Chapter Outline

I. Urbanization

Discussion Questions

1. How does doing urban environmental history differ from doing the history of an ecological region (such as the Great Plains or New England)? Does urban environmental history require a different definition of "environment"?

2. How do you define pollution? Does pollution take on different meanings at different times in history? What particular forms of pollution were of concern to city dwellers at the turn of the century?

3. Describe the different forms of urban pollution in the early twentieth century. What kinds of wastes historically were generated by cities? What kinds of technologies were used by engineers to combat waste problems? Were they effective? Why or why not?

4. What non-technological solutions to the problem of urban pollution were promoted by reformers? Were these approaches effective? How did they in turn generate other problems?

5. Consider the role of women in urban reform movements. What kinds of women participated in reform movements? What were their concerns? What roles did they play in cleaning up urban areas and why did they take on these activities?

6. How did people of different ethnic and racial origins experience and use the urban environment? What are the differential effects of urban pollution on different ethnic groups? What roles have ethnic minorities and poor people played in environmental reform? What roles do they play today?

7. What are the historical roots of the "not in my backyard syndrome" (NIMBY)? What examples can you draw from the readings? What are the effects of this syndrome? How have target neighborhoods attempted to combat this problem and with what results? What techniques might you suggest to help such neighborhoods?