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Mushroom, Greenbelt, Maryland, 2009
Archival pigment print
32 × 39 in
81.3 × 99.1 cm
$1,750
location
Bloomington
Have a question? Read our FAQ.
About the work
Series
New Deal Utopias examines Franklin Roosevelt’s idealistic vision to resettle displaced farmers and poor urban dwellers in model cities. These "Greenbelt Towns" -- Greenbelt, Maryland; Greenhills, Ohio; and Greendale, Wisconsin -- were testing grounds for a new American way of life as envisioned by the short-lived government agency, the Resettlement Administration. The towns were planned communities that embodied the hope that American citizens would meet the challenges of the Great Depression in a spirit of cooperation, not individualism. Greenbelt residents would have the social and economic advantages of living in a community with each other, but would also be able to enjoy open green spaces and fresh air of nature. Modeled on the principles of the “Garden City” movement of early 20th century England, the Greenbelt Towns offered its residents the best of the town and the country. Today we are again struggling through tough economic times, and the politics and divisions that produced the Greenbelt Towns still prevail. In the '30s, the program was critiqued as "socialistic" and "communistic" by members of Congress, industrial and corporate leaders, and newspapers hostile to New Deal policies, yet the towns made an indelible impact on the development of American suburbs for years to come. In these photos I explore the intersections of politics and place, of the natural world and the built environment, and of the ideal and real. My photographs of the three Greenbelt Towns are an opportunity to engage with an overlooked expression of the New Deal as we continue grapple with the complexities of housing, nature, and government in contemporary American life.
Save
Save
view
View in room
share
Share
Save
Save
view
View in room
share
Share
About the work
Series
New Deal Utopias examines Franklin Roosevelt’s idealistic vision to resettle displaced farmers and poor urban dwellers in model cities. These "Greenbelt Towns" -- Greenbelt, Maryland; Greenhills, Ohio; and Greendale, Wisconsin -- were testing grounds for a new American way of life as envisioned by the short-lived government agency, the Resettlement Administration. The towns were planned communities that embodied the hope that American citizens would meet the challenges of the Great Depression in a spirit of cooperation, not individualism. Greenbelt residents would have the social and economic advantages of living in a community with each other, but would also be able to enjoy open green spaces and fresh air of nature. Modeled on the principles of the “Garden City” movement of early 20th century England, the Greenbelt Towns offered its residents the best of the town and the country. Today we are again struggling through tough economic times, and the politics and divisions that produced the Greenbelt Towns still prevail. In the '30s, the program was critiqued as "socialistic" and "communistic" by members of Congress, industrial and corporate leaders, and newspapers hostile to New Deal policies, yet the towns made an indelible impact on the development of American suburbs for years to come. In these photos I explore the intersections of politics and place, of the natural world and the built environment, and of the ideal and real. My photographs of the three Greenbelt Towns are an opportunity to engage with an overlooked expression of the New Deal as we continue grapple with the complexities of housing, nature, and government in contemporary American life.
Mushroom, Greenbelt, Maryland, 2009
Archival pigment print
32 × 39 in
81.3 × 99.1 cm
$1,750
location
Bloomington
Have a question? Read our FAQ.