Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950

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Yale University Press, 2003 - History - 492 pages
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Written by one of this country's foremost urban historians, Downtown is the first history of what was once viewed as the heart of the American city. It tells the fascinating story of how downtown--and the way Americans thought about downtown--changed over time. By showing how businessmen and property owners worked to promote the well-being of downtown, even at the expense of other parts of the city, it also gives a riveting account of spatial politics in urban America.
Drawing on a wide array of contemporary sources, Robert M. Fogelson brings downtown to life, first as the business district, then as the central business district, and finally as just another business district. His book vividly recreates the long-forgotten battles over subways and skyscrapers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And it provides a fresh, often startling perspective on elevated highways, parking bans, urban redevelopment, and other controversial issues. This groundbreaking book will be a revelation to scholars, city planners, policymakers, and general readers interested in American cities and American history.
 

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Downtown: its rise and fall, 1880-1950

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One of the nation's leading urban historians, Fogelson (urban studies, MIT; The Fragmented Metropolis: Los Angeles, 1850-1930) examines the history of the American city center, from a position of ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Downtown in the Late Nineteenth Century
9
The Politics of Rapid Transit
44
The Battle over Height Limits
112
Downtown in the 1920s
183
Downtown During the Great Depression and World War II
218
Downtown and the Automotive Revolution
249
Downtown and the Origins of Urban Redevelopment
317
8 Just Another Business District? Downtown in the Mid Twentieth Century
381
Epilogue
395
Notes
399
Acknowledgments
475
Index
477
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About the author (2003)

Robert M. Fogelson is professor of urban studies and history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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