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Invisible Cities is Italo Calvino’s description, in fifty-five stories of fifty-five cities, of the travels of Marco Polo. Each city is fictitious, but collectively they make up Marco Polo’s Venice. A city is distinct; we know Venice (or Manhattan or London) by its buildings, its landmarks, the nature of the city`s fabric, and by the lives of the citizens who gather, work, and live there. As much as the fabric itself, those citizens are unique to the city’s character. The suburbs that developed around major urban centers are not cultural artifacts, built over centuries from traditions and local practices, but products: predictable, marketable en masse, and relatively interchangeable. Conceived of as the ideal blend of city and country, the suburbs are homogeneous, universally accessible, and familiar; so it is with suburban stories. The Stories here are true. The people, places, and events are all real. Isolated, they would be anecdotes, gossip, or reports; in this case, they may be considered postcards – snapshots of everyday life. As a whole they begin to portray the home of millions of people across North America. The twenty-seven stories of this thesis create a window into lives lived in the edge condition called Suburbia.
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Laura Smith (2010). 27 Stories. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/5209