Progressive Cities and Neighborhood Planning

Guide and Comment on a Digital Collection

Welcome to our online resource about progressive cities and neighborhood planning.

Purpose. In the late 1960s, U.S. cities faced urban policies that tolerated job losses and neighborhood decline. It was effectively a national retreat from public sector commitments established in the New Deal period, and it soon became the dominant modus operandi in city and nation.

But a few cities fought back by opening their city halls to wider participation and by redistributing resources to poor neighborhoods. Our purpose is to establish the reality and preserve the memory of these efforts.

This website links to several kinds of resources, but we present our main content under three topics:

CITIES were our beginning point: initially Berkeley, Burlington, Cleveland, Hartford and Santa Monica as the result of extensive research (interviews, key documents) that resulted in the publication of The Progressive City (1986), later Boston and Chicago — Activists in City Hall (2010).  Alongside these students produced theses and dissertations, and other scholars deposited materials on other cities.

NEIGHBORHOODS were as important as cities, though we are only at the beginning stages of organizing the collection.

PEOPLE & ORGANIZATIONS. Alongside our research on cities, we made connection with cross-cutting national organizations, notably the Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies. In 2012 the Cornell University Library — which already was hosting the physical collection — began posting items from the Conference in a digital collection with the same name: “Progressive Cities and Neighborhood Planning.” Later we added the beginnings of coverage of other cross-cutting organizations and collections: Planners Network, Planners for Equal Opportunity, and the Paul Davidoff Collection.


Collateral Resources

Digital Collection. This website includes “pages” but also links to other resources – principally a digital collection of the same name managed by Cornell University Library, Digital Scholarship and Preservation Services. That Collection consists of documents and other items such as video recordings, interview, seminar and lecture transcripts, and publications that are in the public domain or for which we have obtained permission. A site map indicates these resources with the URL for each.

The Collection. This website is adapted from an earlier version first put online in 2005 that was based on a physical collection on the same topic in the Rare and Manuscript Collections division (RMC) of the Cornell Library — Guide to the Progressive Cities and Neighborhood Planning Collection, 1969-2005.

Posted Comment. The “blog” feature made it possible to incorporate comment on the materials included in the collections. (It was not a blog in the usual, up-to-date sense.) We posted a brief “History of the Project So Far” in 2013 that expands on this up to that time.

Bibliography. Material in the site suggests many references that cannot be posted for copyright reasons or our own limitations of time or funding. Where possible these lacks are compensated by a bibliography, updated from time to time.

Contributors & Contacts.