Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture After 1940

John M. Findlay, Author University of California Press $50 (394p) ISBN 978-0-520-07703-4
The four planned cityscapes examined in Findlay's arresting study had an impact on urban design and architecture across the United States. Disneyland, with its theme-park concept, influenced shopping malls, Main Streets and historic districts. Stanford Industrial Park in Palo Alto, Calif., a research center which became ``downtown'' for Silicon Valley, blended elements of the suburbs and the campus into an unprecedented site for industry. The retirement community of Sun City, Ariz.--outside Phoenix and tailored to its affluent members' tastes and needs--demonstrated how to keep the city at bay. The Seattle Center, a civic complex built on the site of the 1962 World's Fair, brought suburbia to the central city. These and other ``magic kingdoms'' were designed to insulate people from urban chaos, yet paradoxically, argues Findlay, they reinforced social divisions, increased environmental problems and accentuated urban sprawl. This provocative study rethinks the meaning of urbanization in the American West. Findlay is associate professor of history at the University of Washington. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 394 pages - 978-0-520-08435-3
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