In the spring of 1934, a small group of militant union organizers led Minneapolis truckers on a series of strikes that sought to break the city's antiunion grip. The striking truckers, in protest of scab workers, took to the streets of the city's warehouse district where they faced violent opposition from the police and members of the Citizen's Alliance, a group representing Minneapolis's business community. The conflict exploded when police fired on the unarmed strikers, killing four and injuring countless others. The events surrounding Bloody Friday shifted the balance of power between labor and business in Minneapolis and proved to be a significant victory for the labor movement nationwide, contributing to the ratification of the landmark National Labor Relations Act. When first published in 1937, Charles Rumford Walker's American City was praised as an evenhanded portrayal of the truckers' strike. Focusing on the personal experiences of the participants, Walker recounts the interests, motives, and passions on both sides of the conflict, capturing the heated emotions of those involved. He offers a vivid account of a period that transformed Minneapolis and forged the way for workers' rights nationwide.
What if scrapping one flawed policy could bring US cities closer to addressing debilitating housing shortages, stunted growth and innovation, persistent racial and economic segregation, and car-dependent development?
It’s time for America to move beyond zoning, argues city planner M. Nolan Gray in Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It. With lively explanations and stories, Gray shows why zoning abolition is a necessary—if not sufficient—condition for building more affordable, vibrant, equitable, and sustainable cities.
The arbitrary lines of zoning maps across the country have come to dictate where Americans may live and work, forcing cities into a pattern of growth that is segregated and sprawling.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Reform is in the air, with cities and states across the country critically reevaluating zoning. In cities as diverse as Minneapolis, Fayetteville, and Hartford, the key pillars of zoning are under fire, with apartment bans being scrapped, minimum lot sizes dropping, and off-street parking requirements disappearing altogether. Some American cities—including Houston, America’s fourth-largest city—already make land-use planning work without zoning.
In Arbitrary Lines, Gray lays the groundwork for this ambitious cause by clearing up common confusions and myths about how American cities regulate growth and examining the major contemporary critiques of zoning. Gray sets out some of the efforts currently underway to reform zoning and charts how land-use regulation might work in the post-zoning American city.
Despite mounting interest, no single book has pulled these threads together for a popular audience. In Arbitrary Lines, Gray fills this gap by showing how zoning has failed to address even our most basic concerns about urban growth over the past century, and how we can think about a new way of planning a more affordable, prosperous, equitable, and sustainable American city.
Austin, Texas, entered the aviation age on October 29, 1911, when Calbraith Perry Rodgers landed his Wright EX Flyer in a vacant field near the present-day intersection of Duval and 45th Streets. Some 3,000 excited people rushed out to see the pilot and his plane, much like the hundreds of thousands who mobbed Charles A. Lindbergh and The Spirit of St. Louis in Paris sixteen years later. Though no one that day in Austin could foresee all the changes that would result from manned flight, people here—as in cities and towns across the United States—realized that a new era was opening, and they greeted it with all-out enthusiasm.
This popularly written history tells the story of aviation in Austin from 1911 to the opening of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 1999. Kenneth Ragsdale covers all the significant developments, beginning with military aviation activities during World War I and continuing through the barnstorming era of the 1920s, the inauguration of airmail service in 1928 and airline service in 1929, and the dedication of the first municipal airport in 1930. He also looks at the University of Texas's role in training pilots during World War II, the growth of commercial and military aviation in the postwar period, and the struggle over airport expansion that occupied the last decades of the twentieth century. Throughout, he shows how aviation and the city grew together and supported each other, which makes the Austin aviation experience a case study of the impact of aviation on urban communities nationwide.
In 1968, Baltimore was home to a variety of ethnic, religious, and racial communities that, like those in other American cities, were confronting a quickly declining industrial base. In April of that year, disturbances broke the urban landscape along lines of race and class.
This book offers chapters on events leading up to the turmoil, the riots, and the aftermath as well as four rigorously edited and annotated oral histories of members of the Baltimore community. The combination of new scholarship and first-person accounts provides a comprehensive case study of this period of civil unrest four decades later.
This engaging, broad-based public history lays bare the diverse experiences of 1968 and their effects, emphasizing the role of specific human actions. By reflecting on the stories and analysis presented in this anthology, readers may feel empowered to pursue informed, responsible civic action of their own.
Baltimore '68 is the book component of a larger public history project, "Baltimore '68 Riots: Riots and Rebirth." The project's companion website (http://archives.ubalt.edu/bsr/index.html ) offers many more oral histories plus photos, art, and links to archival sources. The book and the website together make up an invaluable teaching resource on cities, social unrest, and racial politics in the 1960s. The project was the corecipient of the 2009 Outstanding Public History Project Award from the National Council on Public History.
