Suffragette City: Women, Politics, and the Built Environment, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Suffragette City

Women, Politics, and the Built Environment, 1st Edition

Edited by Elizabeth Darling, Nathaniel Robert Walker


225 pages

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pub: 2019-09-27
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Suffragette City brings together a collection of illustrated essays dedicated to exploring and analysing cases in which women have resourcefully leveraged or defied the politics of gender to form and reform architecture and urbanism. Throughout much of modern history, women have been assigned to the margins and expected to play passive social roles. Suffragette City draws on nineteenth- and twentieth-century architectural case studies from the English-speaking world, including the USA, South Africa, Scotland, India and England, to examine places and moments when women stepped into the centre of public life and claimed opportunities to shape the fabrics of their communities. Their engagements with the built environment consistently transcended architecture to achieve the level of urbanism, as whole networks of relationships came into their purview, transforming the architecture of socio-political connection as well as the confronting the physical divisions that have historically lain along racial, economic and gendered lines. Academics, researchers and students engaged in architectural history, theory, urbanism, gender studies and social and cultural history will be interested in this fascinating, politically-charged text.


"Suffragette City provides many surprises. These lively essays document women’s activist coalitions aimed at reforming housing and the built environment in several national contexts. Highly recommended for readers interested in the history of feminism, architecture, and city life."

Dolores Hayden, author of The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods, and Cities, Professor Emerita, Yale University

"Suffragette City: Gender, Politics and the Built Environment is a wonderful book—a remarkable, timely achievement. Clearly written with verve and with conviction, and using little-known and important examples, the authors share stories of women in architecture and their work to build a better, more just, more equitable world. It is indispensable reading for architects, activists, historians, and women everywhere."

Marta Gutman, The City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center

"In the spirit of Emmeline Pankhurst, this valuable collection of histories emphasizes “deeds, not words”: Suffragette City describes a metaphorical place where women design and preserve their cities, transform the professions that marginalized them, and reinvent their homes and architecture in ways previously unimagined by men. It is also, in the end, a call for new deeds to achieve equal rights to the city and to the professions that shape the built environment."

Peter L. Laurence, author of Becoming Jane Jacobs

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction by Elizabeth Darling and Nathaniel Robert Walker

Section One: Reconfiguring Communities

1. An Urban Experiment in Spiritual Motherhood: Gender, Class and Reform in Edwardian Edinburgh,by Elizabeth Darling, Oxford Brookes University

2. Amaza’s Azurest: Modern Architecture and the ‘New Negro’ Woman,by Jaqueline Taylor, City of Detroit Department of Planning and Development

3. ‘Life and Breath to the City’: Women, Urbanism, and the Birth of the Historic Preservation Movement, by Nathaniel Robert Walker, the College of Charleston

Section Two: Pathfinding in the Professions

4. The ‘Minister of Municipalities’: Shared Space and Social Fabric in the Work of Caroline Bartlett Crane, by Ann Marie Borys, University of Washington

5. ‘This Strange Interloper’: Building Products and the Emergence of the Architect-Shopper in 1930s Britain, by Katie Lloyd Thomas, Newcastle University

6. Adapting and Anticipating: The Home Planning Consultancy Work of Hilde Reiss and Jane Drew, 1943-45, by Erin McKellar, Sir John Soane’s Museum


Section Three: Staking Claims to Urban Space

7. ‘Almost as Good as a Frank Gehry’: Doris Duke, Maya Lin, and the Gendered Politics of Public Space in Newport, Rhode Island, by Catherine Zipf, Bristol Historical and Preservation Society

8. Beyond the Bind: Architecture, Gendered Agency and South African Urban Struggle, by Sharóne L. Tomer, Virginia Tech

9. Inroads for the Outsourced: Call-Centre Graveyard Shifts and the Impact of Women on the Nocturnal Streets of Mumbai, India, by Aparna Parikh, Pennsylvania State University


About the Editors

Elizabeth Darling is Reader in Architectural History in the School of History, Philosophy and Culture, Oxford Brookes University, UK.

Nathaniel Robert Walker is an Assistant Professor of Architectural History at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / General
ARCHITECTURE / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ARCHITECTURE / History / Contemporary (1945-)