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Journal of Urban History

Robert W Lewis
This article analyzes the renovation and construction of the Parc des Princes and the Stade de France in post-Second World War Paris. The history of the two stadia testifies to a shift in the envisioned role of stadia in the Parisian basin between the late 1960s and the end of the twentieth century and stands as evidence for the emergence of new urban planning actors. Both stadia were also critiqued as symbols of broader problems with Parisian urbanization, notably as manifestations of anti-democratic planning processes...
2012: Journal of Urban History
David Soll
Urban historians have greatly expanded their geographical purview in recent years, incorporating suburbs and hinterlands into their analysis of social and environmental change. Urban environmental historians and suburban historians have played a critical role in the regionalization of urban history over the last decade. This case study of the development of New York City’s water supply reveals the benefits of taking a regional approach to urban history. From the New York Public Library to Central Park’s Great Lawn to neighborhood parks, the New York City landscape bears the traces of the continuous development of the city’s water network...
2012: Journal of Urban History
Vivian Bickford-Smith
Jim Dyos, founding-father of British urban history, argued that cities have commonly acknowledged “individual characteristics” that distinguish them. Such distinctive characteristics, though usually based on material realities, are promoted through literary and visual representations. This article argues that those who seek to convey a city’s distinctiveness will do so not only through describing its particular topography, architecture, history or functions but also by describing its “local colour”: the supposedly unique customs, manner of speech, dress, or other special features of its inhabitants...
2012: Journal of Urban History
Mark T Mulder
Present patterns of residential segregation have been proven to have antecedents in the so-called white flight of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Close scrutiny of this social phenomenon has yielded results that indicate complicated impetuses and call into question sweeping assumptions about white flight. A case study of seven congregations from a denomination called the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) who left the Englewood and Roseland neighborhoods of Chicago during the juncture in question further reveals the dubious role of religious practices and arrangements in the out-migration of white evangelical Christians...
2012: Journal of Urban History
Dolores Hayden
Seventy years ago, General Motors’ Highways and Horizons exhibit at the World’s Fair, designed by Norman Bel Geddes and Eero Saarinen, promoted demand for cars and federal highways without any concern for environmental sustainability, the theme of our 2010 conference. The main exhibit included a sequence of four parts (entrance ramps, map lobby, Futurama ride, and “intersection of 1960”) where the viewer’s perception of spatial scale was manipulated. Setha M. Low’s theory of “embodied space” helps decode why movement through these diverse spaces influenced millions of Americans’ views of transportation and urban form, a promotional success yet to be equaled by advocates of environmental sustainability...
2012: Journal of Urban History
Clovis E Semmes
In the twentieth century, race-based residential and commercial segregation that supported racial oppression and inequality became an elemental characteristic of urban black communities. Conflict-ridden, black-white relationships were common. However, the Chicago Defender Charities, Inc., the entity that sponsors the largest African American parade in the country and that emerged in 1947, embodied a tradition of charitable giving, self-help, and community service initiated in 1921 by Chicago Defender newspaper founder and editor, Robert S...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Judith Ann Trolander
Active adult, age-restricted communities are significant to urban history and city planning. As communities that ban the permanent residence of children under the age of nineteen with senior zoning overlays, they are unique experiments in social planning. While they do not originate the concept of the common interest community with its shared amenities, the residential golf course community, or the gated community, Sun Cities and Leisure Worlds do a lot to popularize those physical planning concepts. The first age-restricted community, Youngtown, AZ, opened in 1954...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Doreen Lee
This article explores the changes to urban political culture in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1998 to the present. By tracing the contributions of youth activists, and middle-class university students in particular, to the production of the street as a political and public space, the author demonstrates to what extent the democratized post-Suharto era naturalizes the place of youth in nationalist politics. Central to this inquiry of youth identity formation is the elision of class and gender as analytical categories...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Will Cooley
In the 1960s and 1970s African American “supergangs” emerged in Chicago. Many scholars have touted the “prosocial” goals of these gangs but fail to contextualize them in the larger history of black organized crime. Thus, they have overlooked how gang members sought to reclaim the underground economy in their neighborhoods. Yet even as gangs drove out white organized crime figures, they often lacked the know-how to reorganize the complex informal economy. Inexperienced gang members turned to extreme violence, excessive recruitment programs, and unforgiving extortion schemes to take power over criminal activities...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Anthony J Steinhoff
This article examines a crucial site for modernity’s encounter with religion during the long nineteenth century, albeit one largely ignored both by religious and urban historians: the modern big city. Drawing on evidence from Strasbourg, which joined the ranks of Germany’s big cities soon after the Franco-Prussian War, it points out first, that urbanization had a significant urban dimension. It altered the absolute and relative size of the city’s faith communities, affected the confessional composition of urban neighborhoods, and prompted faith communities to mark additional parts of the urban landscape as sacred...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Shannon King
Throughout the first three decades of the twentieth century, black people in New York City encountered white violence, especially police brutality in Manhattan. The black community used various strategies to curtail white mob violence and police brutality, one of which was self-defense. This article examines blacks’ response to violence, specifically the debate concerning police brutality and self-defense in Harlem during the 1920s. While historians have examined race riots, blacks’ everyday encounters with police violence in the North have received inadequate treatment...
2011: Journal of Urban History
James Hanlon
In this article, the author uses a slum clearance project in Lexington, Kentucky, as a lens through which to examine the spatial dynamics of racial residential segregation during the first half of the twentieth century. At the time, urban migration and upward socioeconomic mobility on the part of African Americans destabilized extant residential segregation patterns. Amid this instability, various spatial practices were employed in the interest of maintaining white social and economic supremacy. The author argues that such practices were indicative of a thoroughgoing reinvention of urban socio-spatial order that in turn precipitated the vastly expanded scale of residential segregation still found in U...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Catherine McNeur
In the first half of the nineteenth century, New Yorkers fought passionately over the presence of hogs on their streets and in their city. New York’s filthy streets had cultivated an informal economy and a fertile environment for roaming creatures. The battles—both physical and legal—reveal a city rife with class tensions. After decades of arguments, riots, and petitions, cholera and the fear of other public health crises ultimately spelled the end for New York’s hogs. New York struggled during this period to improve municipal services while adapting to a changing economy and rapid population growth...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Robert Freestone
In the history of city planning, the dichotomy between the aesthetic aspirations of the City Beautiful and City Practical movements is overstated. The aesthetic impulse did not disappear but persisted as an important thread through the development of comprehensive planning approaches into the 1920s. The nexus between beauty and utility was negotiated and expressed across four main discourses: broad social improvement, aesthetic functionality, economic rationality, and holistic design. Ultimately, beauty became wedded to utility within the very nature of the comprehensive city plan itself...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Amanda I Seligman
Examining the internal dynamics of three civil disturbances on the West Side of Chicago during the late 1960s, this article describes the presence of numerous people who were not participating in the upheaval. It pays particular attention to “counterrioters,” civilian residents of the neighborhoods and members of local organizations, who tried to persuade those engaging in violence to stop. Local dissent from the tactic of violence suggests that historians should describe these events using the neutral language of social science rather than the politically loaded labels of “riot” or “rebellion...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Jeffrey H Jackson
This article uncovers the visual narratives embedded within the photography of the 1910 Paris flood. Images offered Parisians multiple ways to understand and construe the significance of the flood and provided interpretive frameworks to decide the meaning of this event. Investigating three interlocking narratives of ruin, beauty, and fraternité, the article shows how photographs of Paris under water allowed residents to make sense of the destruction but also to imagine the city’s reconstruction. The article concludes with a discussion of the role of visual culture in recovering from urban disasters...
2011: Journal of Urban History
S Paul O'Hara
In the eyes of many, the steel city of Gary, Indiana, entered a period of decline in the middle of the twentieth century. The once great city was seemingly racked by job loss, crime, racial division, or moral decay. Which of these caused the decline of the city depended upon the perspective of the story's teller. Each narrative of decline contained a different moment where the city went wrong and it began to decay. For some it was the moral decay of the 1950s, for others it was the rise of black power and politics in the 1960s, for still others it was the white backlash against civil rights in the 1970s...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Michael R Glass
During the 1920-1929 period, the Civic Club of Allegheny County supported political consolidation of the county's municipalities and townships. Civic Club leaders sought boundary reform to tackle perceived social problems and political inefficiencies in the Pittsburgh region. This policy was aligned with a national network of Progressive urban reformers, some of whom guided the Civic Club's plans. These reform efforts culminated in the 1929 Metropolitan Charter, which was rejected by Allegheny County voters...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Dominic A Pacyga
World War Two and its aftermath transformed Chicago's African American community. The Great Migration entered a second and more intense phase as black migrants flooded into Northern cities. This massive relocation of Southern blacks resulted in the expansion and reformulation of Chicago's ghettoes on both the West and South Sides of the city. The question of a response to this Second Ghetto from African Americans themselves presents itself. White politicians, cultural elites and businessmen still controlled the city and could impose their will on its neighborhoods simply redrawing ghetto boundaries to reflect the new realities of the postwar era...
2011: Journal of Urban History
Eliza Ferguson
Drawing on Bachelard's notion of “cosmicity” this article investigates the living conditions of Parisian working-class families in the second half of the nineteenth century. Nineteenth-century social critics claimed that the lack of privacy in urban apartments made decent family life impossible. However, evidence from judicial dossiers concerning attentat à la pudeur (intimate assault against children) illuminates the lived experience of children and their families in Paris apartments. Rather than a sharp divide between public and private, children experienced their apartment homes as the core of a social and spatial world under the surveillance of parents, neighbors, and other children...
2011: Journal of Urban History
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