Metropolitan Corridor (John R. Stilgoe) pdf, epub, doc

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In John R. Stilgoe’s Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene, Stilgoe uses fiction, photography, advertisements, magazines, trade journals, and other source material to discuss the “metropolitan corridor,” or railroad line landscapes and architecture, from 1880-1935. Stilgoe argues that this is a fourth type of landscape that cannot be labeled as purely rural, urban, or suburban. Overall, Stilgoe shows that the trains and their right-of-ways and adjacent “factory complexes, electricity generating stations, and commuter suburbs” transformed the American built environment by simultaneously de-centralizing traditional urban spaces and connecting formerly rural places. The book explores the different types of buildings popularized by railroads and trains and discusses their practical and cultural developments and positions in society.

Beginning with an overview introduction and chronological explanation, Stilgoe organizes his book into mostly one-word landscape structures and themes that he discusses individually with a general chronological flow within each chapter. Not only does he explore the architecture of the train system, but he also discusses the technological varieties among luxury Pullman cars, coach cars, streetcars, and trolley cars as well as particular landscape features.

Stilgoe identifies the tension and confused ambivalence by Americans in response to “improved” landscapes of travel that are simultaneously praised by some for their efficiency and condemned by others for the inevitable change that consequently destroys old ways of living. First, a look at how they were positively viewed. Stilgoe reveals primarily through fiction and toy advertisements that trains had a widely acknowledged romantic and nostalgic pride in American hearts by the turn of the century. Train engineers were idolized as American heroes by young boys and men alike and both men and women enjoyed books and movies set on and around trains. Though less of a focus on economic causation than Liebs’ approach, Stilgoe also addresses some of the financial incentives and factors that Americans championed in adopting railroad transportation.But as is common to landscapes of repetition and quick economic success, criticism soon followed in the wake, which brings up the negative dimensions of environmental change. Not all Americans responded to their respective environmental transformations with glee. In the pursuit of efficiency and uniformity, supportive transportation architecture became standardized. As Stilgoe points out, local communities “worried that ‘their’ Main Street would look like so many others” and rob them of their unique look, culture, and sense of space.

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Yale University Press
  • File: 2 Mb
  • Release: 01.09.1985
  • ISBN: 9780300034813
  • Pages 398
  • Rating: 4.1 (29 votes)


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