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urban history



  • The Lost Art of Maintenance

    The struggles of the New York transit system to preserve the useful life of its train cars, and to prevent problems before they occur, reflects deep and troubling changes in society's relationship to infrastructure and labor power. 



  • Mr. Biden, Tear Down this Highway

    It's time to stop expanding the urban highways that divide communities, perpetuate racial segregation and harm health, and to consider removing them entirely, argues one architectural designer. 



  • What's Causing a Half Century of "Black Flight"?

    Despite political rhetoric from some quarters, suburbanization has been undermining the association of Black America with central cities – in large part because of the disinvestment and abandonment of urban communities. 



  • Landmark Building Embodies Past and Present of DC's Black Community

    The True Reformer Building in Washington is likely the first in the nation to be designed, funded, built and owned by African Americans as part of a comprehensive mission of economic and social self-reliance and uplift in the early 20th century. 



  • The Democratic Possibilities of Cruising

    by Jack Parlett

    As a practice, cruising exemplifies the possibilities of urban culture by bringing people into contact with strangers and enabling them to recognize common desires. The history of crusing shows it's not just about sex, but about democracy. 



  • Are Co-Ops the Lost Solution to the Housing Crisis?

    by Annemarie Sammartino

    At its 1966 opening, New York's Co-Op City was heralded as the solution to the nation's affordable housing crisis. What went right, what went wrong, and can it help guide better housing policy today?



  • Documentary Shows the Choices that Led to Deadly Streets

    Blaming distraction—by drivers, pedestrians or cyclists—for climbing road fatalities is a cop-out, says Jennifer Boyd. Americans need to be willing to question the basic design of roads and the priority they give to moving cars fast if they are serious about reducing road deaths. 



  • A Lost Archive of DC Life at Midcentury

    Rescued from a dumpster minutes before the arrival of the garbage truck, Ray Honda's photographs captured DC at the dawn of the civil rights era and the vibrant Black culture of the city. 



  • Noir Politics in Mike Davis's "City of Quartz"

    by Charlotte Rosen

    The late Mike Davis wrote his influential and controversial history of Los Angeles as a noir thriller, exposing the greed and corruption beneath the sunny surface. 



  • The Walls of Troy: Pandemic and Exclusion at an Urban University

    by Arabella Delgado

    The pandemic has clarified and underscored ways that the University of Southern California, like most private urban campuses, has long sought to maximize the separation between its campus and the surrounding community. 



  • The Right Celebrated Bernhard Goetz as the Kyle Rittenhouse of the 80s

    by Pia Beumer

    In the context of economic turmoil, urban crisis, and racial division, a broad swath of the American public made Goetz a heroic symbol of restored white masculinity after he shot four Black teens who asked him for money on the New York subway.



  • The Second Destruction of Tulsa's Black Community

    by Karlos K. Hill

    Photographer Donald Thompson has set out to capture a visual history of Tulsa's Greenwood district, an African American community decimated first by the 1921 race massacre and then by urban renewal in the 1970s. Historian Karlos Hill interviews him about his work. 



  • The Ideology of the Bicycle

    The bicycle since its invention has found itself at the center of debates about who public space is for.