 26 different tasks. One crew of men worked on same job from house to house until the construction site became more like a factory setting (p.16). A consumer society emerged when the 6000 homes were completed; manufactures began marketing new appliances as the means to achieve the "world of tomorrow". Rome explains how the new products excited homeowners into purchasing a plethora of products resulted in a 60% increase in consumer spending and very little outcry for the environment (p. 42-43). The media only spoke of the benefits of postwar construction, never the ecological impact.
Chapter two discusses the impact of various new consumer items. Rome claims these consumers were enticed to buy houses that used air-conditioning and electric furnaces because the houses were cheaper. He states people's preferences' of shade trees and big screened in porches were pushed aside for the price of a treeless tract home (p.86). No longer did construction companies have to design houses with scores of windows or breeze ways; Rome asserts this is when construction styles changed forever. Consumers were not concerned with the high environmental impacts of energy use or the need for well insulated houses; with push button controls they could have the modern home in the world of tomorrow: today. (p.71-72)
Chapter three explains how septic tanks allowed builders to place their subdivisions farther away from the city (no public sewer lines were needed) and they were cheep to install (around $300). The author spells out a tale of unknowing consumers who could care less where their sewage goes, until the (sometimes completely unknown) septic tank failed and affected water supplies and destroyed backyards. With human welfare at stake the public debate of waste-disposal began. Septic tanks were deemed a family health hazard not an environmental one. Rome enlightens the reader on the mindset of consumers from 1950-1970 with the septic tank debate; "Though homeowners often complained about septic tank problems, the first call for regulation in many communities came from public health officials and urban planners," not consumers (p. 117). This fact is the key to Rome's argument; consumers at this point did not fear for the environmental costs or the health of plants and animal but the dangers of tract housing were becoming public debate on a larger scale.
Chapters four through seven cover the environmental changes and effects of the growing suburbs in the nation. Rome asserts three types of environment began to be appreciated. After many floods in the 1950s and landslides in mountainous areas in the 1960s, wetlands, hillsides, and floodplains were finally deemed not suitable for home construction (p. 154). Although these areas were eventually protected the argument did not come from consumers. Wetlands, floodplains, and hillsides were deemed important by people in the fields of, "geography, ecology, civil engineering, geology, hydrology, and landscape artists," (p.154). These professionals researched natural processes and reported that the postwar construction methods (aka suburban sprawl) would result in a loss of valuable wildlife and much needed ground cover. Rome discusses their work well and uses it as evidence against the consumer based environmental movement theory.
Rome speaks most highly of Ian McHarg, an architect and regional planner, who became the leading activist pushing for a wider use of ecological harmonious construction in the countryside. His award winning book Design With Nature (1969) according to Rome, for the first time asserted the dangers of suburban sprawl. Rome feels Mcharg influenced many people to rethink, "where not to build," (p 185-188). Rome feels this book was the beginning of the end for large suburbs and by 1970 many national regulations were in place to curb the environmental pollutions created by tract homes. I feel Adam Rome's The Bulldozer in the Countryside connects the mindset of postwar Americans to the larger picture of consumerism. He explains how the new homebuyers and homebuilders helped inspire the environmental movement but they themselves did not American environmentalism. Zachary M. Schrag in his review of Rome's book questions the uses of bulldozer in the title and states, "[Rome] does not fully layout the history of the bulldozer and its roll in suburbanization," (p. 803) My question to Dr. Schrag is, why would Rome discuss the history of the bulldozer in a book about the environmental movement? Clearly Schrag missed the goal of this wonderful book; the bulldozer is an infamous symbol representing the rape of environment, used to invoke a certain emotion in the reader. Rome had no need to memorialize the machine which brought about the destruction in the book.

[...]
Not many Environmenal Health Specialists like myself will probably ever read this book (or even the chapter 'Septic Tank Suburbia'), but they should. Sanitarians, the old term for health inspectors, have approved a crap-load of septic systems serving sprawl development in this nation, and in reading it, the old timers would quickly recognize their place in the undoing of the American environment. Regardless of their 'professional' title.

I was so impressed with the author's history of septic tank sprawl that I emailed him with thanks. I'm actually surprised no one else has reviewed this title on Amazon.

For recent American environmental history, this is one of the best.