Dive deep into Kenneth T. Jackson’s Crabgrass Frontier with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion. CRABGRASS. FRONTIER. /1’1. The Suburbanization of the United States. Kenneth 1: Jackson. New York. Oxford. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. -~. Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, In Crabgrass Frontier, Kenneth T.

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Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States

Jackson intends his broad analysis to serve as a cautionary generalization of the suburban story, warning readers that it is impossible to detail the distinctions found in each suburb within the space allotted, but arguing that there are “essential similarities in American suburbanization” 6.

Sep 27, Matthew Rohn rated it really liked it. Finally, Jackson noted other sociological changes in American culture that had come to make the contemporary situation more complicated. Encouraged by the emergence of new cities of wartime production and government assistance for veterans, increasing numbers of Americans could afford to buy homes. New transportation tech made cities grow, and then enabled commutes to the cities, so that separate municipalities — the suburbs we know today — formed.

Read this way, Jackson asks some important questions about why the suburbs developed the way they did and he looks at those factors for some high level cause and effect, this is not to say he ignores the details or that he does not do analysis, instead I found the sub headings to be helpful. Where he does allow for some personal opinion in the end portionshe argues that it is not about creating an us against them mentality. Offering a broad interpretation and synthesis that combines intellectual, architectural, urban, and transportation histories with public policy analysis within an international context, Kenneth Jackson explains how “suburbia has become the quintessential physical achievement of the United States” 4.

Crabgrass Frontier

In Crabgrass Frontier, Kenneth Jackson chronicles urban flight and the making of the ‘burbs, establishing that Americans have an historic cultural distaste for cities, inherited through England, and have been trying to have the best of both worlds, city and country, at least since the end of the 18th century.

Econ Journal Watch 5 1 pp. One downside I would note though is, in terms of it’s evaluation of the modern landscape, the section that analyizes and acknowledges the shifting positive trends towards a redeveloping of the suburban mindset and a resurgence of downtown revitalization across North America is rather brief. His comparison with Europe are helpful but I wish he made more as well as more to Asian cities he only mentions Japan a few times.


Suburbanization, and the social interests that caused suburbanization to become a social problem, was playing out nearly everywhere, even if it took a distinct shape in America which is probably more noted in the inability for America to tackle the problem today with the same attention as some of those places across the great pond.

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States – Kenneth T. Jackson – Google Books

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. After the second world war, the federal government provided cheap and standardized loans to returning servicemen, which were served by the model of the Levittowns. Annexation efforts by American cities had largely diminished in the later half of the century, yet in India it remained a central aspect cragbrass urban growth. Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

HistoryUrban Planning.

Open Preview See a Problem? Jackson is working at a time when social history and American Studies were dueling for the hand of new approaches to the past and I believe that this work is using urban history to read the suburbs.

Jackson argues that before and the industrial revolutionevery major city was a “point” on a map that could be walked from edge to center in two or three hours. Extensively researched and referenced, the book takes into account factors that promoted suburbanization such as the availability of cheap land, construction methods, and transportation, as well as federal subsidies for highways and suburban housing. Given the massive growth of affordable dwellings accessible by the highway and train, families flocked to planned towns such as Levittown where all the details such as schools and public works were already in place so that builders could erect as many as thirty homes a day to meet demand.

It is really interesting looking at the street names and lack of organization often used in suburbs to give a sense of a country lane. The narrator have good change in tone and reads at a normal rate. Instead, true to the authors proclamation in the forward; the book is a presentation of a VERY generalized history of suburbia in america.

What makes the book so important is that it shows how all the things we take for granted and assume are ordinary and natural are actually the result of strenuous effort and policy choices based on values which could in fact be very selfish. The downside to the HOLC was the appraisal and rating system that stigmatized and racialized valuations of neighborhoods based on density, ethnic or racial composition, or age of structures.

Despite the breadth of coverage, however, Crabgrass Frontier is an overall unsatisfying read. It is immensely well researched, marshaling a wealth of information that I found jaw-dropping at times.


The upper classes lived within walking distance of work and cultural activities, while the poor laborers lived in the suburbs, or the rough edges of town. Oct 02, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: Other marked differences emerge. There comes a comment about the ghettoization of public housing that resulted because of a laudable unwillingness to make property rights insecure to put public housing in areas where its residents were not wanted 12a look at the baby boom and the age of the subdivision 13the drive-in culture of contemporary America 14some whining about the loss of community in metropolitan American 15and some stunningly false prophecies about the revitalization of the hipster urban ideal and the end of suburbs This was not the beginning of sprawl, however: Jul 21, Nicky rated it liked it.

Suburbs crabyrass existed as a concept in England since the sixteenth cragbrass. After that the author talks about the transportation revolution and the erosion of the walking city of high densities 2and the vision of house and yard that encouraged early developers of the peripheries of cities 3. Tropics of Meta We are legion.

The central problem of surburbanization was not the suburbs themselves, but rather the human tendency to ignore the social implications that such divides could create.

Want to Read Currently Reading Jjackson. While it wasn’t necessary for it to recount history chronologically it is an analysis, rather than a jackdon book, after allit was compiled as though it were a series of essays written at different times for different purposes and audiences, meaning that it doubled over information several times or made references to things that wouldn’t be explained until later, etc.

Considered a foundational book in the study of the US suburbs, it really lays out This is a book I read for dissertation research.

Since I’ve lived in foreign towns and cities for 5 years, I’ve seen some of these issues already, but the book made them crystal-clear. I normally try to keep the more dissertation-y grad school books off of my Goodreads, on the assumption that people aren’t interested ffrontier them. He provides statistical analysis for financial reasons to move further from jobs and psychological and social reasons for moving away from city congestion to create residential retreats.