Dr. Conzen is a professor of geography at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 60637.
THE NON-PENNSYLVANIA TOWN: DIFFUSION OF URBAN PLAN FORMS IN THE AMERICAN WEST*
Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
2006 American Geographical Society
Volume 96, Issue 2, pages 183–211, April 2006
How to Cite
CONZEN, M. P. (2006), THE NON-PENNSYLVANIA TOWN: DIFFUSION OF URBAN PLAN FORMS IN THE AMERICAN WEST. Geographical Review, 96: 183–211. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2006.tb00049.x
This research was carried out while the author held the Benjamin H. and Louise L. Carroll Visiting Chair of Urban Studies at the University of Oregon in Eugene in the spring of 2003. Grateful acknowledgment is made to Alexander B. Murphy and Louise Carroll Wade for their enthusiastic support of this work.
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
- cultural diffusion;
- place identity;
- town planning;
- urban morphology;
- Willamette Valley
ABSTRACT. Wilbur Zelinsky's classic 1977 account of the Pennsylvania town as a cultural place type–the urban component of the nationally influential Pennsylvanian culture region–acknowledged that it was not exported intact across the successive western frontiers of the United States. But, aside from Edward Price's specialized study of courthouse squares, we know little that is systematic about how town-planning ideas diffused across the continent. This investigation offers evidence from the Willamette Valley in Oregon of the eventual variety and geographical distribution of town-platting conventions that developed in this Pacific Coast “destination’ setting and the possible provenance in the Ohio Valley of certain early Oregonian town-plan features. The evidence raises questions about the resilience of town-planning conventions in light of the distance carried, cultural time lags, and changing ideas about best practice and local suitability.