Francesca Russello Ammon

Assistant Professor
City & Regional Planning


B.S.E., Civil Engineering, Princeton University
M.E.D. (Master of Environmental Design), Yale School of Architecture
M.A., History, Yale University
Ph.D., American Studies, Yale University

Francesca Ammon is an historian of the built environment. Her teaching, research, and writing focus on the changing shapes and spaces of the twentieth-century American city. She grounds her interdisciplinary approach to this subject in the premise that the landscape materializes social relations, cultural values, and economic processes. In particular, Professor Ammon is interested in the ways that visual culture informs environmental understanding, the relationships between cities and nature, the politics of place and space, and the roles of business and the state in shaping the physical world.

Before joining the PennDesign faculty, Professor Ammon was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She has also held the Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship at the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and long-term fellowships as a Whiting Fellow in the Humanities, Ambrose Monell Foundation Fellow in Technology and Democracy at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, and John E. Rovensky Fellow with the Business History Conference. She is currently a member of the board of the Society for American City & Regional Planning History (SACRPH).


Professor Ammon is currently writing a history of bulldozers, building demolition, and land clearance during World War II and the postwar decades. This project is forthcoming from Yale University Press. She is also working on an article about the revitalization of post-industrial cities, which looks in particular at Asbury Park, New Jersey.


Francesca Russello Ammon, "Unearthing Benny the Bulldozer: The Culture of Clearance in Postwar Children's Books," Technology and Culture 53:2 (April 2012): 306-336.

Francesca Russello Ammon, "Commemoration Amid Criticism: The Mixed Legacy of Urban Renewal in Southwest Washington, D.C.," Journal of Planning History 8:3 (August 2009): 175-220.

Francesca Russello Ammon, "Refuge, Resort, and Ruin: Real Estate Development and the Identity of Asbury Park, New Jersey," in Liberty and Leisure in North America, ed. Pierre Lagayette (Paris: Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2008): 41-57.


Professor Ammon teaches Introduction to Planning History, as well as seminars on urban environmental history, photography and the city, suburbs, urban renewal, and research methods for studying the urban landscape.