Book Review: The New Urban America: Growth and Politics in Sunbelt Cities Public Deposited

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  • Rand, Lanier
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of City and Regional Planning
  • In the second half of the seventies, national publications developed the concept of an increasingly significant and distinct region termed the "sunbelt." Using various geographical definitions, writers have discussed the Sunbelt's culture, politics, and rapid growth, usually in contrast to the relative decline in the formerly dominant North and industrial heartland. These discussions have focused on national issues, including sectional conflicts over federal resources, and changes in national political and cultural trends instigated by newly influential Sunbelt vanguards. The aggressive rising of the South into the consciousness of the nation has occasioned tomes of descriptive and speculative analysis in a variety of disciplines... "Southern fried chic," as one long-time student of the region describes it. In The New Urban America, Carl Abbott examines the physical and political development of rapidly growing middle-size and major cities in the Sunbelt. He defines the Sunbelt as "a pair of regions oriented toward the southeastern and southwestern corners of the United States that have shared similarities of economic development and demographic change since the 1940s." He first describes these similarities in the context of regional shifts in national growth, a fairly standard and predictable, though proficient, treatment of trends now well established. The main issues of the book then emerge: how has the experience of rapid population growth in Sunbelt cities affected their local politics? And, what are the added implications of changing patterns of land use and development within metropolitan areas? Here Abbott's work is much more provocative and the strengths of his arguments pull the earlier descriptions into context.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Journal Item
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Journal title
  • Carolina Planning Journal
Journal volume
  • 7
Journal issue
  • 2
Page start
  • 48
Page end
  • 49
  • English
Digital collection
  • Carolina Planning Journal
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