Cties – AEAS精读 (Y10-12)

Throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, citizens of the United States maintained a bias against big cities. Most lived on farms and in small towns and believed cities to be centers of corruption, crime, poverty, and moral degradation. Their distrust was caused, in part, by a national ideology that proclaimed farming the greatest occupation and rural living superior to urban living. This attitude prevailed even as the number of urban dwellers increased and cities became an essential feature of the national landscape. Gradually, economic reality overcame ideology. Thousands abandoned the precarious life on the farm for more secure and better paying jobs in the city. But when these people migrated from the countryside, they carried their fears and suspicious with them. These new urbanities, already convinced that cities were overwhelmed with great problems, eagerly embraced the progressive reforms that promised to bring order out of the chaos of the city.

One of many reforms came in the area of public utilities. Water and sewerage systems were usually operated by municipal governments, but the gas and electric networks were privately owned. Reformers feared that the privately owned utility companies would charge exorbitant rates for these essential services and deliver them only to people who could afford them. Some city and state governments responded by regulating the utility companies, but a number of cities began to supply these services themselves. Proponents of these reforms argued that public ownership and regulation would insure widespread access to these utilities and guarantee a fair price.

While some reforms focused on government and public behavior, others looked at the cities as a whole. Civic leaders, convinced that physical environment influenced human behavior, argued that cities should develop master plans to guide their future growth and development. City planning was nothing new, but the rapid industrialization and urban growth of the late nineteenth century took place without any consideration for order. Urban renewal in the twentieth century followed several courses. Some cities introduced plans to completely rebuild the city core. Most other cities contented themselves with zoning plans for regulating future growth. Certain parts of town were restricted to residential use, while others were set aside for industrial or commercial development.

从十九世纪到二十世纪,美国公民对大城市一直抱有偏见。大多数人生活在农场和小城镇,他们认为城市是腐败、犯罪、贫困和道德堕落的中心。他们的不信任在一定程度上是由一种民族意识形态造成的,这种意识形态宣称农业是最大的职业,农村生活优于城市生活。即使城市居民人数增加,城市成为国家景观的一个基本特征,这种态度仍然盛行。渐渐地,经济现实战胜了意识形态。成千上万的人放弃了农场里不稳定的生活,到城里去找更安全、薪水更高的工作。但是当这些人从农村迁移过来的时候,他们带着恐惧和怀疑。这些新城市已经确信,城市面临着巨大的问题,它们急切地接受了承诺让混乱的城市恢复秩序的渐进式改革。

公共事业领域是许多改革之一。供水和排水系统通常由市政府管理,但煤气和电力网络则由私人拥有。改革者们担心私营公用事业公司会对这些基本服务收取过高的费用,并且只向那些负担得起的人提供这些服务。一些城市和州政府对此做出了回应,对公用事业公司进行了监管,但许多城市开始自行提供这些服务。这些改革的支持者辩称,公有制和监管将确保这些公用事业得到广泛使用,并确保价格公平。

一些改革着眼于政府和公众行为,而另一些则着眼于城市整体。城市领导人相信自然环境影响人类行为,他们认为城市应该制定总体规划来指导未来的增长和发展。城市规划并不是什么新鲜事,但是十九世纪后期的快速工业化和城市发展却没有考虑到秩序。二十世纪的城市更新经历了几个过程。一些城市提出了彻底重建城市核心的计划。大多数其他城市满足于分区计划,以规范未来的增长。城镇的某些部分被限制为住宅用地,而其他部分则被预留用于工业或商业发展。