In 2007, as the fiftieth anniversary of the fight to integrate Little Rock Central High School approached, veteran sportswriter and native son of Little Rock Jay Jennings returned to his hometown to take the pulse of the city and the school. He found a compelling story in Central High's football team, where Black and white students toiled under longtime coach Bernie Cox, whose philosophy of discipline and responsibility and punishing brand of physical football had led the team to win seven state championships.
Carry the Rock tells the story of the dramatic ups and downs of a high school football season and reveals a city struggling with its legacy of racial discrimination and the complex issues of contemporary segregation. In the season Jennings masterfully chronicles, Cox finds his ideas sorely tested in his attempts to unify the team, and the result is an account brimming with humor, compassion, frustration, and honesty. What Friday Night Lights did for small-town Texas, Carry the Rock does for the urban South and for any place like Little Rock where sports, race, and community intersect.
"Grady Clay looks hard at the landscape, finding out who built what and why, noticing who participates in a city's success and who gets left in a 'sink,' or depressed (often literally) area. Clay doesn't stay in the city; he looks at industrial towns, truck stops, suburbs—nearly anywhere people live or work. His style is witty and readable, and the book is crammed with illustrations that clarify his points. If I had to pick up one book to guide my observations of the American scene, this would be it."—Sonia Simone, Whole Earth Review
"The emphasis on the informal aspects of city-shaping—topographical, historical, economic and social—does much to counteract the formalist approach to American urban design. Close-Up...should be required reading for anyone wishing to understand Americans and their cities."—Roger Cunliffe, Architectural Review
"Close-Up is a provocative and stimulating book."—Thomas J. Schlereth, Winterthur Portfolio
"Within this coherent string of essays, the urban dweller or observer, as well as the student, will find refreshing strategies for viewing the environmental 'situations' interacting to form a landscape."—Dallas Morning News
"Clay's Close-Up, first published in 1973, is still a key book for looking at the real American city. Too many urban books and guidebooks concentrate on the good parts of the city....Clay looks at all parts of the city, the suburbs, and the places between cities, and develops new terms to describe parts of the built environment—fronts, strips, beats, stacks, sinks, and turf. No one who wants to understand American cities or to describe them, should fail to know this book. The illustrations are of special interest to the guidebook writer."—American Urban Guidenotes
The ninth largest city in the United States, Dallas is exceptional among American cities for the claims of its elites and boosters that it is a "city with no limits" and a "city with no history." Home to the Dallas Cowboys, self-styled as "America's Team," setting for the television series that glamorized its values of self-invention and success, and site of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dallas looms disproportionately large in the American imagination. Yet it lacks an identity of its own.
In The Dallas Myth, Harvey J. Graff presents a novel interpretation of a city that has proudly declared its freedom from the past. He scrutinizes the city's origin myth and its governance ideology, known as the "Dallas Way," looking at how these elements have shaped Dallas and served to limit democratic participation and exacerbate inequality. Advancing beyond a traditional historical perspective, Graff proposes an original, integrative understanding of the city's urban fabric and offers an explicit critique of the reactionary political foundations of modern Dallas: its tolerance for right-wing political violence, the endemic racism and xenophobia, and a planning model that privileges growth and monumental architecture at the expense of the environment and social justice.
Revealing the power of myths that have defined the city for so long, Graff presents a new interpretation of Dallas that both deepens our understanding of America's urban landscape and enables its residents to envision a more equitable, humane, and democratic future for all.
Winner of the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize Benjamin L. Hooks Award Finalist
“An insightful, powerful, and moving book.” —Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice
“Sturkey’s clear-eyed and meticulous book pulls off a delicate balancing act. While depicting the terrors of Jim Crow, he also shows how Hattiesburg’s black residents, forced to forge their own communal institutions, laid the organizational groundwork for the civil rights movement.” —New York Times
If you really want to understand Jim Crow—what it was and how African Americans rose up to defeat it—you should start by visiting Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the heart of the historic black downtown. There you can still see remnants of the shops and churches where, amid the violence and humiliation of segregation, men and women gathered to build a remarkable community. Hattiesburg takes us into the heart of this divided town and deep into the lives of families on both sides of the racial divide to show how the fabric of their existence was shaped by the changing fortunes of the Jim Crow South.
