Andrew M. Busch
City in a Garden
Environmental Transformations and Racial Justice in Twentieth-Century Austin, Texas
University of North Carolina Press 2017
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in Environmental StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in the American WestNew Books Network October 16, 2018 Stephen Hausmann
Austin, Texas has a reputation as a vibrant, youthful capital city buoyed economically and culturally by the University of Texas. In City in a Garden: Environmental Transformations and Racial Justice in Twentieth-Century Austin, Texas (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), Andrew M. Busch argues that this identity was consciously constructed over the course of the twentieth century and came at a price. Busch, an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at Coastal Carolina University, uses a bevy of promotional material and other municipal records to credibly argue that Austin’s image as a city of “industry without smokestacks” appealed to white-collar knowledge workers after World War II was a racially coded message that shaped the city’s racial geography. Environmental racism revolving around water rights, noise pollution, gasoline farms, and segregated public space all shaped Austin’s history and continue to do so up to today. City in a Garden is a wonderfully interdisciplinary history that critiques colorblind sustainability and provides an alternate and just vision for the new urbanism of the early twenty-first century.
Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.