Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It

Downtown America transcends the archetypal story of downtown's rise and fall and offers a dynamic new story of urban development in the United States. Moving beyond conventional narratives, Alison Isenberg shows-that downtown's trajectory was not dictated by inevitable free market forces or natural life-and-death cycles. Instead it was the product of human actors - the contested creation of retailers, developers, government, leaders, architects, and planners, as well as political activists, consumers, civic clubs, real estate appraisers, and even postcard artists. Throughout the twentieth century, conflicts over downtown's mundane conditions - what it should look like and who should walk its streets - pointed to fundamental disagreements over American values.