Introduction to City Planning 3: Midcentury Modern (1940-1979)



Tuesday, August 20, 2019, midnight
Tuesday, December 31, 2024, midnight CST

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Apocalypse. World War II shatters cities and societies from London to Tokyo. In those areas untouched by the bombs, other massive transformations are underway. American cities, for example, were reshaped by urban renewal and the older urban fabric destroyed by planners, not enemy firebombers. In some cases, the results were similar. The war gave rise to new and bold visions for planning and, for some, an opportunity to make a better world. Ideas in philosophy and even science fiction (such as futurism) joined new ways of planning and thinking about urban space. Planning begins to move from strictly ‘rational’ to incorporate a human dimension, and grassroots planning is born in response to the scale of modernism. Meanwhile, as the colonial world little by little gains independence, new hybrids form and alternative modernities emerge. Cities such as Tokyo would become hubs of the urban future, and the great cities of the Global South begin to challenge the established order. Civil rights would gain importance to planning in the United States and elsewhere. Planners would be some of the most notable actors in civil rights movements. As part of rebuilding, state housing and state infrastructure were provided at a massive scale. Meanwhile, technologies like air conditioning and the growth of commercial air travel mean that large cities can form in new places, hot and far from water.

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Jason Luger

Jason Luger is a lecturer in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, College of Environmental Design and an urban geographer. His academic research focuses on the production of urban space and urban spatial politics. He has also been a planning and economic development practitioner, working in the public and private sectors in the United States and globally. He is the co-editor of the book “Art and the City” (Routledge, 2017) and has authored more than a dozen peer reviewed publications. At UC Berkeley, he teaches the undergraduate courses “Introduction to City Planning CP110”, and “The Urban Community, CP118AC”. He also has taught in urban studies at the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University.