Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 5 Assignment

The national sentiment of Americans post World War II was one that was controlled by fear and the compulsiveness and irrationality that this fear produced. After the public was exposed to the appalling images of the flattening of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the use of hydrogen bombs, the stunning revelation that this nuclear power could very possibly be used against the American people in the same way became to permeate the minds of the American citizens and government. The nuclear arms race was fast becoming tension filled and dangerous, as was evident to the nation, as rumors and facts alike spread through public circles, fanning the fear. Preventive and damage minimizing ideas were immediately researched by the federal government, which were then passed on to the public with little consideration about the future ramifications or the true effectiveness of these measures. One such proposal presented to the government in a couple different forms was the idea of decentralization. As a general idea, decentralization is the relocation of manufacturing and industrial cogs from condensed urban environments to surrounding suburbs. These satellite communities were designed specifically for the occurrence of a nuclear attack on the United States, with the layout design assuming that an attack would be aimed at the most densely populated areas of the country. The suburbs were given a buffer zone that landed them safely outside of the possible blast zone of a nuclear attack, and the industrial zones that had been fortified on the outskirts of the city would reside safely outside of the area covered by nuclear fallout. Charged by fear and the sense of urgency posed by a nuclear threat, the concept of decentralization was quickly put into rapid production, as interstate highways connecting the outlying towns to cities were paved, giving instantaneous exit routes to families believing that these satellite communities were their guaranteed escape from a nuclear attack. At the time of the nuclear arms race, assuming that a attack on America stood at a very high probability, the manufacturers of these suburbs did not design their home models to last for an extended period of time as had been the custom for houses to that point. These homes were not made to last due to the future that America was perceived to be sacrificing by participating in nuclear stockpiling. Later consequences were never considered because the idea that this model of America would persist into the future seemed so unlikely. However, with the stabilization of nuclear proliferation and the obvious maneuvering of the nuclear threat, the country was allowed to grow and develop under the decentralized model. With the interstate highway already in place and many of the most affluent and stable families and individuals immediately migrating to the satellite communities established, suburbs with greater safer conditions and lower population densities continued to be produced. Meanwhile cities were stripped of industrial output for the more efficient possibilities presented by suburbs and unemployment and abandonment spread throughout urban communities.

A place that I seriously value and find worthwhile to argue for is my hometown of Barrington, a northwest Chicago suburb. As the economic blows felt by urban environments as a result of suburban development has already been acknowledged, I feel that the nurturing environment offered from satellite cities and suburbs with low population density to the youth of America should be a point of outstanding optimism for the nation. The emphasis on education and individual attention that children receive while maturing in a suburban environment is almost always extremely beneficial and encouraging to their thoughtfulness, autonomy, and self motivation. From a young age children are introduced to problem solving, social interaction, and self perseverance, among other traits that are instrumental to the future continued attribution to American delegacy, as well as in technological and domestic innovation. While it is obvious that social and economic crises in urban populations are growing more and more drastic and must continually be investigated for a solution, the benefits that are offered to the development of children in suburban environments can by no means be discounted. 

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