Beyond the metropolis: Metropolitan growth and regional transformation in postwar America

Andrew Needham, Allen Dieterich-Ward

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The new suburban scholarship has succeeded in incorporating suburbs into urban historiography, but it has also implicitly reinforced an artificial boundary that obscures far-reaching effects of metropolitan growth. With their singular emphasis on decentralization, such analyses that stop at the political boundaries of the last "exurb" provide incomplete narratives of postwar community development.This article explores recent historiographical trends with an eye toward synthesizing the approaches of urban, suburban, and rural scholars into a more comprehensive model of the "metropolitan region." Case studies from the Southwest and the Upper Ohio Valley provide examples of the important interconnections between regional communities as well as the role of hinterland actors in shaping metropolitan growth. The essay concludes by offering suggestions on expanding the current urban/suburban history model to include the rural hinterland and the advantages of such an approach in better explaining the evolution of postwar politics, society, and culture.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)943-969
    Number of pages27
    JournalJournal of Urban History
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - Oct 2009


    • Phoenix
    • Pittsburgh
    • Region
    • Rural
    • Suburbs

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Urban Studies


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