Improvement in the cities – Progressive Era

Life in the cities improves


As we have studied progressive ideas, brought about by the degradation faced by many during the industrial age, had a profound impact on legislation and government programs. Progressive ideas also impacted upon daily life in the cities as we shall see today.

I. City Life Improves


A. A variety of improvements are made.

1. Professional Police and Firefighting forces are hired.

2. New transportation systems are developed like the trolley car and the elevated railway.

3. New sanitation systems are built like sewers and city saniation departments are created to remove waste.

4. Housing improvements are made. Buildings that were made of wood are now made of stone. Tenements were replaced by dumbell tenements and then dumbell tenements are replaced by apartment buildings.








B. Skyscrapers built

1. Louis Sullivan – first architect to design and build a skyscraper made of steel support. He coined the phrase “Form follows function.”

C. Parks Planned

1. Frederick Olmstead – Designed Central Park and other city park systems.

2. Daniel Burnham – Designed Colombian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago

D. Shopping Improves

1. Departments Stores

2. Chain Stores – Frank W. Woolworth

3. Shopping Centers

4. Restaurants became popular

E. Private Citizens Tackle Depressing Urban Life

1. Settlement houses – Classes in English, health, crafts, music, drama, college extension classes for the ambitious, reading to illiterates. Social services for deserted women and widows were provided as well as furniture if possible. Sent nurses out to help the sick.

a) Jane Addams – Hull House, Chicago




Hull House





A Cooking Class at Hull House