Creeping Conformity: How Canada Became Suburban, 1900-1960
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Published: June 2004© 2004
160 Pages, 5.53 x 8.49 x 0.59 in
Creeping Conformity, the first history of suburbanization in Canada, provides a geographical perspective – both physical and social – on Canada's suburban past. Shaped by internal and external migration, decentralization of employment, and increased use of the streetcar and then the automobile, the rise of the suburb held great social promise, reflecting the aspirations of Canadian families for more domestic space and home ownership.
After 1945 however, the suburbs became stereotyped as generic, physically standardized, and socially conformist places. By 1960, they had grown further away – physically and culturally – from their respective parent cities, and brought unanticipated social and environmental consequences. Government intervention also played a key role, encouraging mortgage indebtedness, amortization, and building and subdivision regulations to become the suburban norm. Suburban homes became less affordable and more standardized, and for the first time, Canadian commentators began to speak disdainfully of 'the suburbs,' or simply 'suburbia.' Creeping Conformity traces how these perceptions emerged to reflect a new suburban reality.
Creeping Conformity is a little gem. It is one of those rare books by an academic that is both easy to read and leaves you wanting more.Susan Schiller, Focus on Municipal Assessment and Taxation
'A major contribution to North American urban history, Creeping Conformity analyses the transformation of Canada's suburbs between 1900 and 1960. Everyone with an interest in class, gender, and metropolitan building patterns should read this remarkable book.'Dolores Hayden, Professor of Architecture, Urbanism, and American Studies, Yale University
'Provocative, informative, and insightful, Creeping Conformity is a landmark study in urban history and a major contribution to our understanding of the evolution of the suburbs.'Larry S. Bourne, Professor of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto