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Remaking the HeartlandMiddle America since the 1950s$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691146119

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691146119.001.0001

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From Towns to Sprawling Suburbs

From Towns to Sprawling Suburbs

(p.214) Seven From Towns to Sprawling Suburbs
Remaking the Heartland

Robert Wuthnow

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the growth of sprawling suburbs and exurbs around the Middle West's largest cities. Housing developments on the outskirts of Wichita, Omaha, St. Louis, and a few other cities became increasingly common during World War II and in the 1950s as the farm population declined. As the farm population dwindled, people fleeing the region entirely or gravitating to Dallas and Houston (where new jobs were more abundant) became a more likely scenario. The chapter explains how this reshuffling led to the emptying of farms and small towns and also to the rise of new centers of population, not in the cities but adjacent to them. It also considers how edge cities have become an important feature of social life in the Middle West. It shows that edge cities were not only communities of housing developments and shopping malls, but also the location of the region's growing industrial sector.

Keywords:   suburbs, exurbs, Middle West, housing developments, farms, small towns, edge cities, social life, shopping malls, industrial sector

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