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History & Theory of Planning: Fordism, Suburbanization, and Urban Renewal


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History & Theory of Planning: Fordism, Suburbanization, and Urban Renewal

  1. 1. PLAN 3022: Planning History & Theory Week 07: Fordism, Suburbanization and Urban Renewal Anuradha Mukherji Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
  2. 2. POSTWAR CITIES: FOUNDATIONS OF SUBURBIA 1. Major planning initiatives – Combination of federal, state and local efforts • Funding and some legislative guidelines by the federal government • Must of the initiative, detailed planning, and implementation from state and local governments 2. Expansion of Municipal planning • Prosperity of post-war period meant more funds • Suburbanization process stimulated by federal government: federal grant, urban renewal, and other programs that triggered the expansion of planning agencies POSTWAR PERIOD
  3. 3. 3. New roads to open up land outside the reach of the old trolley and commuter rail routes • 1956 Interstate and Defense Highways Act marks the beginning of freeway suburbanization • Huge public works program - $41 billion for 41,000 miles of new roads • Planners argued: New roads should penetrate central cities, not bypass it. Create new corridors of accessibility from city centers to potential suburbs 4. Zoning of land uses • To produce uniform residential tracts with stable property values • Began in New York city to secure investment in property. • Historic Supreme Court decision (Village of Euclid et al vs Ambler Realty Co.) confirmed validity of zoning – ‘Public welfare served by zoning was the enhancement of the community’s property values’ POSTWAR PERIOD
  4. 4. 5. Government guaranteed mortgages • To make possible long-repayment low-interest mortgages that were affordable by families of modest incomes • Previously, typical US mortgage was for 5-10 years at 6-7% interest. • HOLC (Home Owners Loan Corporation) created to stem farm foreclosures, introduced the long-term mortgage • The FHA (Federal Housing Authority) established soon after, given powers to insure longer-term mortgage loans by private lenders for housing with down payment of 10% at 2-3% interest for a period of 25-30 years 6. Postwar baby boom • A sudden surge in demand for family home where young children could be raised POSTWAR PERIOD
  5. 5. POSTWAR PERIOD 8. Housing Shortage • Accumulated shortage of housing at end of WWII • About 2-4.4 million families sharing and another half million in non-family quarters 9. Industry Response • New breed of builder: Large-scale, economy and efficiency conscious, capable of building houses like any other consumer product • Levitt & Sons created suburb based on new techniques: Flow production, division of labor, standardized designs and parts, new materials and tools, maximum use of prefabricated components, easy credit, and good marketing • Levitt & Sons created more than 17,000 homes housing 82,000 people, largest single housing development in history
  6. 6. POSTWAR PERIOD 10. G.I. Bill of Rights • Benefits program for WW II veterans • Also know as Marshall Plan for America, A Magic Carpet to the Middle Class
  7. 7. POSTWAR PERIOD BENEFIT ONE • College education for returning WW II veterans
  8. 8. POSTWAR PERIOD BENEFIT TWO • Loans to buy homes an start businesses
  9. 9. POSTWAR PERIOD BENEFIT THREE • A year of unemployment compensation IMPACT • By 1951, 8 million returning veterans received the benefits
  10. 10. POSTWAR HOUSING LEVITTOWN PLANNED SUBURBAN COMMUNITY • Levitt & Sons • Long-Island, New York, 1947 • Housing for returning WWII veterans • At the end of 1945, the US needed about 5 million houses • In 1947, about 6,000 home were built (2,000, then 4,000)
  11. 11. POSTWAR HOUSING LEVITTOWN PLANNED SUBURBAN COMMUNITY • Mass produced suburban tract housing • Re-opened an abandoned rail line to bring construction materials to site • Built new homes on concrete slabs, used precut and shipped lumber from own lumbar yard • Eliminated basements • Use non-union contractors
  12. 12. POSTWAR HOUSING • Community services: Own schools, phone service, streetlights, and postal delivery service within the community
  13. 13. POSTWAR HOUSING LEVITTOWN PLANNED SUBURBAN COMMUNITY • In 1949, more choices of modern houses • By 1951, total of 17,447 homes in Levittown and immediate areas
  14. 14. POSTWAR HOUSING OTHER LEVITTOWN COMMUNITIES • Long Island success led to the development to two more Levittown communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey • An iconic suburban development: the best and worst of post-war America • Symbol of innovation • Rigidly segregated
  15. 15. POSTWAR HOUSING Levittown houses have today either expanded or remodeled
  16. 16. PROBLEMATIC ELEMENTS OF FHA  FHA took over from HOLC the appraising of neighborhoods, redlining those deemed to be undesirable, in practice, the whole of American inner cities  Central objective of FHA identical to that of zoning – guarantee the security of residential real-estate values  Mechanism of exclusion employed to divert investment massively into new suburban house building at the expense of the central city  Segregation and racism institutionalized in federal policy CONCLUDING POINTS