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Place, People, and Power in City Building in Postwar America

Lizabeth Cohen

Pages 135 - 150



This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

When urban studies scholars examine issues such as the public versus
private in cities, boundary making and breaking, and how democratic
citizenship is reinforced or undermined, they tend to avoid the agency
of individuals. Instead, they attribute these characteristics to urban
environments in general, as circumscribed by place and time. This essay
argues for the importance of investigating agency in city building and
city living and does so through probing the career of a pivotal figure
in American urban renewal in the second half of the twentieth century,
Edward J. Logue. Through tracing Logue’s shifting strategies of urban
redevelopment from New Haven in the 1950s to Boston in the 1960s to New
York State and New York City in the 1970s and 1980s, new insights
emerge. Urban renewal becomes a more improvisational and evolutionary
approach to keeping post-World War II cities viable. Urban redevelopers
have more complex and varied interactions with ordinary residents. And
the concepts of the “public” and “boundaries” take on new significance.
Rather than dismissing urban renewal, and urban renewers, with one
condemning brush, this essay suggests that there is a great deal to be
learned from both its successes and failures.

1 Cohen, Lizabeth. A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. Print.

2 ---. Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. Print.

3 “Ed Logue—The Master Rebuilder.” Washington Post 15 Apr. 1967. Print.

4 Fainstein, Susan. Personal Conversation. 29 Mar. 2010. Architecture and Knowledge Seminar. Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

5 Housing Act of 1949. Pub. L. 81-171. 63. Stat. 413-44. 15 July 1949. Web. 27 May 2020. -1/c81s1ch338.pdf.

6 Housing Act of 1954. Pub. L. 83-560. 68 Stat. 590-648. 2 Aug. 1954. Web. 27 May 2020.

7 Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford UP, 1985. Print.

8 Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House, 1961. Print.

9 Logue, Edward J. Interview by Frank Jones. April 1999. Edward J. Logue Papers, 2007 Addition, Box 2, Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives, New Haven, CT. Print. Transcript.

10 ---. Interviews by Ivan Steen. 31 Oct.1986, and 11 July 1991. Edward J. Logue Papers, 2002 Addition, Box 21, Folder “EJL Rockefeller Oral History.” Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives. New Haven, CT. Print. Transcript.

11 ---. Letter to Doug Ensinger. 15 Jan. 1955. Edward J. Logue Papers. Series 4, Box 25, Folder 43. Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives, New Haven, CT. Print.

12 ---. Letter to John Goldman of Los Angeles Times, 27 May 1982, Edward J. Logue Papers, 1985 Accession, Box 107, Folder “MH Correspondence, Miscellaneous.” Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives. New Haven, CT. Print.

13 Lucy, William. “Logue on Cities.” Planning 51.8 (1985): 12-16. Print.

14 “‘New Boston’ Planner Comes Back for More.” Boston Herald 12 Jan. 1988. Print.


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