City and Regional Planning

CANCELED: Lizabeth Cohen

Thursday, April 9, 2020 6:00pm
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Meyerson Hall, B3

Lizabeth Cohen, Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Dept. of History, and Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, will speak on “Saving America’s Cities: A New Look at Urban Renewal” on Thursday, April 9th in Meyerson B3.

Urban Renewal of the 1950s through 1970s has acquired a very poor reputation, much of it deserved. But reducing it to an unchanging story of urban destruction misses some important legacies and genuinely progressive goals. Those include efforts to create more socially mixed communities, to involve suburbs—not just cities–in solving metropolitan inequality, and most importantly, to hold the federal government responsible for funding more affordable housing and other urban investments, rather than turn to the private sector. Cohen will revisit this history by following the long career of Edward J. Logue, who worked to revitalize New Haven in the 1950s, became the architect of the “New Boston” in the 1960s, and later led innovative organizations in New York at the state level and in the South Bronx. She will analyze the evolution in Logue’s thinking and actions, when and how he met resistance and accommodation by communities, and what he and many others who cared about cities learned in facing the challenges of urban revitalization during the suburban boom of the second half of the 20th century.

Lizabeth Cohen is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the Department of History at Harvard and a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor. From 2011 to 2018 she was the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for  Advanced Study at Harvard. Her most recent book is Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age. Her previous books include Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 and A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. She is also co-author with David Kennedy and Margaret O’Mara of a widely used college and advanced placement United States history textbook, The American Pageant. Cohen has been a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is also a former president of the Urban History Association.