The American suburban front lawn: An eco-anthropological analysis

Amalie Flynn, Salve Regina University

Abstract

The American suburban front lawn is a popular landscape and national ideal. Often, it is maintained using synthetic and impersonal methods of lawn care. The literature reviewed reveals a polarized response to the American suburban front lawn, including academic criticism and homeowner support. Many experts claim that the American suburban front lawn is ecologically hazardous and socially vapid and call for its replacement. Yet many suburban homeowners steadfastly construct and maintain it, despite negative ecological and social impacts. Both responses are considered and the American suburban front lawn is analyzed negatively (ecological and social impacts) and positively (unique validity, relevance, and benefits) in order to understand this phenomenon in all its complexity. The question is raised of whether a middle ground is possible. Research conducted attempts to determine whether there is a culturally viable way homeowners can maintain their front lawns that (1) maintains this popular groundcover, (2) maximizes its benefits, and (3) minimizes negative ecological and social impacts. Ultimately, it is posited that the American suburban front lawn can be maintained in its traditional form if new paradigms and practices are adopted. Research is conducted using an eco-anthropological approach. Analysis includes the use of historical, critical, and socio-cultural perspectives.^

Subject Area

Anthropology, Cultural|History, United States|Environmental Studies|Land Use Planning

Recommended Citation

Flynn, Amalie, "The American suburban front lawn: An eco-anthropological analysis" (2013). Doctoral Dissertations (Off Campus access). AAI3639655.
http://digitalcommons.salve.edu/dissertations/AAI3639655

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