City Dreams, Country Schemes
Community and Identity in the American West

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Editor: Kathleen A. Brosnan
Editor: Amy L. Scott

Format: Paper
Pages: 344
ISBN: 9780874178517
Published Date: 2013

The American West, from the beginning of Euro-American settlement, has been shaped by diverse ideas about how to utilize physical space and natural environments to create cohesive, sometimes exclusive community identities. When westerners developed their towns, they constructed spaces and cultural identities that reflected alternative understandings of modern urbanity. The essays in City Dreams, Country Schemes utilize an interdisciplinary approach to explore the ways that westerners conceptualized, built, and inhabited urban, suburban, and exurban spaces in the twentieth century.

The contributors examine such topics as the attractions of open space and rural gentrification in shaping urban development; the role of tourism in developing national parks, historical sites, and California's Napa Valley; and the roles of public art, gender, and ethnicity in shaping urban centers. City Dreams, Country Schemes reveals the values and expectations that have shaped the West and the lives of the people who inhabit it.

Author Bio

Kathleen A. Brosnan is associate dean for faculty and research in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston.

Amy L. Scott is assistant professor of history at Bradley University.


"These essays have much to teach us about some of the dramatic changes that have transformed the American West over the past decades." -- Char Miller, editor of Cities and Nature in the American West

"An extraordinary collection of engaging and innovative essays that explores how developers, city planners, civic boosters, 'cultural elites' and ordinary residents reimagined the city in the trans-Mississippi United States, this volume should quickly join the required reading lists of any serious urban studies program." Southwestern Historical Quarterly, October 2012, vol. 116, no. 2

"City Dreams, Country Schemes excels in offering readers thoughtful perspectives on how westerners have imagined themselves and the landscapes they have lived in. . . . Attending carefully to the intersection of nature and culture, [it] succeeds in its effort to broaden and deepen our understanding of community and identity in the modern West." New Mexico Historical Review, Summer 2013