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History & Theory of Planning: Postmodern Critiques of Modernism

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Postmodern critiques

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History & Theory of Planning: Postmodern Critiques of Modernism

  1. 1. PLAN 3022: Planning History & Theory Week 08: Postmodern Critique of Modernism Anuradha Mukherji Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
  2. 2. Urban Renewal & Freeways
  3. 3. Poor inner-city neighborhoods targeted for redevelopment / urban renewal and construction of freeways • Push communities out, either into public housing or elsewhere • Demolish the site • Commercial development • Housing for the middle class and wealthy • Construction of freeways Urban Renewal
  4. 4. 1. Changing economy - Industrial to post-industrial - Economy more horizontal – connected by highway and automobile - War based industries difficult to locate in dense cities - Decline of tax base 2. Federal programs - Title One, Urban Renewal Program, hands construction of low- income housing to private developers - Title Two, FHA insuring mortgage of single family homes not multi-family units, money flows into suburbs at the expense of cities - 1956 Highway Act - 1949 Federal Housing Act Urban Renewal in Cities
  5. 5. 3. Result - Working class needs dismissed and secondary to that of middle class and wealthy - Slum and traffic congestion/transport needs used to justify urban renewal - Concentration of poor communities, isolated in inner cities without opportunity for economic and social mobility Urban Renewal in Cities
  6. 6. “Decent home and suitable living environment for every American family” 1. Providing federal financing for slum clearance 2. Authorizing FHA to insure mortgages 3. Extending federal funds to build public housing units, no money for maintenance 4. Permitting FHA to provide financing for rural homeowners 5. Does not insure multifamily housing – making it difficult to get banks to fund repair or revitalization of existing properties in inner cities Federal Housing Act Amendment (1954) 1. Federal funds for land acquisition and development, not for running costs or maintenance of existing properties 2. Commercial redevelopment of blighted areas and housing for middle class Federal Housing Act (1949)
  7. 7. Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project
  8. 8. • Located north of St.Louis, Missouri downtown and created under the Housing Act of 1949 • Le Corbusier’s conception of a modernist city of high rises was influential • FHA’s restrictive cost guidelines for public housing construction met the construction of a high-rise building • About 571/2 acre development, 2,870 low-cost rental units, about 12,000 tenants • Segregationist policies: Pruitt (20 buildings) for Black residents; Igoe (11 buildings) for White residents • Residents began moving in during 1954. Construction completed in 1956 Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project
  9. 9. • First draft in 1947: a mixture of high-rise, mid-rise, and walk-up structures. This exceeded the federal government’s maximum allowable cost per unit • Final draft: 33 identical eleven-story buildings, a result of strict economy and efficiency drive within the FHA Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project
  10. 10. Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project
  11. 11. • 1958: Begins to deteriorate • 1972: Three buildings demolished • 1973: HUD decides to demolish the rest • 1976: All buildings demolished Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project
  12. 12. Urban Renewal Critiques 1. Uprooting and relocating communities, problems with relocation 2. Destruction of tight knit community fabric and their socio-economic networks 3. Destruction of economically viable and socially vibrant communities 4. Creation of a worse ‘SLUM’ in place of the one replaced 5. Urban renewal accumulated many enemies by 1973, Congress had to terminate the program
  13. 13. Urban Renewal Critiques Jacobs’s book presents a counter argument to modern planning with a vision of what a city really is as opposed to what it should be. Primary criticisms of modern planning: 1. Lack of understanding of an urban economy 2. Big top-down land plans that do not capture the essence of urbanism and what urban life is really like 3. Do not understand the value of a city block 4. Highly paternalistic – assumes that people are not smart enough to know what is good for them 5. Approaches the problems of the city as a transportation problem that has to be solved through engineering and traffic planning 6. Challenges basic assumptions of modern planning – that new is superior 7. Argues that the built environment ties people together and to the history of a city
  14. 14. The 1974 Act The 1974 Housing and Community Development Act 1. Terminated the Urban Renewal, Public Housing and Model Cities programs 2. Substituted with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Section 8 program 3. Section 8: Subsidies to consumers of housing, rather than for construction 4. CDBG: Economic contribution rather than physical improvement
  15. 15. Highway Planning & Building Factors 1. Rapid suburbanization, movement of population and economy from city centers to suburbs 2. Massive increase in automobile ownership 3. Increase in truck transportation relative to rail
  16. 16. Highway Planning & Building Toll Roads & Free Roads in 1939 and Interregional Highways in 1944 1. Through the Bureau of Public Roads 2. Recommended a 26,700 mile interregional highway system connecting and penetrating major American cities 3. Key elements of the regional freeway systems laid out – i.e., inner-ring and outer- ring freeways and connection to CBD area 4. No corresponding plans for other modes of transportation such as public transit
  17. 17. • Initial scope of 40,000 miles • 1945-1947, tentative routes for the interstate laid by Bureau of Public Roads Interstate Highway System (1944)
  18. 18. Late 1940s – Early 1950s Debates among planners and highway engineers 1. On the wisdom of urban freeway building and the proper role of mass transit in the post-war city 2. Urban Freeways (American Institute of Planners, Committee on Urban Transportation, 1947) - Proposals for combining rail and bus transit with urban freeway system, only very few realized - Poor coordination between private transit operators and highway officials - Transit planning not seen as a public responsibility deserving of federal funds - Highway funds exclusively for highway construction

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