Reactions to urbanisation in New Zealand during the nineteen twenties. (1975)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
The nineteen twenties were years of rapid urban growth in New Zealand. City populations increased, urban areas expanded, and an even greater proportion of the country's people were officially designated "urbanites". 1918 - 1930 was the key period in the social transformation. The perceived implications of this change became matters of intense social and political debate. This thesis examines the debate as found in contemporary publications to determine how New Zealanders reacted to urbanization.
In New Zealand urbanization was perceived as a threat to the economy, by upsetting the balance between urban "non-producers" and the rural "producer", population, and as a threat to the national identity of being the outlying farm of the Empire.
Although reactions to urbanization in the twenties were coloured by romantic ideas introduced from Britain, the main thrust of reaction in times of recession and doubt was against the economic effects of urbanization, coupled with an outburst of nostalgia for the "true" New Zealand of the pioneering period. Land settlement was widely advocated as a solution to the problems of recession and unemployment believed to be caused by urbanization. In times of prosperity attempts were made to improve the urban environment by combining the "virtues" of the country to the "convenience" of the city. The garden suburb was one outcome of these attempts.
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