A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes
- Winner, 2014 Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Book Award, given by the Society of Architectural Historians
- 2011 American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Architecture & Urban Planning, presented by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers
336 pp., 8 x 9 in, 47 color photos, 2 color illus., 42 b&w photos, 1 b&w illus, 2 line drawings, 17 maps, 1 chart
- Published: September 16, 2011
- Published: February 14, 2014
How business appropriated the pastoral landscape, as seen in the corporate campus, the corporate estate, and the office park.
By the end of the twentieth century, America's suburbs contained more office space than its central cities. Many of these corporate workplaces were surrounded, somewhat incongruously, by verdant vistas of broad lawns and leafy trees. In Pastoral Capitalism, Louise Mozingo describes the evolution of these central (but often ignored) features of postwar urbanism in the context of the modern capitalist enterprise.
These new suburban corporate landscapes emerged from a historical moment when corporations reconceived their management structures, the city decentralized and dispersed into low-density, auto-dependent peripheries, and the pastoral—in the form of leafy residential suburbs—triumphed as an American ideal. Greenness, writes Mozingo, was associated with goodness, and pastoral capitalism appropriated the suburb's aesthetics and moral code. Like the lawn-proud suburban homeowner, corporations understood a pastoral landscape's capacity to communicate identity, status, and right-mindedness.
Mozingo distinguishes among three forms of corporate landscapes—the corporate campus, the corporate estate, and the office park—and examines suburban corporate landscapes built and inhabited by such companies as Bell Labs, General Motors, Deere & Company, and Microsoft. She also considers the globalization of pastoral capitalism in Europe and the developing world including Singapore, India, and China. Mozingo argues that, even as it is proliferating, pastoral capitalism needs redesign, as do many of our metropolitan forms, for pressing social, cultural, political, and environmental reasons. Future transformations are impossible, however, unless we understand the past. Pastoral Capitalism offers an indispensible chapter in urban history, examining not only the design of corporate landscapes but also the economic, social, and cultural models that determined their form.
The corporate campuses, estates, and office parks that are the focus of this study have become a significant component of the American landscape since World War II. These white-collar business developments have been central in reshaping metropolitan settlement patterns and, with them, the nature of daily life for millions of people. Pastoral Capitalism is likely to be the major work on this subject—essential reading for historians of architecture, landscape, and urbanism and also important for many architects, landscape architects, and planners.
Richard W. Longstreth, Director of Historic Preservation and Professor of American Studies, George Washington University
Louise Mozingo offers us the first serious look at the largest and most ambitious works of twentieth-century landscape architecture in the United States. If suburban bedroom communities represented 'white flight' from the city, suburban corporate campuses, estates, and office parks, visually appealing as they were, constituted a parallel middle-class flight from urban social diversity and the realities of industrial work. Pastoral Capitalism is the best of recent studies of the corporate landscape and an incisive history of the making of the contemporary American cultural landscape.
Dell Upton, Professor of Architectural History, UCLA
This book represents the first full-scale scholarly study of a widespread phenomenon in the American built environment—the suburban office park or corporate campus. This will be a significant addition to the growing field of suburban history. The book will be of interest to design professionals, historians of American culture and the built environment, and historians of suburbia.
Amy Lyford, Professor of Art History and the Visual Arts, Occidental College, author of Surrealist Masculinities: Gender Anxiety and the Aesthetics of Post-World War I Reconstruction in France
Mozingo is no apologist for suburban corporate expansion, and in sketching out its history, builds to a conclusion not much different from many other critics of urban planning—that sprawling development has reinforced an unsustainable dependency on cars…Mozingo has provided a backstory to the business park that weaves together corporate history, academic-commercial collaboration, and design innovation to fill in an unfairly overlooked chapter in the modern geography of life and work.