Since the 1920s, the United States has seen a dramatic reversal in living patterns, with a majority of Americans now residing in suburbs. This mass emigration from cities is one of the most fundamental social and geographical transformations in recent US history. Suburbanization has not only produced a distinct physical environment-it has become a major defining force in the construction of twentieth-century American culture. Employing over 200 primary sources, illustrations, and critical essays, The Suburb Reader documents the rise of North American suburbanization from the 1700s through the present day. Through thematically organized chapters it explores multiple facets of suburbia's creation and addresses its indelible impact on the shaping of gender and family ideologies, politics, race relations, technology, design, and public policy. Becky Nicolaides' and Andrew Wiese's concise commentaries introduce the selections and contextualize the major themes of each chapter.
Distinctive in its integration of multiple perspectives on the evolution of the suburban landscape, The Suburb Reader pays particular attention to the long, complex experiences of African Americans, immigrants, and working people in suburbia. Encompassing an impressive breadth of chronology and themes, The Suburb Reader is a landmark collection of the best works on the rise of this modern social phenomenon.
Becky Nicolaides is Associate Professor of History and Urban Studies and Planning at the University of California, San Diego. Andrew Wiese is Professor of History at San Diego State University.