Chapter Three (Kuangdi Zhao)

Summary:

  1. In the era after World War II, urban society became increasingly violent. Crime rate soared during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, despite the overall economy was strong.
  2. Urban society also became fragmented due to the changes in urban demographics. Immigrants and minorities moved into metropolitan areas as the majority population moved to the suburbs.
  3. Unemployment rate is growing because jobs were off-shored from the United States to other countries. Middle-class incomes were also affected when firms moved overseas.
  4. Early garages were not built to prevent auto theft. Instead, they were built to store vehicles and equipments. Garages were built far from residences because early cars exploded much more frequently than today’s cars.
  5. Demand for household garages increased as cars became a necessity by the 1920s and 1930s. Remote-control garage-door openers were also developed and then advanced around this time.
  6. Storing vehicles and equipments was not the only use of garage. Garages were also often used to connect the indoors and the outside.
  7. Needs for security and privacy are the primary reasons for people to live in gated communities. The gates provide a sense of security because they are safeguarded. They also give more privacy by excluding outsiders.

 

Quotes:

“The end of the Cold War and the rise of the global economy led to a massive shift in the nation’s industrial landscape throughout the 1980s and 1990s”(69).

“Pioneer Brass-Era cars were notoriously loud, dirty, dangerous, and most significantly, very expensive. They required constant maintenance…”(70).

“There were refuges for playing music, working on hobbies, storing belongings, washing and drying clothes, and puttering, and driveways were convenient playgrounds for shooting hoops and roller-skating”(72).

“The number of people living in gated communities in the United States was estimated to have doubled from 4 million in 1995 to 8 million in 1997”(73).

“About 30 to 40 percent of new homes in California are in gated communities…… It is reported that eight out of every ten new urban developments across the country are gated”(74).

Questions:

  1. Why did crime rate increase despite the economy was growing?
  2. Why more Americans are living in gated communities than ever in history?

2 comments to Chapter Three (Kuangdi Zhao)

  • heardd16

    I think Professor Heitmann may have offered an answer to your first discussion question. He spoke of the era after WWII, during which white youths from middle class families were engaging in car theft, among other crimes. Of course this was not due to a need for money because of an underprivileged lifestyle. More likely, it was a cultural trend. As Heitmann mentioned, this was very disturbing to cultural historians as well as government because it showed that humans are still capable of criminal acts even when society is well off (this was during what some refer to as the “Golden Age”).

  • Jier Qiu

    The two questions are inter-related. For question 1, think about it this way: More people have stronger purchasing ability and they walk around their shiny smartphones and tablets, more new cars sit unattended in parking lots, and there are more valuable furniture and stuff to steal inside the houses. Better economic times also mean more demand for drugs and alcohol. And for question 2 if crime rate is higher people would prefer to live in gated communities since they just sound a lot safer.

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