Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880–1950

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2001 - Social Science - 516 pages
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Winner of a Lewis Mumford Prize: “Extremely engaging reading for those interested in the history of cities and urban experience.” —Booklist

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 anyone interested in American cities and American history.

“A thorough and accomplished history.” —The Washington Post Book World

"Superlative . . . a vital contribution to the study of American life.” —Publishers Weekly

“A superbly thorough analysis of the causes of inner-city blight, congestion, and economic decline in mid-20th century urban America.” —Library Journal

Includes photographs

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User Review  - jonerthon - LibraryThing

The author claimed in the foreword of this title that someone had to take on the project of chronicling how large urban downtowns came to be, but I'm not sure I agree. He also began with the personal ... Read full review

Downtown: its rise and fall, 1880-1950

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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

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