Bourgeois Utopias

Robert Fishman, Author Basic Books $19.95 (241p) ISBN 978-0-465-00748-6
In Shakespeare's London, calling someone a ""suburbanite'' was a serious insult, implying one lived on the city's disreputable outskirts. By contrast, today's American suburbanites are typically privileged commuters who have fled the inner city for a backyard and domestic privacy. Unknown to the premodern city where workplaces and residences were integrated, suburbia, as this searching study notes, is a middle-class invention. Fishman, a Rutgers professor of history, makes us keenly aware that modern, class-segregated suburbs represent a total transformation of urban values. Separate chapters cover Philadelphia's late 19th century suburbs and Los Angeles, the apex of the trend toward suburbia. Fishman is disturbed by the new perimeter cities or ``technoburbs,'' where industrial parks, shopping malls and telecommunications have supplanted face-to-face contact. (October 14)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-58877-3
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-465-00747-9
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