22 October 2010

2010 Top 10 Shapers of the American Landscape

Here is the list of Top 10 Shapers that I am presenting in EDA listed in alphabetic order. For comparison purposes I have linked each one to its entry in Wikipedia, but these are not definitive descriptions. And the Top 10 Shapers tag at the end will find you a few other interesting links...

The big mover this year is William J. Levitt.  Among other things, there have been 2 notable Levittown books in the last 18 months, one a collection of essays on the Bucks County Levittown while the other is linked to a notable moment in race relations. A Levittown ad was also featured this year in Lapham's Quarterly.


Bill Wolfe said...

I nominate:

1. Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau

2. All the Hudson River school painters

3. The progressives and muckrakers who disclosed urban dysfunction and perhaps inadvertently provided a basis for abandoning the city.

4. Stanley Abbott and Benton Mackaye.

5. Ansel Adams and the New Deal photographers

6. The men that led the oil, auto, tire lobby that killed the urban street car and created the federal interstate highway system.

7. Henry Ford and and the time & motion men for industrializing america and depopulating rural agrarian lands and creating huge urban migration.

8. The TVA New Dealers.

9. If Jefferson is included, then Hamilton must be as well. It wa Hamilton's vision that prevailed, not Jefferson's agrarianism.

KB said...

How about that person standing next to Johnny Muir, in the photo?

David Tulloch said...

After the lecture, one of the students also proposed President Polk. His expansionist policies were certainly reflective of the country's attitude towards land. But did he shape America's landscapes? Or did America shape him?

The debate goes on.

David Tulloch said...

Bill, I think your list includes people who we wish had shaped the American landscape. But that's a different list.

And a few others you mention are on the short list I present of people who didn't quite make the Top 10. Thomas Edison almost makes it for the lighting and electrification of America which has stretched out the days and enabled more commuting.

Bill Wolfe said...

I forgot to add Turner, for his closing of the frontier thesis.

And I would add JF Cooper.

Landscape is as much an idea as an actual physical construct; and obviously, the idea of landscape shapes how landscape is "developed".

Maybe some canal and rairoad barrons should be included as well!