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View Poll Results: When was the last decade of pre-war American cities?
1930s 9 36.00%
1940s 11 44.00%
1950s 2 8.00%
1960s 3 12.00%
1970s 0 0%
1980s 0 0%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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  #21  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 3:25 PM
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^ additionally, canadian cities didn't experience an influx of millions of poor southern blacks in the middle of the 20th century that kicked off wide-spread racial paranoia and sent the suburbanization engine into hyper-drive, as it did in northern US cities like chicago, philly, detroit, st. louis, cleveland, milwaukee, etc.
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  #22  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 3:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ additionally, canadian cities didn't experience an influx of millions of poor southern blacks in the middle of the 20th century that kicked off wide-spread racial paranoia and sent the suburbanization engine into hyper-drive, as it did in northern US cities like chicago, philly, detroit, st. louis, cleveland, milwaukee, etc.
And Canada didn't experience the growth of about 180 million people since the end of the war, they've only had to plan for growth of about 23 million additional people.
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  #23  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 4:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
Given “the war” started in 1939, there is a correct answer to this.

Well... that's still sort of up for debate. When we talk of post-war, we usually mean post-1945, not 1939 (or 1941 in the US's case). And since the big urban shift in America didn't really get going until the late 40s, I'd consider pre-war development to be anything from 1945 or earlier. Not that there was much built in the first half of the 40s mind you - but nonetheless, it wasn't Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland that changed the urban dynamic.

Still, it would've taken a while for those post-war changes to really start adding up, and as has been mentioned, the 60s (or at least early 60s) were probably the last time most of our cities resembled their pre-war selves moreso than the modern city.



https://www.blogto.com/city/2016/11/..._in_the_1960s/


https://www.blogto.com/city/2017/03/...ections-1960s/


By the 70s, things had emptied out, modern towers filled out the skyline, and the sparse, utilitarian concrete look had become the face of many cities.



https://www.blogto.com/city/2014/03/..._extravaganza/
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  #24  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 4:09 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Pre 1890 - The walking city
1890-1919 - Streetcar suburbia
1920-1945 - Interwar suburbia
1945 on - Postwar suburbia
This seems to be a good way of looking at it. So the whole interwar period is transitional?
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  #25  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 4:43 PM
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So while I haven't read all the thread responses, in the context of NYC, prewar and postwar mean exactly what you would think - literally pre- and post- U.S. involvement in WW2. Construction was essentially banned during WW2 so there shouldn't be housing development concurrent with U.S. war participation.

These are important terms in NYC residential real estate, because prewar homes have always had somewhat more cache, with higher ceilings, larger, grander unit sizes, and the best locations, at least compared to buildings constructed in the immediate postwar decades. The prewar premium is significant enough that some postwar buildings have been renovated to "look" like 1920's-1930's construction, at least from the outside.

And, in the modern era (say 1980's to present), in the best neighborhoods, most residential new construction tries to mimic, or at least reference, prewar design.

There was very little luxury apartment house construction prior to, say WWI, so there isn't a term for the really old stuff. It's grouped in with prewar.
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  #26  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 4:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Hindsight is 20/20 and society did not look at urban centers the way it does today. Like Pedestrian mentioned, these neighborhoods with spacious homes and new schools were an obvious choice for millions raising new families after the war. We simply neglected the urban areas altogether rather than develop both.
And cities weren't an option for postwar GIs. Putting aside the cultural changes and not wanting to be crammed into aging urban apartments, the GI Bill was limited to new construction SFH.

And most city propers were redlined anyways, so you couldn't get a conventional mortgage. The burbs were really the only option for upwardly mobile families.
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  #27  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 5:21 PM
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@Pedestrian and @JManc

I understand the thinking and perception at the time. I’m just saying that in hindsight, this was horrible. Just as it was to a lesser extent over here.
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  #28  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 5:28 PM
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To the rest of the world the US is still just a place where new York and California is. Africa, Europe and Asia are just places with a bunch of people to us though.
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  #29  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 6:16 PM
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Europe's post war boom is going to get very interesting in the EU-28 this century.

Post War 1950 pop. 379 million
2015 pop. 505 million.
By 2100:
Medium fertility situation it shrinks to 463 million
Constant fertility situation: 415 million
No change scenario: 358 million
Low fertility situation: 305 million

