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An invisible infrastructure defines a significant portion of the American urban experience, affecting everything from the quality of the water we drink to the frequency of our trash collection to the pressure of the flush in our toilets. In The Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in America from Colonial Times to the Present, Martin V. Melosi studies water supply, wastewater, and solid-waste-disposal systems in U.S. cities from the colonial era to the present day. Along the way, Melosi discusses not only changing technologies and the expanding population but also growing public health awareness and ecological theories. He shows how the social beliefs and scientific understandings that emerged over time influenced how Americans have viewed waste and sanitation in urban life and how they came to accept workable solutions to the problems of sanitation, water delivery, and waste removal.
Ambitious and comprehensive, The Sanitary City incorporates an exhaustive supply of sources, from popular accounts and journalism to scholarly histories in the fields of technology and urban growth to congressional reports and legislative studies. It will appeal to scholars, students, and professionals in environmental history, urban studies, the history of science and technology, public health, and American government.