Private streetcars and public utopias: Urban transportation and Chicago's city body in the early twentieth century
MetadataShow full item record
When the electric streetcar made its debut in Chicago during the 1890s, it immediately assumed a central part in the city's physical expansion and politics. The trolley, as the electric streetcar came to be known, became the object onto which urban residents projected their hopes lor and fears over the development of the city. Reformers were most preoccupied by the need to unite a city they felt to be both physically and politically fragmented, in their words, to uphold the notion of the city as body. The streetcar took on a central point within that conception: on the one hand, reformers feared it might further fragment city spaces along class lines; on the other hand, they hoped that by assuring mobility to all residents. It would help transcend new urban divisions. They envisioned the streetcar as the "artery" of the city body. This article charts the politics of urban transportatIon In Chicago during the first decade of the trolley's appearance. the 1890s. lt analyzes the central place assumed by streetcars in defining urban reformers hopes and fears over their city’s development, Once the streetcar quest,on entered the vortex of politics, however, a great vanety of social groups voiced their vIews, Chicago's public sphere enlarged at precisely the moment when a redefinition of the public interest became inminent.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas