New Perspectives on the Housing Act of 1949Edited by Douglas R. Appler
The consequences of the federal Housing Act of 1949—which supported the clearance and redevelopment of “blighted” areas across the nation—were felt by communities of all sizes, not just large cities. The Many Geographies of Urban Renewal presents a more comprehensive view of the federal urban renewal program by situating the experiences of large cities like Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA alongside other geographies, such as the small city of Waterville, ME, suburban St. Louis County in Missouri, the State of New York, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and others. Chapters identify trends and connections that cut across jurisdictional boundaries, investigate who used federal funds, how those funds were used, and examine the profound short and long-term consequences of the program.
Taken as a whole, the essays showcase the unexpected diversity of how different communities used the federal urban renewal program. The Many Geographies of Urban Renewal allows us to better understand what was arguably the most significant urban policy of the 20th century, and how that policy shaped the American landscape.Contributors Francesca Russello Ammon, Brent Cebul, Robert B. Fairbanks, Leif Fredrickson, Colin Gordon, David Hochfelder, Benjamin D. Lisle, Robert K. Nelson, Stacy Kinlock Sewell and the editor
“The Housing Act of 1949 fundamentally changed cities, towns, and suburbs in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Many Geographies of Urban Renewal grapples with the complexity of federal housing programs as they played out in real places, and the editor and contributors incorporate innovative data collection strategies and mapping tools to ask important new questions. If you thought you knew all there was to know about urban renewal, this book will challenge you to think again.”
—Nancy H. Kwak, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and History at the University of California, San Diego, and author of A World of Homeowners: American Power and the Politics of Housing Aid
“The Many Geographies of Urban Renewal breaks new ground in our understanding of mid-to late twentieth-century U.S. cities, specifically challenging long-held assumptions about the urban renewal program of the 1950s to 1970s. Appler has pioneered a much-needed corrective to the longtime fixation on urban renewal as a large-city program. This book will greatly expand the need for seeing the importance of smaller communities in the overall federal program. It is a startlingly original and essentially new interpretation of urban renewal.” —J. Mark Souther, Professor of History at Cleveland State University, and author of Believing in Cleveland: Managing Decline in “The Best Location in the Nation” (Temple)