The Darkening City, 1850–1920

in American Sunshine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780226262819
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226262833 | DOI:
The Darkening City, 1850–1920

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This chapter describes the reformers in New York city. The perception that darkness was a problem in the maintenance of morals, health, and property values was growing. Blackened skies had begun capturing reformers' attention, but many still saw pollution as an indicator of progress, evidence that the nation was an industrial powerhouse. Tenement reformers utilized a new language in expressing compelling concerns about slum conditions. Sunlight was a clear concern for urban Americans. Businessmen had decided that sunshine was worth paying for, and natural light now came at a premium. In general, social reforms prevailed in the early sunlight thinking by undoing the slum, redesigning the school, and reshaping the city. By the 1930s, securing sunlight had become the responsibility of the individual, and scientists, not planners, were providing the necessary tools.

Keywords: social reformers; New York city; darkness; slum; sunlight; sunshine; school

Chapter.  11066 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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