1) What challenges did the American continent offer to early settlers that the Old World (Europe) did not? How did the American landscape influence settlement patterns? attitudes towards nature? towards civilization?
2) How did young American cities, such as New York City and Washington, D.C., differ from cities you studied in Europe (Rome, Venice, etc.)? What factors most influenced their growth and development? Are these two cities more similar or more different?
3) What attitude did Thomas Jefferson and civic leaders of the era have toward the city? the country? How did these attitudes influence the selection and development of our national capital?
4) What did Andrew Jackson Downing, Olmsted, and other planners of the mid-nineteenth century see as the major benefits of bringing nature into the city? Do you believe that their perspective on “nature” in the city is still valid today? In your opinion, how has the role of “nature” or natural systems within the city changed since Olmsted and Downings time? What do you believe the role of “nature” (urban ecology) should be within the twenty-first century city?
5) Do you believe that Americans today have a generally positive or negative view of the city? Why? In your opinion, why do so many Americans choose to live in the suburbs instead of the city, even though cities have long served as centers of culture and commerce?