UK and France will by far lead in growth, while Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Greece and Romania will see sharp declines in population while being significantly older. Their system of government is likely to collapse or go through another correction in the form of war this century.
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  #30  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 6:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ additionally, canadian cities didn't experience an influx of millions of poor southern blacks in the middle of the 20th century that kicked off wide-spread racial paranoia and sent the suburbanization engine into hyper-drive, as it did in northern US cities like chicago, philly, detroit, st. louis, cleveland, milwaukee, etc.
Yep. And there was a racial aspect to the FHA as well. In its early days, it promoted segregation of housing. This was seen as the "progressive" viewpoint, as the alternative was a suggestion that FHA-backed properties would be exclusively whites only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
And Canada didn't experience the growth of about 180 million people since the end of the war, they've only had to plan for growth of about 23 million additional people.
I'm sorry, this is a dumb argument. Canada's average population growth in the postwar period was higher than the U.S. (about 3% per year in the 50s, as opposed to about 1.75% in the U.S.). Canada was starting from a smaller base, but the average Canadian metro grew more rapidly than the average U.S. metro. It's just Canada had a lot less metropolitan areas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docere View Post
This seems to be a good way of looking at it. So the whole interwar period is transitional?
Personally, I think so. If it wasn't for the Great Depression/WW2 causing a near halt in residential construction for 15 years, the 1920s would just be seen as the start of the suburban era. I mean, if you look at a lot of the neighborhoods built out during this era, like Riverside, IL, there's very little that really distinguishes it from postwar suburbia other than the housing styles. It has wide curvy streets, detached single-family homes, relatively generous lawns, and garages and driveways. Of course there's also an old railroad suburb "town center" area, but this isn't walkable to most of Riverside.

The big shift from the 1920s to the 1950s wasn't the style of construction, but the scale. The sort of developments which were only being built for the upper-middle and upper classes (since they were the only ones who could afford homes) in the 20s filtered down into the working classes. But the template was already there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
So while I haven't read all the thread responses, in the context of NYC, prewar and postwar mean exactly what you would think - literally pre- and post- U.S. involvement in WW2. Construction was essentially banned during WW2 so there shouldn't be housing development concurrent with U.S. war participation.

These are important terms in NYC residential real estate, because prewar homes have always had somewhat more cache, with higher ceilings, larger, grander unit sizes, and the best locations, at least compared to buildings constructed in the immediate postwar decades. The prewar premium is significant enough that some postwar buildings have been renovated to "look" like 1920's-1930's construction, at least from the outside.

And, in the modern era (say 1980's to present), in the best neighborhoods, most residential new construction tries to mimic, or at least reference, prewar design.

There was very little luxury apartment house construction prior to, say WWI, so there isn't a term for the really old stuff. It's grouped in with prewar.
Yeah, NYC is sort of in a class by itself, because the "interwar" housing is actually more urban since it's bigger scale and higher intensity, whereas the Victorian era housing was rowhouses and walkup tenements. Philly and Baltimore were also outliers, because they kept building rowhouses (albeit in progressively more "suburban" styles) up to around 1960.
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  #31  
Old Posted May 18, 2018, 6:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
Europe's post war boom is going to get very interesting in the EU-28 this century.

Post War 1950 pop. 379 million
2015 pop. 505 million.
By 2100:
Medium fertility situation it shrinks to 463 million
Constant fertility situation: 415 million
No change scenario: 358 million
Low fertility situation: 305 million

UK and France will by far lead in growth, while Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Greece and Romania will see sharp declines in population while being significantly older. Their system of government is likely to collapse or go through another correction in the form of war this century.
I'd be happy to move to Europe and help them out! I love Europe, and want to move there, but it's very hard to emigrate there and get a work visa.
Most of the US seems like hick country towns compared to the cities they have.
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  #32  
Old Posted May 19, 2018, 9:20 PM
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At the earliest, it's the 40's, that was before the highways and the massive urban renewal projects, redlining, segregation and white flight were just getting starting and weren't really noticeable at all. The 50's is a wash, you could argue 60's but the problems were clear as day by then and much of the damage already done but US cities were still mostly functional.

70's and 80's? LOL forget it, the US was in a total chaos cesspool during those times with barely any functionality, that's not to say that we still aren't a joke and a mess of a country today.
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  #33  
Old Posted May 20, 2018, 1:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
i think there is a disconnect here between how people were still actually living, and when the chickens finally came home to roost on urban disinvestment, bad urban renewal schemes, etc. the 1960s really were the last sort of functional decade for many cities in the sense of a region generally still centered on a downtown, with lots and lots of middle class people using transit and living on blocks with neighborhood commercial a quick stroll, etc..it's when the last streetcar lines were removed in many american regions, for instance, but also a decade of well intentioned attempts at civic/public realm renewal. the 1970s were totally downhill.

i don't know that this is supposed to be a discussion about what different like, american urban history 101 development eras are.
Agreed. I chose the 1960s for this reason.

The pre-war policies ended in the 1950s, but those decisions didn't manifest until the late-60s.
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  #34  
Old Posted May 20, 2018, 1:33 AM
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Minneapolis had some development in the '30s. As you go south in south Minneapolis you can see it because suddenly the houses become much smaller. It is sort of like the real estate version of tree rings. Here is an example, people think these are post war houses but most were built in 1931 - '32:

https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9201...7i13312!8i6656
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  #35  
Old Posted May 20, 2018, 1:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ additionally, canadian cities didn't experience an influx of millions of poor southern blacks in the middle of the 20th century that kicked off wide-spread racial paranoia and sent the suburbanization engine into hyper-drive, as it did in northern US cities like chicago, philly, detroit, st. louis, cleveland, milwaukee, etc.
Although it started later, the mass migration of non-Europeans from Asia and the Caribbean has been going on just about as long as the period of the Great Migration.

