Weitzman News

Posted November 1, 2017

Francesca Russello Ammon’s ‘Bulldozer’ Earns Prestigious Mumford Prize

Francesca Russello Ammon, an assistant professor of city and regional planning who also teaches in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, has received 2017 Lewis Mumford Prize for her book Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape (Yale University Press, 2016). Given by the Society for American City & Regional Planning History (SACRPH), the Lewis Mumford Prize recognizes the best book in American planning history published during the previous two years.

Ammon collected the Prize at the 17th National Conference on Planning History, held the last week in October in Cleveland. Previous recipients include Elihu Rubin, D. Bradford Hunt, Carl Smith, Alison Isenberg, Adam Rome, Robert Fogelson, and M. Christine Boyer. Visit SACRPH.org for past and 2017 winners.

In the citation read by Larry Vale at the Conference Awards Ceremony, the committee said, “In making a place for the bulldozer in our urban narratives, the book provides a critical new perspective into the perennial issue of the relationship of technology to urbanism. This, of course, was a topic of no small interest to Lewis Mumford himself. The author of Technics and Civilization would have been delighted with Bulldozer.” Vale is SACRPH past president and Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at MIT. 


Bulldozer has received praise from publications both scholarly and general-interest. Writing for Choice, A. E. Krulikowsi says, “Ammon has penned a surprisingly engrossing story about an unlikely topic.” It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by reviewers for Booklist, Reviews in American History, Planning Perspectives, and Environmental History.

PennDesign’s Randall Mason, associate professor of city and regional planning and chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, earned an Honorable Mention in 2009 for The Once and Future New York: Historic Preservation and the Modern City (University of Minnesota Press, 2009).

Listen to an interview with Ammon on WNPR.org.