Segments in this Video

10 Towns that Changed America: Introduction (01:54)


Geoffrey Baer gives a preview of the ten towns featured in the program. Viewers will visit the towns in chronological order, beginning with the oldest colonial town in America, St. Augustine, Florida.

St. Augustine, FL: 1565 (04:53)

Modern St. Augustine, Florida appears to be a tourist attraction, but the city still features semblances of its past as a Spanish military settlement, characterized by the Laws of the Indies. Issued by King Philip II of Spain, the 148 laws provided instructions for how colonists should settle the lands. The city contains the Fountain of Youth Park.

Philadelphia, PA: 1682 (04:35)

William Penn founded Philadelphia intending each house to have orchards and gardens surrounding it. Penn, a Quaker, was persecuted in England, but hoped to find peace in Philadelphia. He was the first urban planner to name streets after trees and numbers.

Salt Lake City, UT: 1847 (04:26)

Martha S. Bradley details how Salt Lake City’s founder, Joseph Smith, designed the city with the intent of uniting his people in a physical, social, and spiritual sense. Smith published the "Book of Mormon" in 1830. Following Smith's murder, Brigham Young and the Mormon people built the city as Smith had designed.

Riverside, IL: 1868 (05:42)

Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park in New York City and the city of Riverside, Illinois. Olmsted solved problems of Illinois' rapid urbanization. The Great Chicago Fire decimated the Riverside Improvement Company, but developments by Olmsted remained.

Pullman, Chicago, IL: 1880 (04:46)

George Pullman transformed the railway car into the "palace car," making him extremely powerful as a 19th century industrialist. He created a business-like town in which he endeavored to protect capitalism; Solon Spencer Beman was the architect. The city and George Pullman lost their reputation after one of the bloodiest strikes in American history.

Greenbelt, MD: 1935 (05:38)

By 1935, city planners had to accommodate the ever-growing population of automobiles. Clarene Stein ushered Greenbelt into the age of the automobile, capturing the attention of President Roosevelt. Stein created nine more areas with the Greenbelt theme.

Levittown, NY: 1947 (05:28)

Abraham, William and Alfred Levitt converted farmland into thousands of "cookie cutter" lots in New York.The Federal Housing Administration backed mortgages, allowing the Levitts to sell the homes to people for less money than they would have spent to rent.

Southwest Washington, D.C.: 1952 (05:08)

The Housing Act of 1949 provided federal funding to destroy dilapidated buildings. Southwest Washington D.C. became a clean slate for urban developers. Architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith proposed a modernist planning ideal, separating the city into districts. Francesca Russello Ammon and Baer discuss the negative effects of the design.

Seaside, FL: 1981 (05:24)

The resort town embodies the "walkability" of old towns. When developing the land, Robert Davis attempted to embody the feeling of his youth spent with his grandparents. With architects Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Davis created a city that focuses on community living.

Pearl District, Portland, OR: 1997 (06:25)

The term transit-oriented development refers to a community designed around the public transportation system. Architect Paul Goldberger esteems the Pearl District as a place that has done everything right. In the early 1970s, a bookstore's opening on Burnside St. lured artists farther north. In 1972, a commission began working to preserve the industrial buildings.

Credits: 10 Towns that Changed America (54:55)

Credits: 10 Towns that Changed America

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10 Towns that Changed America

Part of the Series : 10 That Changed America
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"10 Towns that Changed America" focuses on ten “experimental” towns that did not evolve organically over time, but instead were designed (or redesigned) from the ground up by visionary architects, corporations, and citizens, who sought to change the lives of residents using architecture, design, and urban planning. Some of these visionaries were driven by an ideology, others were trying to serve their own financial interests, but all had one thing in common: they believed in the power of our built environment to change the way we live.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL129836

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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10 Towns that Changed America

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