Sam Bass Warner, Jr.

Sam Bass Warner, noted urban historian and Visiting Professor of Urban History at MIT, is the author of The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City and other books.

  • American Urban Form

    American Urban Form

    A Representative History

    Sam Bass Warner, Jr. and Andrew Whittemore

    An illustrated history of the American city's evolution from sparsely populated village to regional metropolis.

    American Urban Form—the spaces, places, and boundaries that define city life—has been evolving since the first settlements of colonial days. The changing patterns of houses, buildings, streets, parks, pipes and wires, wharves, railroads, highways, and airports reflect changing patterns of the social, political, and economic processes that shape the city. In this book, Sam Bass Warner and Andrew Whittemore map more than three hundred years of the American city through the evolution of urban form. They do this by offering an illustrated history of “the City”—a hypothetical city (constructed from the histories of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York) that exemplifies the American city's transformation from village to regional metropolis.

    In an engaging text accompanied by Whittemore's detailed, meticulous drawings, they chart the City's changes. Planning for the future of cities, they remind us, requires an understanding of the forces that shaped the city's past.

    • Hardcover $27.95
    • Paperback $20.00
  • Planning for a Nation of Cities

    Planning for a Nation of Cities

    Sam Bass Warner, Jr.

    In a series of short, to-the-point reports and policy papers, this group of researchers goes directly to the sprawling and tangled problems of the still largely unexplored urban world. With a mixed sense of crisis and confidence, the “nation of cities” emerging on this continent is tentatively and provisionally mapped out by such well-known trail-blazers in this field as Gunnar Mydral, Jean Gottmnn, and John Dyckman. Among others. They confront the challenge of the city at the level of current planning, local and national. They look beyond the (necessary) first experiments and immediate expedients of urban renewal and the antipoverty program to the eventual trillion-dollar transformations that at this point can be discussed only in an attitude of scholarly detachment.

    As John Dyckman points out, the interaction of cities (with their satellites and regional fields of influence) will constrict the possibilities of independent economic action on the part of any one city. The federal government will be forced to set the limits of intercity competition, contrary to the ingrained traditions of Chamber-of-Commerce boosterism, congressional pork-barreling, and self-interested industrial development.

    Beyond the difficulties, there are hopes: of providing full urban employment, not with make-work but with satisfying and fulfilling jobs; of financing the amenities of the city through a balance between subsidy and user support; of effecting integration (racial and regional) of the neighborhoods and schools through economic planning; of finally providing choice in urban life, beyond the restrictions of bare necessity.

    With the new federal programs, city and social workers are themselves undergoing a sort of on-the-job “retraining.” It is the authors' hope that this book will be used as the basis of work sessions by administrators, local planners, social workers, legislators, and active citizens. It does not “talk down” to an imaginary audience; these discussions originated with the contributors addressing each other – and since they represent such diverse specialties, they took care to be understood by one another and by all who are concerned with the realistic of the city.

    • Hardcover $10.00
    • Paperback $5.95


  • The Zone of Emergence, Second Edition

    Observations of the Lower Middle and Upper Working Class Communities of Boston, 1905-1914

    Robert A. Woods and Albert J. Kennedy

    One of a series of studies written by workers in Boston's settlement houses, The Zone of Emergence explores life in the city's residential and industrial communities—Roxbury, Dorchester, East Cambridge, and South Boston among others. During the years in which these papers were written—between 1905 and 1914—Robert Woods was the head worker in Boston's South End House and Albert Kennedy a South End-Harvard fellow and then, in 1911, the director of investigation for the House. The other workers concerned themselves with the ills of the very poor. Woods and Kennedy chose instead to study the rising-toward-middle class and its neighborhoods, where “the air is brighter, cleaner, and more vibrant; sunshine falls in floods rather than in narrow shafts.... It is hoped that these pages will show that from an economic, a political, and a cultural point of view, the districts immediately between the old city and the suburbs constitute a single sociological fact with a sharply defined significance and appeal.”

    Though the authors never abandoned this goal, the facts were not with them, and in their admittedly peripheral visions and solutions suggested only in passing, they have argued well for the widespread disillusionment with middle-class life which is so distinctly a development of the late 1960's. “The over-use of drink is the great fault of the zone,” they write, a fact they punctuate with the ratio of saloons to population; then, “Crime among children seems on the increase, and there is a spirit of lawlessness among the American-born children of immigrants which argues badly for the future.... There should be some means of making punishment to be feared and dreaded.”

    The authors, who went on to become the president and secretary, respectively, of the National Federation of Settlements, never published this work, neglecting even to complete preliminary prepublication editing. The war and its confusion were partially responsible for this. Yet Albert Kennedy, rereading the manuscript some forty years later, and Sam Bass Warner, Jr., in his extensive critical preface, suggest a further reason when they characterize the book as an attempt on the part of its youthful authors to confront a problem which their Anglo-Protestant ethic was unable to handle. The authors document, says Warner, “a central crisis in twentieth-century American life.”

    First published in 1962 by the Joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

    • Hardcover $25.00
    • Paperback $4.95