Landscapes of Betrayal, Landscapes of Joy

Curtisville in the Lives of its Teenagers

By Herb Childress

Subjects: Ethnography
Series: SUNY series in Environmental and Architectural Phenomenology
Paperback : 9780791445785, 372 pages, April 2000
Hardcover : 9780791445778, 372 pages, April 2000

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Table of contents





1. Woven Stories, Woven Lives

2. Reading Curtisville

Part One - Around Town

3. The American Dream

4. The Working Life

5. I Love this Car, Man

6. One Night in Manoa

7. The Dead Zone

8. Birthday at Oyster Beach

9. They're Breaking Up that Old Gang of Mine

Part Two - At School

10. Kirk's School Days

11. Free Public Assembly

12. Pay No Attention to that Man Behind the Curtain

13. Take Your Seats, Please

14. The Domain of the Greeks

15. The Passion Pit

16. Convenience Store Orphans

Part Three - At Home

17. Negotiations and Boundaries

18. Twelve Rooms

19. The Irrelevant Neighborhood

20. Other People's Houses I: Dad's House

21. Other People's Houses II: Tami's Weekend

22. Other People's Houses III: Julian's House

Part Four - After the Fact

23. The Hidden Program of the High School (or Six Metaphors in Search of a Box)

24. A Teenage Acre

25. November 18th, Where Joy was Found

26. Collaborators

27. Rereading Curtisville




Looks at how teenagers in one small town use spaces and give value and meaning to specific places.


Landscapes of Betrayal, Landscapes of Joy provides a rare glimpse into the world of teenagers, from beach parties to bedrooms, from the math class to the midnight movies. In this fascinating ethnography, Herb Childress demonstrates how our buildings and landscapes (and the institutions that shape them) systematically shortchange our kids, eliminating opportunities for challenge and growth and encouraging their passivity. After examining the places to which the kids were devoted, where they worked hardest, and where they were at their best, Childress offers ideas for change.

Herb Childress is an architectural consultant and has a Ph. D. in Environment-Behavior Studies from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


"Childress weaves engaging stories through and around the teenagers whose everyday lives are represented by this book. The power of his narrative resides in part on his ability to raise profound issues from seemingly mundane occurrences. He avoids over-theorizing the teenagers' experiences and yet, at the same time, he is able to highlight their senses of self and place in the world. And the awful context that surfaces from his stories is that these teenagers are, for the most part, betrayed by our adult world (how it is planned, designed, and institutionalized) and the society (family, home, and community) we embrace. " — Stuart C. Aitken, author of Family Fantasies and Community Space

"Our social and physical environments are a mess. Teenagers are sorely neglected, and Childress conveys the feeling that there is much that could so easily be done if we weren't so 'bloody fearful' about life. Educators, planners, designers, and parents should all read this book. " — Douglas D. Paterson, University of British Columbia

"Childress is a good storyteller; the dialogue and the vignettes are compelling and evocative. " — Lynn Paxson, Iowa State University