“Sturkey’s magnificent portrait reminds us that Mississippi is no anachronism. It is the dark heart of American modernity.” —Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk
“When they are at their best, historians craft powerful, compelling, often genre-changing pieces of history…William Sturkey is one of those historians…A brilliant, poignant work.” —Charles W. McKinney, Jr., Journal of African American History
In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 5–4 verdict in Milliken v. Bradley, thereby blocking the state of Michigan from merging the Detroit public school system with those of the surrounding suburbs. This decision effectively walled off underprivileged students in many American cities, condemning them to a system of racial and class segregation and destroying their chances of obtaining a decent education.In Hope and Despair in the American City, Gerald Grant compares two cities—his hometown of Syracuse, New York, and Raleigh, North Carolina—in order to examine the consequences of the nation’s ongoing educational inequities. The school system in Syracuse is a slough of despair, the one in Raleigh a beacon of hope. Grant argues that the chief reason for Raleigh’s educational success is the integration by social class that occurred when the city voluntarily merged with the surrounding suburbs in 1976 to create the Wake County Public School System. By contrast, the primary cause of Syracuse’s decline has been the growing class and racial segregation of its metropolitan schools, which has left the city mired in poverty.Hope and Despair in the American City is a compelling study of urban social policy that combines field research and historical narrative in lucid and engaging prose. The result is an ambitious portrait—sometimes disturbing, often inspiring—of two cities that exemplify our nation’s greatest educational challenges, as well as a passionate exploration of the potential for school reform that exists for our urban schools today.
For the first time in forty years, the story of one of America's most maligned cities is told in all its grit and glory. With its open-armed embrace of manufacturing, Newark, New Jersey, rode the Industrial Revolution to great prominence and wealth that lasted well into the twentieth century. In the postwar years, however, Newark experienced a perfect storm of urban troublesùpolitical corruption, industrial abandonment, white flight, racial conflict, crime, poverty. Cities across the United States found themselves in similar predicaments, yet Newark stands out as an exceptional case. Its saga reflects the rollercoaster ride of Everycity U.S.A., only with a steeper rise, sharper turns, and a much more dramatic plunge.
How Newark Became Newark is a fresh, unflinching popular history that spans the city's epic transformation from a tiny Puritan village into a manufacturing powerhouse, on to its desperate struggles in the twentieth century and beyond. After World War II, unrest mounted as the minority community was increasingly marginalized, leading to the wrenching civic disturbances of the 1960s. Though much of the city was crippled for years, How Newark Became Newark is also a story of survival and hope. Today, a real estate revival and growing population are signs that Newark is once again in ascendance.
Austin, Texas, is renowned as a high-tech, fast-growing city for the young and creative, a cool place to live, and the scene of internationally famous events such as SXSW and Formula 1. But as in many American cities, poverty and penury are booming along with wealth and material abundance in contemporary Austin. Rich and poor residents lead increasingly separate lives as growing socioeconomic inequality underscores residential, class, racial, and ethnic segregation.
In Invisible in Austin, the award-winning sociologist Javier Auyero and a team of graduate students explore the lives of those working at the bottom of the social order: house cleaners, office-machine repairers, cab drivers, restaurant cooks and dishwashers, exotic dancers, musicians, and roofers, among others. Recounting their subjects’ life stories with empathy and sociological insight, the authors show us how these lives are driven by a complex mix of individual and social forces. These poignant stories compel us to see how poor people who provide indispensable services for all city residents struggle daily with substandard housing, inadequate public services and schools, and environmental risks. Timely and essential reading, Invisible in Austin makes visible the growing gap between rich and poor that is reconfiguring the cityscape of one of America’s most dynamic places, as low-wage workers are forced to the social and symbolic margins.
Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences.
Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her close observations and often harrowing stories reveal the pernicious effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance—some of them small-time drug dealers, others just ordinary guys dealing with limited choices. All find the web of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch—and can’t help but be shocked—as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police (and, crucially, to keep away from friends and family so they can stay hidden); and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures.
While not denying the problems of the drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America's cities, Goffman makes it impossible for us to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response—the blighting of entire neighborhoods, and the needless sacrifice of whole generations.
Discusses actual corrupt practices in one small city, showing both the mechanisms of corruption and the fundamental questions they raise, the answers to which will apply in many cities. He describes the background and conditions that made it possible for a local syndicate to take over an Eastern industrial center, "Wincanton." He discusses the many factors which permitted the take-over, stressing the citizens' lack of concern about links between petty gambling and the undermining of their local government.
