Welcome to the History of Urban America

The magnification of all the dimensions of life, writes Lewis Mumford, “through emotional communion, rational communication, technological mastery, and above all, dramatic representation, has been the supreme office of the city in history.” Mumford’s appraisal of the mission of the city can be debated, but the importance of the city to civilization, and certainly  American civilization, cannot be denied. This course traces the rise of the city in America from the colonial era to the present.It explores why Americans have huddled in concentrated settlements and the consequences of that huddling. Special attention will be given to the growth of the industrial city in the late nineteenth century, the rise of the modern metropolis of the twentieth century, and the challenges facing urban America in the twenty-first century.