Redesigning the American Ghetto: The Architecture of Public Housing in Postwar America (1949-1974)


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art


My dissertation examines the relationship between the architecture of social housing in the United States and its image, primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. I discuss the high-rise superblock developments which grew in the Eastern and Midwestern cities in the 1940s and 1950s, and then the critical responses to these designs, which became prevalent in the 1960s and early 1970s. Throughout this period, the design of public housing was inseparable from its image: it was conceived in order to communicate specific social, political, and economic messages to viewers and residents in the postwar city. The dissertation begins with the federal Housing Act of 1949 and ends with Nixon's termination of federal support for the program in 1974.