As cities and universities grew together, their interactions and conflicts intensified and evolved. The growth of American higher education inflected the so-called “decline” of the American city, especially in the post-WWII urban renewal era. Neighborhood residents, university planners, and policymakers constructed urban “blight” in order to meet various ends, often at the expense of one another’s goals. The usefulness of the tropes of “urban decline” and “blight” for various actors’ divergent aims elided periods of intense conflict at the local level over urban futures. This contested moment produced both a falsified memory of the pre-WWII period as a “Golden Age” of university-city cooperation (when, in many cases, this was far from true) and also charged a late 1990s-present institutional and city planning focus on the possibilities of revitalization. Today—as American cities again place their hopes in a plethora of re- words: reclaim, revitalize, renewal, and redevelopment—my dissertation redirects attention to the processes of knowledge production, institutional growth, and community protests that have underpinned past and contemporary cities since the postwar period.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2016. Major: History. Advisors: Donna Gabaccia, Steven Ruggles. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 320 pages.
“Is This a Real Neighborhood?”: Universities, Urban Development, and Neighborhood Change in the Twentieth Century United States.
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