This first full-scale history of the development of the American suburb examines how “the good life” in America came to be equated with the a home of one’s own . Crabgrass Frontier is the first book to trace the growth of suburbs in America from their origins in the ‘s–in Brooklyn Heights opposite Manhattan–until the. JOHN O’LOUGHLIN. CRABGRASS FRONTIER: The Suburbanization of the United States. By. KENNETH T. JACKSON. x and pp.; maps, diagrs., ills., index.

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An integral part of this craggrass required transportation technology and Jackson describes how the emergence of the omnibus in New York City inthe ferry service inand the commuter steam railroad in first helped move people away from the city by opening up options for residential areas away wuburbanization congested city centers, yet connected to jobs via public transportation systems.

Oct 02, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: Jackson placed much of the blame for the racialized nature of America’s suburbs squarely on the shoulders of the Federal Government.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States by Kenneth T. Jackson

These suburbs resisted annexation by the cities, so that more and more suburbs formed. He argues that suburbs, though they differ in actual racial and class composition, they came to mean a place fronhier normal American identity, where all could buy into homeownership and self suffiency, displacing the city as where the middle to affluent classes resided.

Considered a foundational book in the study of the US suburbs, it really lays out the historical development of suburbs in the United States. Anyone who has flirted with the subject of housing in 20th century America will probably be familiar with some of Jackson’s points on fgontier effect o the automobile on the city and other similar observations, but this book should definitely be held superior for its simple delivery of dynamic insights. Despite the breadth of coverage, however, Crabgrass Frontier is an overall unsatisfying read.

Further, Jackson compares the American experience in cities, and later, in the areas surrounding to European counterparts to illustrate the singularity of the American experience. Each section of the book might be understood as a moment in which Jackson picks up a piece of the puzzle and attempts to find its approximate place on the endless landscape of American history. The building of an efficient network of roads, highways and superhighways, and the underwriting of mortgages for suburban one-family homes, had an enormous influence on the pace of suburbanization.


My only problem with the book was the scattered way in which it organized its information.

This first full-scale history of the development of the American suburb examines how -the good life- in America came to be equated with the a home of one’s own surrounded by a grassy yard and located far from the urban workplace. Cookie-cutter suburbs financed by government-backed VA mortgages again revealed the bias towards new construction in the suburbs for middle class rather than for housing projects to restore declining city centers or support the needs of lower income population.

Jackson presents a second compelling argument in that the development of suburbs reflected cultural norms about the role of the family and home as places of status and domesticity. Trivia About Crabgrass Frontie The nature, the comfort, etc. But all in all it is definitely worth the read. This was a world view in which the lower class and non-whites had no place.

The House and the Yard 4. I learnt a lot about my adoptive country and how this sort of suburbanisation was somewhat unique here compared to other countries.

Intended to spur housing construction after the Great DepressionPresident Roosevelt ‘s Federal Housing Administration established minimum standards for home construction [23] and low down-payment amounts, and home loans amortized for the full-term of 20 to 30 years. Integrating social history with economic and architectural analysis, and taking into account such factors as the availability of cheap land, inexpensive building methods, and rapid transportation, Kenneth Jackson chronicles the phenomenal growth of the American suburb from the middle of the 19th century to the present day.

Reasons for the wealthy leaving were varied, but a desire to get away from the city’s “problems” — the noise of industry and the presence of common working folk — ranked high. Jackson’s approach is very well balanced–refraining from the temptation of holding any single issue responsible for the suburbanization truly unique to the United States in terms of scale, the first half of the book covers the early days of the nineteenth century.

We still love to shutter into our homes, maybe more so now that modern conveniences make leaving less necessary.


A long history of a process that has been at work since the early 19th century, Jackson’s work helps us understand the different actors, values, and policies that turned a view of the suburbs as slums into an embrace of the suburbs as crabgrwss. Just a gut-wrenching episode that I wouldn’t wish on any one. Things change in reaction to new external stimuli all the time.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States

However, due to the energy inefficiency of the suburb, Jackson believed that the “long process of suburbanization, which has been operative in the United States since aboutwill slow over the next two decades and that a new kind of spatial equilibrium will result early in the next century.

This book of about three hundred pages is organized in a largely chronological fashion as the author wishes to tell the narrative of America’s suburbanization from a predictably and lamentably negative perspective. Jackson argues that the U.

The author has managed to d This book is a fascinating social history of America covering years – s to s.

Jackson considers such intriguing questions as why transportation technology changed the shape of American cities more than European ones, why the family room and the television set replaced the stoop and the street as the focus of social interaction, how the evolution of the garage reflected increasing affection for the automobile, rcabgrass federal housing programs undermined inner city neighborhoods, and how government policies insured the collapse of the nation’s once superb mass transit system.

Jan 18, May added it Shelves: Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

The cities became seen as dangerous, crime-infested areas, while the suburbs were seen as safe places to live and raise a family, leading to a social trend known in some parts of the world as white flight. Subheadings identify the topic of each piece, which Jackson has ordered as they best fit, rather than part of a cohesive perspective of suburbanization.

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