Based on her extensive experience in the urban communities of Los Angeles, historian and architect Dolores Hayden proposes new perspectives on gender, race, and ethnicity to broaden the practice of public history and public art, enlarge urban preservation, and reorient the writing of urban history to spatial struggles.
Long before Betty Friedan wrote about "the problem that had no name" in The Feminine Mystique, a group of American feminists whose leaders included Melusina Fay Peirce, Mary Livermore, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman campaigned against women's isolation in the home and confinement to domestic life as the basic cause of their unequal position in society.
From the time of its discovery, the new world was regarded by American settlers as a new Eden and a new Jerusalem. Although individual pioneers' visions of paradise were inevitably corrupted by reality, some determined ideatists carved out enclaves in order to develop collective models of what they believed to be more perfect societies. All such communitarian groups consciously attempted to express their social ideals in their buildings and landscapes; invariably, ideological predispositions can be inferred from a close study of the environments they created.