America has been a really fucking racist place, but I think this comment downplays how much bad policy decisions factored into urban abandonment in the U.S. I think the racism just prolonged the reckoning with those bad policy decisions rather than was the cause of them.
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  #36  
Old Posted May 20, 2018, 6:48 PM
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on the topic of efforts by the feds to improve 'the ghetto' in the 1960s:

This is a fascinating nugget about the B-BURG program in Boston:

https://www.universalhub.com/comment...#comment-18792

Quote:
In the spring of 1968, shortly after MLK's assassination, then-Mayor Kevin H. White announced a program, B-BURG(Boston Banks Urban Renewal Group), which was ostensibly geared towards helping low-income first-time African-American buyers obtain FHA (Federal Housing Admn.)-insured mortgages and attain the responsibility of home ownership for the first time. B-BURG was a consortium of some 20 Boston-area banks that operated in partnership with Real Estate Agents. For the B-BURG experiments, the Jewish areas of Roxbury, North Dorchester and Mattapan were chosen and effectively "red-lined", in many cases denying black homebuyers decent housing that they'd found, which were just afew blocks outside the "redlined" B-BURG areas.

Real Estate Agents frequently warned Jewish family to "sell and get out now before property values declined". With the advent of threats, arsons, break-ins and fire-bombings, most of the remaining Jewish families residing in the "redlined" B-BURG areas fled, as a consequence of the panic-induced blockbusting. Because of the overtly racist campaigning on the part of the banks and real estate agents affiliated with the
B-BURG program, B-BURG was nothing short of a disaster. I believe that had B-BURG allowed blacks and other minorities access to housing throughout the city, instead of engaging in the "redlining" of the Jewish areas, that neighborhoods and schools alike would've been much more integrated, much safer, and there would've been better schools for both non-white and white Boston public school students alike.

Far from helping people break out of the ghetto, B-BURG had only enlarged, expanded, extended and reinforced it, resulting in an impoverished, crime-and-drug-infested ghetto, which still exists today. In the late 1960's, then-Illinois governor Otto Kerner
warned "that the nation was developing into two nations, one black, one white, separate and unequal" Had efforts gotten underway to dismantle the ghettoes and create integrated neighborhoods, including here in Boston, there would not be so many problems and the crime rate would not be nearly as intense. I also believe that, had the B-BURG program been carried out differently, there would've been a far better chance of neutralizing the late Louise Day Hicks and her cronies on the Boston School Committee, thus derailing her/their crusade(s), thus eliminating the need for divisive policies such as mandated school busing, which made many people more angry, fearful and suspicious of each other.

Jules Witcover's book The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 Here in America, points this out very succintly by the following quotation "These kids don't understand that when they're killing each other, it's because thirty years ago, nobody did anything to alleviate the problems in their neighborhood(s)" This particular quote, I believe, says it all, in a nutshell.
This is a bit confusing..was B-BURG well-intentioned? were blacks the victims, or were Jews? Do people on this forum even remember efforts like B-BURG, or do they prefer to disappear it in a haze of ideological viewpoints on the past ?
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  #37  
Old Posted May 20, 2018, 7:01 PM
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more on the topic of white (Jewish) flight in boston:

http://americanjewisharchives.org/pu...00_reviews.pdf

Quote:
The difference between racial as opposed to ethnic neighborhood
transition is also clarified by a few brief comparisons. The
Jewish compared to the black move into Dorchester and Mattapan
was accomplished over a longer period of time, the decade of the
1920s, rather than in two to three years (1968-1970)~ and apparently
did not lead to violence or hostility. Similarly, the Italian move
out of the West End in the 1950s led to a scattering of people
throughout the Boston area, while blacks leaving Roxbury during
the 1960s settled almost exclusively in nearby Dorchester and then
Mattapan. Only complicity by lending institutions could have
accelerated and channeled such a move, the authors conclude.
The passion with which the authors uncover the machinations
of B-BURG and the politicians and condemn the Jewish cornmunity
elite, nevertheless, betrays a certain blindness to context. The
authors want us to believe, for example, that ordinary Jews would
not have moved had the bureaucrats and realtors not forced them
out. Yet neighborhoods like nearby Roxbury had been abandoned
by Jews before the existence of a B-BURG and FHA insurance,
partly because Jews feared black violence, and partly because successive
generations of Jews changed their beliefs and lifestyles.
The authors' nostalgia for ethnic ambiance often substitutes for a
statistical analysis of why Jews left Dorchester and Mattapan. The
pace of neighborhood change was no doubt quickened by B-BURG
loans and unscrupulous realtors. But would not Mattapan's ethnic
ambiance have faded as the children moved elsewhere? Brief references
in the introduction to similar rapid neighborhood
turnovers in locales like Mount Airy in Philadelphia are meant to
reinforce the authors' thesis. But no evidence of collusion by
bankers elsewhere is cited to prove the point. Furthermore, what
the ethnic ambiance of Newton and Brookline are like, whether
they meet the needs of a new generation, is an issue that is not discussed.
This is not the question the authors have addressed, but to
replace nostalgia with serious social analysis perhaps they should
have.
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