Review by Choice Review
Rosen (California) analyzes the process of growth in 19th and early 20th century urban centers. Combining theory and narrative history, she focuses on major fires in Baltimore, Boston, and Chicago to explain why redevelopment lagged behind the need for environmental change as urban areas ballooned in the years following the Civil War. Continuous expansion of the nation's cities placed unending stress on the urban infrastructure. Streets, sewers, transportation networks, land use, and building patterns at any given time existed in an interrelationship that served as a barrier to change. Great fires, as Rosen details in her case studies, broke the equilibrium and made change possible. Even devastating conflagrations, however, did not produce the same type of change in each city or eliminate the need for redevelopment. The development of local power structure in combination with economic, technological, physical, and social conditions hampered urban renewal and, as a result, environmental needs not only remained pressing but often unmet. An important addition to the literature on the process of city growth. Upper-division undergraduates and above.-P. Melvin, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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