To prepare for their explorations of diverse suburban communities, the Georgia team studied Kenneth T. Jackson's Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States and listened to the National Public Radio oral memoirs of Carmen Agra Deedy on Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia. They also became avid readers of their local newspapers, tracking recurring stories about immigrants' experiences, innovations in suburban lifestyle, and issues associated with sprawl (e.g., traffic, endangered natural resources). They took walking tours of various Atlanta suburbs and did archival research about the formation of these communities. Additionally, they gathered oral histories from residents, researched histories of subdivisions and apartment communities within their targeted areas, and chronicled stories of recent immigrants. Students interviewed contractors about how subdivisions are designed and built, used digital cameras to record the rapid changes in the suburban landscape, and talked with both long-time residents and newcomers about their views on life in the outskirts of Atlanta.
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