Gridded Lives: Why Kazakhstan and Montana are Nearly the Same Place

  • Kate BrownEmail author


While the United States and the Soviet Union are normally conceptualized as polar opposites, by comparing Karaganda (Kazakhstan) and Billings (Montana), this chapter draws significant parallels between the use of the grid in these contrasting political contexts. Using a comparative approach, the author addresses the following questions: Is it possible to write the history of gridded spaces? If so, do the gridded spaces of Kazakhstan and Montana constitute the end-point of larger processes that the United States and the Soviet Union shared? The present chapter explores these questions through comparative urban history to illustrate how the grid evolved just as the territories of the U.S. and Soviet Union were being swept into larger industrial and agricultural economies. The author concludes that, in both cases, political powers produced gridded spaces, often violently, to serve economic and political goals.


Grid plan United States Soviet Union Mining cities Railroad cities Communism Capitalism Modernization Propaganda Colonization 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandBaltimoreUSA

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