This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Suburbanization and the Magic City




Campbell, Emily

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Since its founding in 1871, Birmingham’s metropolitan area has experienced enormous growth. In the late-nineteenth century, the city’s industrial origins influenced neighborhood development for working, middle, and elite classes, and established a pattern of outward residential growth. After World War II, nationally popular suburban lifestyle trends, and issues of race, replaced industry as new influences for Birmingham’s expansion. These new influences, initiated a postwar wave of residential development, which created new suburban neighborhoods further removed from Birmingham’s downtown. Using maps, pictures, newspapers, and census data, this thesis traces Birmingham’s first century of neighborhood development from 1871 until 1970. Examination of Birmingham’s residential development allows for understanding of the forces that shaped the metropolitan area’s development and shows how its experience with suburbanization was characteristic of national suburban trends.