"[An] alarming report, a rigorous study packed with charts, tables, 1990 census data and [Jargowsky's] own extensive field work.... His careful analysis of enterprise zones, job-creation strategies, local economic development schemes and housing and tax policies rounds out an essential handbook for policy makers, a major contribution to public debate over ways to reverse indigence." —Publishers Weekly "A data-rich description and a conceptually innovative explanation of the spread of neighborhood poverty in the United States between 1970 and 1990. Urban scholars and policymakers alike should find Jargowsky's compelling arguments thought-provoking. "—Library Journal "A powerful book that allows us to really understand how ghettos have been changing over time and the forces behind these changes. It should be required reading of anyone who cares about urban poverty." —David Ellwood, Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Poverty and Place documents the geographic spread of the nation's ghettos and shows how economic shifts have had a particularly devastating impact on certain regions, particularly in the rust-belt states of the Midwest. Author Paul Jargowsky's thoughtful analysis of the causes of ghetto formation clarifies the importance of widespread urban trends, particularly those changes in the labor and housing markets that have fostered income inequality and segregated the rich from the poor. Jargowsky also examines the sources of employment that do exist for ghetto dwellers, and describes how education and family structure further limit their prospects. Poverty and Place shows how the spread of high poverty neighborhoods has particularly trapped members of poor minorities, who account for nearly four out of five ghetto residents. Poverty and Place sets forth the facts necessary to inform the public understanding of the growth of concentrated poverty, and confronts essential questions about how the spiral of urban decay in our nation's cities can be reversed.
In his compelling reinterpretation of American history, The Public and Its Possibilities, John Fairfieldargues that our unrealized civic aspirations provide the essential counterpoint to an excessive focus on private interests. Inspired by the revolutionary generation, nineteenth-century Americans struggled to build an economy and a culture to complement their republican institutions. But over the course of the twentieth century, a corporate economy and consumer culture undercut civic values, conflating consumer and citizen.
Fairfield places the city at the center of American experience, describing how a resilient demand for an urban participatory democracy has bumped up against the fog of war, the allure of the marketplace, and persistent prejudices of race, class, and gender. In chronicling and synthesizing centuries of U.S. history—including the struggles of the antislavery, labor, women’s rights movements—Fairfield explores the ebb and flow of civic participation, activism, and democracy. He revisits what the public has done for civic activism, and the possibility of taking a greater role.
In this age where there has been a move towards greater participation in America's public life from its citizens, Fairfield’s book—written in an accessible, jargon-free style and addressed to general readers—is especially topical.
From his role as Franklin Roosevelt’s “negro advisor” to his appointment under Lyndon Johnson as the first secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Robert Clifton Weaver was one of the most influential domestic policy makers and civil rights advocates of the twentieth century. This volume, the first biography of the first African American to hold a cabinet position in the federal government, rescues from obscurity the story of a man whose legacy continues to affect American race relations and the cities in which they largely play out.
Tracing Weaver’s career through the creation, expansion, and contraction of New Deal liberalism, Wendell E. Pritchett illuminates his instrumental role in the birth of almost every urban initiative of the period, from public housing and urban renewal to affirmative action and rent control. Beyond these policy achievements, Weaver also founded racial liberalism, a new approach to race relations that propelled him through a series of high-level positions in public and private agencies working to promote racial cooperation in American cities. But Pritchett shows that despite Weaver’s efforts to make race irrelevant, white and black Americans continued to call on him to mediate between the races—a position that grew increasingly untenable as Weaver remained caught between the white power structure to which he pledged his allegiance and the African Americans whose lives he devoted his career to improving.
Icons of Mexican cultural identity and America's melting pot ideal, taco trucks have transformed cityscapes from coast to coast. The taco truck radiates Mexican culture within non-Mexican spaces with a presence—sometimes desired, sometimes resented—that turns a public street corner into a bustling business.
Drawing on interviews with taco truck workers and his own skills as a geographer, Robert Lemon illuminates new truths about foodways, community, and the unexpected places where ethnicity, class, and culture meet. Lemon focuses on the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Columbus, Ohio, to show how the arrival of taco trucks challenge preconceived ideas of urban planning even as cities use them to reinvent whole neighborhoods. As Lemon charts the relationships between food practices and city spaces, he uncovers the many ways residents and politicians alike contest, celebrate, and influence not only where your favorite truck parks, but what's on the menu.
How do female municipal leaders influence policymaking in American cities? Can gender determine who gets a say in local politics or what programs cities fund? These are some of the questions raised and answered in Mirya Holman's provocative Women in Politics in the American City.
This book provides the first comprehensive evaluation of the influence of gender on the behavior of mayors and city council members in the United States. Holman considers the effects of gender in local, urban politics and analyzes how a leader's gender does-and does not-influence policy preferences, processes, behavior, and outcomes.
Holman effectively uses original survey data to evaluate policy attitudes, combined with observations of city council meetings and interviews with leaders and community members. In doing so, she demonstrates the importance of considering the gender of leaders in local office.
Women in Politics in the American City emphasizes that the involvement of women in local politics does matter and that it has significant consequences for urban policy as well as state and local democracy.