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Urbanisme et idéal démocratique au XIX e siècle

Hélène TROCMÉ
Revue française d'études américaines
No. 11, LA VILLE DANS LA CULTURE AMÉRICAINE / The City in American Life and Literature (Avril 81), pp. 43-54
Published by: Editions Belin
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20872814
Page Count: 12
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Urbanisme et idéal démocratique au XIX
          e
          siècle
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Abstract

Cet article essaie de mettre à jour la relation entre l'urbanisme et l'idéal démocratique au dix-neuvième siècle. Trois thèmes essentiels sont abordés: le plan en damier; la signification politique de l'urbanisme « baroque » de Washington; les motivations sociales et politiques des réformateurs des années 1840. Toutes les réformes ont échoué en raison du désintérêt du gouvernement fédéral ainsi que de l'absence de réflexion sur des problèmes cruciaux (politique du logement). This paper is an attempt at defining a relationship between town-planning and the American democratic ideal in the first half of the XIXth. century. The discussion is based upon historical research of the past 15 years on three major themes: — the checkerboard, which originally was the ideal plan for cities of the Jeffersonian Replublic, and was later turned into a strictly speculative scheme. — the political significance and the esthetic qualities of diagonal (or « baroque ») town-planning in Washington D.C., which served as a model for several western cities in the first quarter of the century — the social and political motivations of the Reformers who campaigned for the creation of public Parks and cultural Institutions in booming cities of the 1840's. In spite of their truly democratic inspiration, most of these projects failed because of a typical American preference for more profitable developments, totally free of governmental supervision, and because of a lack of concern for more serious problems such as housing.

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