Greenbelt, Maryland : a living legacy of the New Deal /
Cathy D. Knepper.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
xvii, 275 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
0801864909 (alk. paper)
More Details
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
0801864909 (alk. paper)
general note
"Published in cooperation with the Center for American Places, Harrisonburg, Virginia and Santa Fe, New Mexico"--[Prelim. p. iii].
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [261]-264) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Cathy D. Knepper has written extensively on the New Deal and works for Amnesty International
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-04-01:
Modern garden (or planned) cities have their origins in England with Ebenezer Howard's work in the early 20th century. A generation later, as a New Deal experimental initiative, four garden cities appeared in the US, including Greenbelt, Maryland. Organized on cooperative principles under the Resettlement Administration, it provided housing for those with limited incomes. Before its complete development, however, WW II intervened and the government added defense housing, which doubled the population. Then the Cold War made any sort of cooperative activity suspicious. When the federal government sold Greenbelt, the community survived yet another crisis, and the cooperative environment continues today, albeit in a modified fashion. While the history of planned communities in the US is fascinating, Knepper's book is not. It is a reasonable local history but fails to catch the spirit created by the experimental environment, and the author fails to place Greenbelt in the history of planned communities. Most readers would do better with Joseph Arnold's The New Deal in the Suburbs (CH, Jan'72) or Zane Miller's Suburb (1981). D. R. Jamieson Ashland University
Review Quotes
"[Greenbelt, Maryland] is a good story, and a refreshing change from today's capitalist-saturated public policies." -- Planning
"The book is... as unique as its subject." -- J. Brooks Flippen, Material Culture
"This is an important study, not only because it highlights a landmark in American urban design, but because the approach raises questions as to how we have chosen to evaluate British new communities in academic texts."--Brian Goodey, Rudi
"Through studies such as this, we can gain at least some sense of how certain communities, carefully planned and well launched, have continued to thrive in the face of serious problems."--Joseph L. Arnold, Maryland Historical Magazine
"As the first full-scale assessment of one of the nation's foremost planned communities, this book is unique. More importantly, it examines the ideological changes that have occurred in Greenbelt up to the present -- a very important issue in light of its atypical origins as a New Deal community. Combining archival materials with contemporary interviews gives the subject a sense of immediacy that many historical interpretations lack."--Arnold R. Alanen, University of Wisconsin-Madison
"As unique as its subject." -- J. Brooks Flippen, Material Culture
"[Cathy D. Knepper] illuminates what few other planning scholars touch, namely, the inner workings of the community. Greenbelt, Maryland should help historians and practitioners better understand how planning was able to fashion and sustain that elusive trait commonly referred to as community."--Christopher Silver, Journal of American History
"Cathy Knepper presents a compelling view of one of this country's greatest experiences in creating a community."--Hazel Ruth Edwards, APA Journal
"Finely illustrated and detailed in its analysis." -- Joshua Olsen, H-DC, H-Net Reviews
"Greenbelt is a very important part of twentieth-century urban history. Knepper's work is an excellent documentation of that history, well illustrated with both maps and photographs."--Dean Sinclair, Historical Geography
"As the first in-depth analysis of one of the nation's planned towns, the book... provides a comprehensive account of the origin of Greenbelt as a planned community... Knepper deserves praise for effectively combining history and ethnography in her work, a rather difficult methodological approach."--James C. Saku, The Professional Geographer
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
Built in the 1930s on worn-out tobacco land between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the planned community of Greenbelt, Maryland, was designed to provide homes for low-income families as well as jobs for its builders. In keeping with the spirit of the New Deal, the physical design of the town contributed to cooperation among its residents, and the government further encouraged cooperation by helping residents form business cooperatives and social organizations. In Greenbelt, Maryland, Cathy D. Knepper offers the first comprehensive look at this important social experiment. Knepper describes the origins of Greenbelt, the ideology of its founders, and their struggle to create a cooperative planned community in the capitalist United States. She tells how the town, saved at one point by the intervention of Eleanor Roosevelt, struggled through the McCarthy years, when it was branded "socialistic" and even "communistic." In conclusion, she provides a timely analysis of those qualities that not only helped the town survive but also served as the model for currents in urban development that have once again come into vogue in such movements as the new urbanism and traditional neighborhood development.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Maps of Greenbeltp. 3
Greenbelt's Founding
Building a Planned Communityp. 13
Creating a Cooperative Communityp. 40
Change and Continuity
The War Yearsp. 61
The Government versus Greenbeltp. 79
Threats to Greenbelt's Plan and Cooperation
Developers versus Greenbeltp. 121
Overcoming Difficulties in Cooperationp. 161
A Town for the Ages
The Persistence of the Greenbelt Ideap. 181
Greenbelt Today and Tomorrowp. 209
Appendixp. 243
Notesp. 245
Bibliographical Essayp. 261
Indexp. 267
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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