Sep 21 2014
As I was reading the first part of Downtown America by Alison Isenberg, it never occurred to me how much influence women had on the downtown areas, leading campaigns to clean up public spaces. Even though the city planning industry did not focus their attention on the efforts to “beautify” the city that women were dedicated to, Isenberg discovers that “beautification meant efficiency and utility and, especially, improved property values” (p. 40). Therefore the efforts of women were beneficial to the public area, especially from a financial standpoint. One point that Isenberg brings up that I found especially interesting was that postcards that were created were not accurate depictions of those downtowns during the 1940’s. Business groups often paid artists to edit the photos to get rid of any distasteful parts of the downtown areas. Isenberg explains that this was done in order to for business owners and merchants to attract consumers to shop downtown. After reading this I instantly thought of Strasser’s book and the idea of creating a personal relationship between the consumer and the seller. This idea has obviously shifted in that merchants were not being honest and upfront; therefore the sense of community that used to be apparent within this industry was now fading away.
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