Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture After 1940

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Univ of California Press, 1992 - History - 394 pages
The American West conjures up images of pastoral tranquility and wide open spaces, but by 1970 the Far West was the most urbanized section of the country. Exploring four intriguing cityscapes—Disneyland, Stanford Industrial Park, Sun City, and the 1962 Seattle World's Fair—John Findlay shows how each created a sense of cohesion and sustained people's belief in their superior urban environment. This first book-length study of the urban West after 1940 argues that Westerners deliberately tried to build cities that differed radically from their eastern counterparts.

In 1954, Walt Disney began building the world's first theme park, using Hollywood's movie-making techniques. The creators of Stanford Industrial Park were more hesitant in their approach to a conceptually organized environment, but by the mid-1960s the Park was the nation's prototypical "research park" and the intellectual downtown for the high-technology region that became Silicon Valley.

In 1960, on the outskirts of Phoenix, Del E. Webb built Sun City, the largest, most influential retirement community in the United States. Another innovative cityscape arose from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair and provided a futuristic, somewhat fanciful vision of modern life.

These four became "magic lands" that provided an antidote to the apparent chaos of their respective urban milieus. Exemplars of a new lifestyle, they are landmarks on the changing cultural landscape of postwar America.
 

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New York and Chicago may have traditionally been the architectural meccas of the United States, but don't discount the American West as a prime example of urban architecture in the 20th century ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION l
1
Figure
15
People and Cities in Motion
23
FIGURES
28
Cities out of Control
33
Chaos Community and Culture
44
The Happiest Place on Earth
52
Harbor Freeway Los Angeles 1964
60
Lakeview community center Sun City 1970
188
Advertisement for Sun City 1969
191
The Retirees Community Becomes
193
Sun City
204
Seattle after Worlds Fair construction 1962
217
33
223
Fairgrounds site Seattle 1961
224
Seattle from Harbor Island 1961
225

A Controlled Western Environment
64
Managing
78
Disneyland in the Customers Mind
88
Disneyland and Southern California
95
A Disney World
105
Downtown for Silicon Valley
117
Stanford University and vicinity 1953
126
A Suburban Campus for Industry
129
HewlettPackard headquarters Stanford Industrial Park 1987
131
Courtyard HewlettPackard headquarters
139
26
140
From Garden of the World
143
Mountain View and vicinity 1950
148
Mountain View and vicinity 1975
149
Urban Order in Silicon Valley
150
New Town for Old Folks
160
Entrance to Sun City
162
29
163
The Beginning
171
Construction of Sun City 1959
175
Advertisement for Sun City 1960
180
From Retirement Community
181
Montecello model house Sun City 1960
184
Durango model house Sun City 1968
185
Sun City and vicinity 1969
187
Warren neighborhood Seattle 1957
226
An American Temple of Science
228
Friendship 7 spacecraft on display Worlds Fair 1962
233
United States Science Exhibit Worlds Fair
236
Suburbia at Century 21
239
The Future According to 1962
245
General Motors Firebird III on display Worlds Fair
247
Bubbleator for World of Tomorrow exhibit Worlds Fair
250
Century 21 logo
253
Century 21s Legacy to Seattle
256
Western Cityscapes and American Culture
265
Aerial view of San Jose 1955
275
Constructing Meaning in
277
45
279
Building a Legible City
284
Century City Los Angeles under construction 1963
287
Newport Center Orange County 1968
288
Los Angeles area 1970
290
A Sense of Place
295
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
305
59
315
108
326
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY
377
INDEX
387
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

John M. Findlay is Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington and the author of People of Chance: Gambling in American Society from Jamestown to Las Vegas (1986).

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