Motor City Green explores the ways that Detroiters maintained green landscapes in the rapidly growing Motor City during the long twentieth century (between the late 1800s and early 2000s). Author Joseph Stanhope Cialdella identifies personal investment and public projects dedicated to retaining and creating gardens as the city experienced a growth spurt comparable to other industrial centers. Cialdella describes the result as “a landscape in a perpetual state of ruin and repair” (13). Motor City Green makes clear that both nature parks designed for recreation and utilitarian vegetable plots factored into the repair and that home gardens as well as horticultural and landscape gardening businesses count as urban agriculture and warrant attention as part of urban environmentalism.

Cialdella has written an “urban environmental history of parks and gardens” covering the 139 square miles that make up Detroit (5). His work provides context to better understand the precedent for new agri-urban...

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