City Region and Regionalism: A Geographical Contribution to Human Ecology

By Robert E. Dickinson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
REGIONS AND REGIONALISM IN THE UNITED STATES

1. THE DEMAND FOR NEW REGIONS

The United States is of special interest in connection with the study of all aspects of regionalism, owing to its vast area, roughly three-quarters that of the whole of Europe, forming one political and economic unit; its rapid modern development and transformation from a producer and exporter of primary products, to a dominantly manufacturing country absorbing the great bulk of its own agricultural production; the great and rapid growth of large metropolitan cities; the recent development of federal enterprise in place of the "rugged individualism" of the nineteenth century; and the development of principles of nationwide planning based on the conception of regional development. Two chief problems in the field of regional planning have received much attention in recent years. First, there is need for the conservation and scientific development of the country's natural resources, and second, changes have been brought about in the social structure by the increasing dominance of city life, made possible, above all, by the advent of the automobile, which in the United States is not a sign of affluence, but a first claim for every citizen. The boundaries of the constituent States of the Union and their divisions -- county and township -- are entirely arbitrary and there is need for the creation of new units, large and small, more in conformity with conditions of living and organization.1

Planning in the United States is based on the existing administrative units. The city is in many ways inadequate as such a unit, and the metropolitan district or the county has been adopted frequently in its place. The metropolitan unit includes the city and its nearest satellite towns and the contiguous urban and rural districts. It is not the same as the metropolitan district of the Census as defined on p. 198, and its boundaries cut across county and even State boundaries. The chief example

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1
Our Cities: Their Role in the National Economy, National Resources Committee, 1937, and Regional Factors in National Planning and Development, National Resources Committee, Washington, D.C., 1935.

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