Housing the North American City
Doucet and Weaver begin this empirical, analytical, and narrative study with an analysis of the evolution of land development as an enterprise and continue with an examination of house design and construction practices, the development of the apartment building, and an account of class and age as they relate to housing tenure. They also relate developments in Hamilton to the current state of urban historiography, using their case study to resolve discrepancies and contradictions in the literature. Among the major themes the authors deal with is a controversial exploration of what they see as a central North American urge: the desire to own a home. Other themes include the social allocation of urban space, the quality and affordability of housing, the increased interest of large corporations in the land development and financial service industries, and a comparative analysis of housing in Canada and the United States. The authors have drawn on civic and business records dating from the early nineteenth century to the latest planning data. Combining this information with their comprehensive analysis, Doucet and Weaver show that current housing problems and potential solutions are better understood when seen as part of a historical process. They provide a critical assessment of the ways in which contemporary society produces shelter and question the use of technical innovations alone to resolve housing crises.
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