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History 3361: The American City

Spring 2007

9:30-10:45 a.m. Humanities 458

Course Objectives:

1. To gain a better understanding of how American cities developed by focusing on city planning, environmental issues, economic rivalry, cultural trends and attitudes, local government, and urban problems, including urban sprawl.

2. To examine the role and contributions of the city in relation to major themes in American history.

3. To see the American city in its regional, national and international contexts.

Required Paperbacks:

Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1985)

William S. Riordon, Honest Graft: The World of George Washington Plunkitt

Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream (1999)

Jan. 16 Introduction


Jan. 18 The Colonial City

Jan. 23 Colonial Town Planning and Architecture Cities in the American Revolution

Read: Introduction and Ch. 1 in Crabgrass Frontier

Jan. 25 Town Rivalry: Early National Cities on the Eastern Seaboard

Jan. 30 Town Promotion on the Frontier

Feb. 1 Town Rivalry in the Ohio River Valley, Great Lakes & in the Twin Cities

Feb. 6 Town Rivalry in Duluth and on the Iron Range

19th Century Attitudes Towards the City

Read: Jackson, Ch. 3

Feb. 8 Impact of Mass Transit and Urban Services

Early Environmental Issues

Read: Jackson, Ch. 2, 5, and 6 in The Human Tradition

Feb. 13 European Origins of American Suburbs

Late 19th Century Suburbs

Video “Suburbs: Arcadia for Everyone” VC 4251

Feb. 15 Esthetic Developments:

Cemeteries and Parks

The "City Beautiful" Movement

Read: Ch. 4 in Jackson

Feb. 20 Exam on lectures, Jackson (Ch. 1-6) - 100 points

Feb. 22 Factory Towns: British Precedents and the Industrial city

Company Towns - 19th Century and early 20th Century

Video: Pullman: Palace Cars and Paradise (VC 612)

Read: Ch. 8 in Jackson

Feb. 27 The Chicago School of Architecture

Early 20th Century Suburbs

Read: Ch. 7 & 9 in Jackson

Mar. 1 Ghettoes:

Immigrant and Ethnic

African American

Mar. 6 Poverty and Social Control

Settlement Houses and Social Reform

Mar. 8 Upward Mobility and Opportunity

The Church in the City

Mar. 13 & 15 Have a great break!

Mar. 20 Boss Politics - Gilded Age

Progressive Era Corruption and Reform

Read: Plunkitt (all chapters)

Mar. 22 Boss Politics-Post-World War II

Video: Daley: The Last Boss

Mar. 27 Exam on lectures since 1st exam, Plunkitt (all chapters), and Jackson (Ch. 7-9), - 100 pts

Mar. 29 Video: “New Deal/New York”

Apr. 3 The Great Depression

Mayors in the Great Depression and World War II

Read: Ch. 11 & 12 in Jackson

Apr. 5 Social Class and Urban Neighborhoods

Low-Income Housing

Turn in your topic for a panel on an aspect of Duluth (paper and presentation - 50 pts)

Apr. 10 International Trends in Town Planning-The Garden City

Inter-War Suburbs

Read: Ch. 10 in Jackson

Apr. 12 Post-War Suburbs

From the Garden City to New Towns

Read: Ch. 13 & 14 in Jackson

Meet with panel members

Apr. 17 Urban Renewal and Recent Affordable Housing Programs

The War on Poverty and Its Aftermath

Gentrification and other Recent Trends

Apr. 19 Sunbelt Cities, Retirement Communities, and the Rust Belt

Video: Robson Communities: Passport to America

Urban Minorities Since World War II

Apr. 24 Panel presentations

Apr. 26 Panel presentations

May 1 The “New Urbanism” and “smart growth”

Video: America the Ugly: Searching for a Better Way to Live (VC 3624)

Read: Ch. 15 in Jackson and Duany (all chapters)

May 3 Frank Lloyd Wright and 20th Century Architecture

Anti-urbanism and urban symbolism in the 20th century

Read: Ch. 16 in Jackson

Panel presentation papers due

Assessment of Recent Trends, including the “New Urbanism”

May 8 10:00-11:55 Final on lectures since 2nd exam; Jackson (Ch. 10-16), and Duany (all chapters) (Ch. 10-13) - 100 pts

Instructor: Judith Ann Trolander

Office: 257 ABAH (726-8271)


Office Hours: 11:00-1:45 Tues. and Thurs. and by appointment

Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to perform in this class are encouraged to inform the instructor at the start of the quarter. Adaptation of methods, materials, or testing may be made as required to provide for equitable participation.

Grades will be based on exams and the Urban Issues assignment. Total possible points are 370. To earn a C-, you must have 185 total points. Grades will be curved above that number, with the curve based on previous exams. To pass, you must earn a minimum of 123 points. A make-up exam session will be held towards the end of the semester for anyone who misses an exam. No make-ups earlier.

The website for this course is at:

Also check your email for course information and updates.

History 1305
History 2357
History 3361
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Perspectives on Current and Past Urban Issues in Minnesota
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota - Duluth.

Last date modified January 18, 2007

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