chapter  13
24 Pages

Mechanizing the American earth

AMERICAN INDUSTRIALIZATION has produced a landscape of specialized activity and mechanical integration, of growth and decline, and of abandoned and reused relics. Mineral processing plants, lumber mills, and factories are highly specialized production centers that can exist only if linked by transportation and communication systems with suppliers of raw materials and markets for finished products. The increasing specialization of production centers requires more elaborate means of both mechanical and spatial integration. In their turn cycles of specialization and integration contribute to change as new ways of organizing production occur and as old ways become obsolete. Places that acquire the new ways grow while the losers stagnate or decline. Growth leads to new landscapes as well as a reuse of past ones. Industrial decline combined with an inability to acquire new industry, however, creates an abandoned landscape.