Over the past 300 years, settlement patterns, geography, and climate have greatly affected the ecology of the south Texas landscape. Drawing on a variety of interests and perspectives, the contributors to On the Border probe these evolving relationships in and around San Antonio, the country’s ninth-largest city.Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers required open expanses of land for agriculture and ranching, displacing indigenous inhabitants. The high poverty traditionally felt by many residents, combined with San Antonio’s environment, has contributed to the development of the city’s unusually complex public health dilemmas. The national drive to preserve historic landmarks and landscapes has been complicated by the blight of homogenous urban sprawl. But no issue has been more contentious than that of water, particularly in a city entirely dependent on a single aquifer in a region of little rain. Managing these environmental concerns is the chief problem facing the city in the new century.
Insightful and provocative. . . . It is worth the attention of all scholars of urban environmental history.
Maintains a good balance between environmental history as the history of public policy and environmental history as the story of the physical transformation of natural and social landscapes.
Scholars interested in regional, environmental, and urban history will appreciate the book. So will thoughtful residents of San Antonio, if they hope that their city will fare better in the twenty-first century than it did in the last one.
Understanding our cultural and natural environment and how these factors have shaped our history is critical to charting a course for our future. On the Border illuminates the boundaries and currents that formed our community and continue to impact life in San Antonio. Readers seeking a nuanced portrait of our natural, political and built landscape—and a deeper understanding of our city—will be amply rewarded by this book.
With the focus on a specific city bestriding a topographical, climatological, and cultural crossroads—San Antonio—Char Miller begins a unique dialogue in the field of urban-environmental studies.
Char Miller is professor and chair of the history department at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He is co-author of The Greatest Good: 100 Years of Forestry in America (Society of American Foresters, 1999), and editor of Fluid Arguments: Five Centuries of Western Water Conflict (University of Arizona Press, 2001).learn more