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Making a Better World: Public Housing, the Red Scare, and the Direction of Modern Los Angeles

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Making a Better World: Public Housing, the Red Scare, and the Direction of Modern Los Angeles Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

 
During the 1990s, Los Angeles - like many other cities across America - began demolishing public housing projects that had come to symbolize decades of failed urban policies.  But public housing was not always regarded with such disdain.  In the years surrounding World War II, it had been a popular New Deal program, viewed as a force for positive social change and supported by a broad coalition of civic, labor, religious, and community organizations.  Socially conscious architects and planners developed innovative and livable projects that embodied the latest theories in urban design.  With sharp historical perspective, Making a Better World traces the rise and fall of a public housing ethic in Los Angeles and its impact on the city's built environment.
 
In the caustic political atmosphere of Joseph McCarthy's America, public housing opponents accused the city's housing authority of communist infiltration, effectively eliminating the left from debates over the city's development.  In place of public housing, conservative forces promoted a pro-private growth agenda that redefined urban renewal and reshaped modern Los Angeles.  No conventional public housing projects have been constructed in Los Angeles since 1955.
 
In this era of skyrocketing housing prices, especially in urban areas, Don Parson's examination not only gives us the recent history of a city, but also opens up a new debate on a current national crisis in providing shelter for low-income Americans.

Book News Annotation:

When Joe McCarthy took aim at Hollywood his sights stretched to the relatively new city of Los Angeles. One of the victims of that wider view was the concept of public housing and, to some extent, the social reform that came with it. Independent scholar Parson describes how those who supported McCarthy and opposed public housing accused authorities of communist infiltration, a charge that stopped these popular projects cold, kept housing in private hands, and created a very conservative political base. Parson describes the support by civic and religious leaders for housing, the accusations and media war that followed, and the ramifications for housing and the citizens of LA, where today the classes are worlds apart and on a good day a million dollars might get you four walls and a roof.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

When Joe McCarthy took aim at Hollywood his sights stretched to the relatively new city of Los Angeles. One of the victims of that wider view was the concept of public housing and, to some extent, the social reform that came with it. Independent scholar Parson describes how those who supported McCarthy and opposed public housing accused authorities of communist infiltration, a charge that stopped these popular projects cold, kept housing in private hands, and created a very conservative political base. Parson describes the support by civic and religious leaders for housing, the accusations and media war that followed, and the ramifications for housing and the citizens of LA, where today the classes are worlds apart and on a good day a million dollars might get you four walls and a roof. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

During the 1990s, Los Angeles - like many other cities across America - began demolishing public housing projects that had come to symbolize decades of failed urban policies. But public housing was not always regarded with such disdain. In the years surrounding World War II, it had been a popular New Deal program, viewed as a force for positive social change and supported by a broad coalition of civic, labor, religious, and community organizations. Socially conscious architects and planners developed innovative and livable projects that embodied the latest theories in urban design. With sharp historical perspective, Making a Better World traces the rise and fall of a public housing ethic in Los Angeles and its impact on the city's built environment. In the caustic political atmosphere of Joseph McCarthy's America, public housing opponents accused the city's housing authority of communist infiltration, effectively eliminating the left from debates over the city's development. In place of public housing, conservative forces promoted a pro-private growth agenda that redefined urban renewal and reshaped modern Los Angeles. No conventional public housing projects have been constructed in Los Angeles since 1955. In this era of skyrocketing housing prices, especially in urban areas, Don Parson's examination not only gives us the recent history of a city, but also opens up a new debate on a current national crisis in providing shelter for low-income Americans.

Synopsis:

Chronicles the demise of public housing and social democratic reform.

About the Author

Don Parson is an independent scholar based in Thousands Oaks, California. He is the author of numerous articles on urban politics, planning history, and housing. Kevin Starr is professor of history at the University of Southern California and state librarian emeritus. He is the author or editor of many books, including the six-volume Americans and the California Dream series.

Table of Contents

Contents Foreword Kevin StarrPreface Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction: Of Politics, Public Housing Projects, and the Modern City 1. The New Day of Decent Housing: Building a Public Housing Program 2. Homes for Heroes: Public Housing During World War II 3. David and Goliath: The Struggle to Expand the Public Housing Program 4. The Headline-Happy Public Housing War: Public Housing and McCarthyism 5. Old Town, Lost Town, Shabby Town, Crook Town: Bunker Hill and the Modern Cityscape 6. This Modern Marvel: Chavez Ravine and the Politics of Modernism Conclusion: Thus the Sixties Reap the Folly of the Fifties Chronology of Significant Public Housing Events in Los Angeles Appendix A: The File on Frank Wilkinson Appendix B: Sources Notes Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780816643707
Foreword:
Starr, Kevin
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Foreword by:
Starr, Kevin
Foreword:
Starr, Kevin
Author:
Starr, Kevin
Author:
Parson, Don
Author:
Parson, Donald Craig
Subject:
History
Subject:
Policy
Subject:
Public Policy - Social Policy
Subject:
United States - State & Local - West
Subject:
Public Policy - City Planning & Urban Dev.
Subject:
Los Angeles (Calif.) History.
Subject:
Public housing -- California -- Los Angeles.
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
20050931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
17 halftones, 1 line art, 7 tables, 5 ma
Pages:
312
Dimensions:
9 x 5.88 x 0.7 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » City Specific
History and Social Science » World History » General

Making a Better World: Public Housing, the Red Scare, and the Direction of Modern Los Angeles New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$33.75 Backorder
Product details 312 pages University of Minnesota Press - English 9780816643707 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
During the 1990s, Los Angeles - like many other cities across America - began demolishing public housing projects that had come to symbolize decades of failed urban policies. But public housing was not always regarded with such disdain. In the years surrounding World War II, it had been a popular New Deal program, viewed as a force for positive social change and supported by a broad coalition of civic, labor, religious, and community organizations. Socially conscious architects and planners developed innovative and livable projects that embodied the latest theories in urban design. With sharp historical perspective, Making a Better World traces the rise and fall of a public housing ethic in Los Angeles and its impact on the city's built environment. In the caustic political atmosphere of Joseph McCarthy's America, public housing opponents accused the city's housing authority of communist infiltration, effectively eliminating the left from debates over the city's development. In place of public housing, conservative forces promoted a pro-private growth agenda that redefined urban renewal and reshaped modern Los Angeles. No conventional public housing projects have been constructed in Los Angeles since 1955. In this era of skyrocketing housing prices, especially in urban areas, Don Parson's examination not only gives us the recent history of a city, but also opens up a new debate on a current national crisis in providing shelter for low-income Americans.
"Synopsis" by ,
Chronicles the demise of public housing and social democratic reform.
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