Cultural History
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Cultural History
The roots of culture; history and pre-history.
Curated by Deanna Dahlsad
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Rescooped by Deanna Dahlsad from Human Interest!

Slate - How the Suburbs Got Poor

Slate - How the Suburbs Got Poor | Cultural History |

Before we can understand what makes some suburbs so miserable, we first have to understand what makes others succeed. The most successful suburban neighborhoods fall into two categories. First, there are the dense and walkable ones that, like the most successful urban neighborhoods, have town centers that give local residents easy access to retail and employment opportunities. These neighborhoods generally include a mix of single-family homes and apartment buildings, which allows for different kinds of families and adults at different stages of life to share in the same local amenities. The problem with these urban suburbs, as Christopher Leinberger recounts in his 2009 book The Option of Urbanism, is that there are so few of them, and this scarcity fuels the same kind of gentrification that is driving poor people out of successful cities.


The other model for success can be found in sprawling suburban neighborhoods dominated by households with either the time or the resources to maintain single-family homes and to engage in civic life. As a general rule, the neighborhoods in this latter category don’t allow for apartment buildings or townhomes on small lots. They implement stringent local land-use regulations that keep them exclusive, and they attract families that tenaciously defend the character of their neighborhoods.

Via Mathijs Booden, Jukka Melaranta
Mamie Davis's comment, September 13, 2014 3:18 AM
I really do think you desire as an adult what you grew up with as a child, especially if happy memories are associated with it. I grew up in a large house with a one acre yard of green grass, flowers, garden, garage, shed. We could see our neighbor's houses but they were far away enough that we didn't feel claustraphobic is we out in our yards at the same time. My parents also put up little shrubs around our yard to add to the feeling of privacy. However my friend from Spain, who I imagined lived in a house with a yard too for an entire year prior to visiting his family, lives in a flat in an apartment building. It is completely normal to him to live in a place like that your whole life. When I asked him where he went to be outside, relax and enjoy the sunshine he said they went to the street or the neighborhood center. He said only rich people lived in houses and had yards in places where you have little contact with neighbors. What I am saying is that we desire what we had as children, that the economics of our parents time and allowed them to get the place they have made an impression on us and our expectation about our future.
Rob Duke's comment, September 13, 2014 4:02 PM
Yes, I'd agree as humans, we have a sense of place and we like what feels familiar. I've also found that public places are better when truly public. Alleys and underpasses; or those little pocket parks are not nearly as safe as laces that feel like they have "eye" (windows and door where people might be looking). As a chief, I attended planning sessions and insisted on a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) planning approach. Thus, pockete parks became little "P" shaped culdesacs where the homes all faced the grass patch in the middle (narrow streets with parking only allowed on one side kept speeds low. Sinking the park area can also keep balls from bouncing into the street and serves as a temporary storm drainage retention pond). I'm still not convinced that even a well-designed neighborhood won't eventually become tarnished. In some ways, there's a life cycle where things become run-down for a time and then get rediscovered by a new generation of young families. Having said that I think watching the store to ensure there's a good jobs/housing mix and good design will help neighborhoods maintain their appeal.
Scooped by Deanna Dahlsad!

Body Snatchers of Old New York

Body Snatchers of Old New York | Cultural History |

There was a lot to be afraid of in New York after the Revolutionary War. Burned buildings loomed out of dark, crooked streets, which met at strange angles. Fights broke out in the taverns, while thieves lurked in the shadows. Families huddled in shantytowns constructed out of ships’ canvasses, while garbage piled high on the corners. The city watch was nothing more than forty men with clubs.

Besides the thieves and the brawls, people feared the medical students. The young men in black suits who studied at Columbia College and New York Hospital did as their teachers from England and Scotland had done: they learned anatomy by dissecting bodies stolen from the local cemeteries. In London and Edinburgh, a quasi-professional class of grave-robbers known as the “Resurrection Men” dug fresh corpses from the cemeteries of the poor and brought them to the medical school. In eighteenth-century New York, the medical students robbed the graves themselves, sneaking into cemeteries on cold, moonless nights and carrying wooden shovels to avoid the loud scrape of metal on stone.

But the bodies on the dissecting tables in New York often had a different hue than the bodies in Europe.

Deanna Dahlsad's insight:

African - American slaves still serving after death.

Deanna Dahlsad's curator insight, December 2, 2013 5:27 PM

African - American slaves still serving after death.

Deanna Dahlsad's curator insight, December 2, 2013 5:27 PM

African - American slaves still serving after death.

Curated by Deanna Dahlsad
An opinionated woman obsessed with objects, entertained by ephemera, intrigued by researching, fascinated by culture & addicted to writing. The wind says my name; doesn't put an @ in front of it, so maybe you don't notice.
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