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Jamaica Plain & Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Wish

January 20 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

While completing his latest book, Alex Krieger realized that his own neighborhood of Jamaica Plain is emblematic of a number of American ideals. Not least of which is the yearning to achieve what observers of American culture have called the “ middle landscape,” or “middle state,” or more philosophically as the “ethic of the middle link.” Best expressed by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his lament, “I wish for rural strength and religion, and city facility and polish.” Krieger will use his talk to trace this long American desire to occupy a place in between: city and country; civilization and nature, sophistication and simplicity, community and family. For much of the past century-and-more the suburb, or garden suburb as it was initially referred to, and before it metastasized into endless sprawl, was positioned as such a desirable in between. Krieger will argue that JP is such a place, an answer to Emerson’s wish.

Alex Krieger is the author of most recently City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America From the Puritans to the Present. He is a Professor of Urban Design, Emeritus at the Harvard Graduate School of Design along with being a principal at NBBJ, a global design practice. He has lived with his wife on Moraine Street for 34 years.

This talk is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. It will be in a hybrid format - you can either attend in person at the Connolly Branch of the Boston Public Library or via Zoom. Please use this link to register https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_YBegsBNVT0GmoWccgjnmhQ

In the case of heavy snow, the event will be held virtually.


January 20
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Connolly Branch Library
433 Centre St.
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 United States
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