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urban history



  • Thirty Years after Mount Pleasant Erupted, a Push for Better Treatment Persists

    by Mike Amezcua

    Central American refugees living in Washington's Mount Pleasant neighborhood had fled US-backed repression but found harsh treatment by immigration authorities and local police. In 1991 frustration erupted. Today, the unrest still raises questions about citizenship and belonging. 



  • What History Can Teach Banks About Making Change

    by Destin Jenkins

    "Celebrating Juneteenth and recruiting more Black bankers is one thing. It is quite another for financial firms to use their unique power to actively undermine the systems that perpetuate racial inequality."



  • Pandemic Lessons From the Era of ‘Les Miserables’

    Medical historian Ed Cohen describes the 1832 cholera outbreak as "imperial blowback," as the disease arrived in Europe from their colonies. Nearly 2% of the city's population died, but the aftermath saw an increase in migration from the countryside and a flourishing of public health-oriented planning. 



  • The Perils Of Participation

    by Amanda Phillips de Lucas

    The construction of US Highway 40 in West Baltimore blighted a Black community with far-reaching results. But it's important to understand that road planners used a selective idea of participatory planning to manufacture community consent for the project. 



  • Urban Democracy's Documentarian

    Frederick Wiseman's documentaries valorize not only the institutions but the labor that makes local government function against the odds. 



  • How White Fears of ‘Negro Domination’ Kept D.C. Disenfranchised for Decades

    George Derek Musgrove and Chris Myers-Asch, authors of "Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital" have recently written a report for a nonprofit advocating DC statehood. They argue that Congressional efforts to disempower DC residents after 1871 have reflected White fears of Black political power. 



  • The Health Care Crucible (Review)

    Gabriel Winant's "The Next Shift" examines the shift from industrial manufacturing toward care work as the economic base of the Rust Belt, where profit comes from treating the old, sick, and poor of one generation of the working class through the labor of the next generation.



  • How a Plan to Save Buildings Fell Apart

    The imperatives of historic preservation are often at cross-purposes with the goals of community organizations. Does the failure of one preservation plan in Chicago offer lessons for the future?



  • What Manhattan Beach’s Racist Land Grab Really Meant

    by Alison Rose Jefferson

    Debates over  the redress of past racial injustice must acknowledge that some past actions have harmed communities in ways that can't be repaired, including the loss of space for communal leisure or equal access to everyday pleasures. 



  • The Age of Care (Review of Gabriel Winant's "The Next Shift")

    by Nelson Lichtenstein

    Labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein says Gabriel Winant's book on the rise of the care industry is the story of community change in the last 50 years, with union retiree health care dollars reabsorbed by capital through the treatment of diseases of despair provoked by deindustrialization (with care provided by a workforce of women and people of color).



  • The Myth And The Truth About Interstate Highways

    by Sarah Jo Peterson

    A historian with experience in transportation planning takes a close look at the way that canonical texts in the highway planning field have erased the politics of road building and the way that the interstate highway system was always tied to urban land use planning and urban renewal.