Dr. Raitz is a professor of geography at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506–0027.
AMERICAN ROADS, ROADSIDE AMERICA*
Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
1998 American Geographical Society
Volume 88, Issue 3, pages 363–387, July 1998
How to Cite
Raitz, K. (1998), AMERICAN ROADS, ROADSIDE AMERICA. Geographical Review, 88: 363–387. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.1998.tb00113.x
I wish to thank John Paul Jones, Wolfgang Natler, and Richard Schein for their critical comments on an earlier draft of this article.
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
- liminal space;
- mass consumption;
ABSTRACT. Federal support for planning and building roads provided an opportunity to create a new kind of place, the American roadside. The roadside grew up beside the public road as a distinct private space, yet the two were linked as road travelers came to depend on the services provided by people who lived at the road's edge. Federal road-improvement legislation brought discipline to the surveying, construction, and configuration of roads. But roadside structures remained largely the creation of local people, who built a vernacular landscape that was undisciplined and in strong contrast to the road's regimentation. The roadside became a new kind of space occupying the unstable zone between the discipline of the road and the informality of the countryside, a spatial contradiction that gave license to a new, free-wheeling, mercantile logic, an improvisational departure from the staid formality of Main Street.