Urban street systems in nineteenth century Ohio towns: An analysis of diffusion

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History and Philosophy


This study considers the possible “migration” of urban street patterns associated with discrete east coast culture regions to America’s trans-Appalachian interior during the 19th century. Also examined was the possibility that these street patterns became less “culturallybound,“ or more admixed, over time. Ohio, one of the first (and most culturally diverse) trans-Appalachian states, was the focus of the study. To ascertain answers to the above questions, data pertaining to town platting throughout the state (as well as for four distinct survey regions associated with discrete east coast migration) was culled from county atlases and histories. Variables were selected so as to categorize both the morphology of street patterns as well as critical periods in the urban growth of the state. Cultural transference of street pattern morphology was generally found to be valid; an especially strong demarcation between New England and mid-Atlantic source regions was noted in northeast Ohio. Temporally, no “homogenizing” trends were apparent: distribution of pattern types remained generally constant and the discrete regions examined retained distinctly different typologies. [Article abstract]

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