All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Capital Ideas: Nineteenth Century Progressives and the Transnational City-Making Movement
Unformatted Document Text:  The construction of a comprehensive sewer system was the logical outcome of the "social science of the city" that began to emerge in the early 19th century. 8 The practitioners of this science believed that social life conformed to laws that could be apprehended by empirical observation. The vast social environment that was the modern city presented an ideal opportunity to test these assumptions. Studies revealed dramatic differences in morbidity and mortality rates among urban populations. Statistics, moreover, suggested that congestion produced filth, noxious gases, and poor water. Filth, miasma, and contaminated water were, in turn, identified as the causes for high rates of crime, disease and death. 9 By the middle of the 19th century this environmental perspective had adherents on almost every continent. In the fall of 1874 Elisha Harris, the Secretary of the American Public Health Association, explained to his Glasgow audience that "[i] f the great cities of the world ...accumulate the wealth, luxuries, and convenience of the highest civilization, so likewise, do they gather in dense and dangerous masses certain physical and social elements of peril to the people.” 10 Well into the 19 th century death and disease were viewed as unfortunate, but inevitable aspects of city life. Beginning in the 1830s, first in England and then on the continent, it became possible, indeed, necessary, to believe that preventive measures were available and that the negative effect of the city could be mitigated. If environmental conditions caused rates of mortality far above the "natural" level then sewers, health codes, paved streets and slum clearance would improve these conditions and thereby decrease mortality. While most practitioners were far more sanguine than Benjamin Ward Richardson who claimed that the design of his imaginary city of Hygeia could "produce any mortality rate selected by its architects,” it was a commonplace that urban modernization would significantly reduce death rates. 11 This "revolution in styles of reasoning concerning the health and well-being of the populace" 12 that was focused on the great cities became a site in which to make visible the emerging relationship between state 8 Selwyn K. Troen, "The Diffusion of An Urban Social Science: France, England, and the United States in the Nineteenth Century" in Comparative Social Research, vol. 9, 1986, pp. 247-266. 9 Ibid., pp. 255-59. On "Statistics as Social Science" see Theodore M. Porter, The Rise of Statistical Thinking 1820 -- 1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), pp. 19-39, especially p. 30. 10 Elisha Harris, "Health of American Cities" in Transactions of The National Association for The Promotion of Social Science, Glasgow Meeting, 1874 (London: Longman’s, Green, and Co., 1875), p. 628. See also Francis Bacon, “Health and Civilization” Journal of Social Science Containing the Transactions of the American Association number III (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1871), pp. 58-71. 11 Troen, “The Diffusion of an Urban Social Science,” p. 258. 12 David Owen, The Government of Victorian London (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1982), p. 1. See also Sir John Simon, English Sanitary Institutions (London: John Murray, 1897) and B.L. Hutchins, The Public Health Agitation (London: A.C. Fairfield, 1909) 6

Authors: Shanahan, Suzanne.
first   previous   Page 6 of 45   next   last



background image
The construction of a comprehensive sewer system was the logical outcome of the "social science of the
city" that began to emerge in the early 19th century.
The practitioners of this science believed that social
life conformed to laws that could be apprehended by empirical observation. The vast social environment
that was the modern city presented an ideal opportunity to test these assumptions. Studies revealed
dramatic differences in morbidity and mortality rates among urban populations. Statistics, moreover,
suggested that congestion produced filth, noxious gases, and poor water. Filth, miasma, and contaminated
water were, in turn, identified as the causes for high rates of crime, disease and death.
By the middle of
the 19th century this environmental perspective had adherents on almost every continent. In the fall of
1874 Elisha Harris, the Secretary of the American Public Health Association, explained to his Glasgow
audience that "[i] f the great cities of the world ...accumulate the wealth, luxuries, and convenience of the
highest civilization, so likewise, do they gather in dense and dangerous masses certain physical and social
elements of peril to the people.”
Well into the 19
th
century death and disease were viewed as unfortunate, but inevitable aspects of
city life. Beginning in the 1830s, first in England and then on the continent, it became possible, indeed,
necessary, to believe that preventive measures were available and that the negative effect of the city could
be mitigated. If environmental conditions caused rates of mortality far above the "natural" level then
sewers, health codes, paved streets and slum clearance would improve these conditions and thereby
decrease mortality. While most practitioners were far more sanguine than Benjamin Ward Richardson
who claimed that the design of his imaginary city of Hygeia could "produce any mortality rate selected by
its architects,” it was a commonplace that urban modernization would significantly reduce death rates.
This "revolution in styles of reasoning concerning the health and well-being of the populace"
that was
focused on the great cities became a site in which to make visible the emerging relationship between state
8
Selwyn K. Troen, "The Diffusion of An Urban Social Science: France, England, and the United States in the
Nineteenth Century" in Comparative Social Research, vol. 9, 1986, pp. 247-266.
9
Ibid., pp. 255-59. On "Statistics as Social Science" see Theodore M. Porter, The Rise of Statistical Thinking 1820
-- 1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), pp. 19-39, especially p. 30.
10
Elisha Harris, "Health of American Cities" in Transactions of The National Association for The Promotion of
Social Science, Glasgow Meeting, 1874 (London: Longman’s, Green, and Co., 1875), p. 628. See also Francis
Bacon, “Health and Civilization” Journal of Social Science Containing the Transactions of the American
Association number III (New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1871), pp. 58-71.
11
Troen, “The Diffusion of an Urban Social Science,” p. 258.
12
David Owen, The Government of Victorian London (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1982), p. 1. See also Sir
John Simon, English Sanitary Institutions (London: John Murray, 1897) and B.L. Hutchins, The Public Health
Agitation (London: A.C. Fairfield, 1909)
6


Convention
Convention is an application service for managing large or small academic conferences, annual meetings, and other types of events!
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 6 of 45   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.