Charles Abrams, “The Subsidy and Housing”

Category : Economics, Urban Studies

The subsidy is only a single aspect of housing policy; yet the form it ultimately takes will influence more than the housing program alone. In all its long history, both here and abroad, the subsidy has never been more significant than it is currently. It involves more than monetary outlay. The kind of economy in which we are to live may be influenced by the policy we devise for its dispensation.

Source: The Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics 22.2 (May 1946): 131- 139

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Kenneth Craven, “Greenwich Village and the Soul of a Woman (on Clara Mayer)”

Category : Urban Studies, Women

Clara Meyer, the heart, brains and soul of the New School for Social Research from 1919 until 1960 hired me as registrar, that is, bean counter, during those early WWII years while I was attending Columbia College and awaiting my call up in the U.S. Army Reserve Corps. She wore her black hair in maiden halo braids and could hardly see across the desk through the thickest glasses; from the first moment of that first interview, I stared wide-eyed at alma mater to the School. She herself had become the institution which thankfully lacked overbearing administrators and comfortable tenured faculty. An institutionless institution!

Source: New School Archives (2001)

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Jane Jacobs, “The Uses of Sidewalks: Safety”

Category : Urban Studies

Streets in cities serve many purposes besides carrying vehicles, and city sidewalks – the pedestrian parts of the streets – serve many purposes besides carrying pedestrians. These uses are bound up with circulation but are not identical with it and in their own right they are the least as basic as circulation to the proper workings of cities.

Source: The Death and Life of American Cities (NY: Random House, 1961)

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Lewis Mumford, “What is a city?”

Category : Urban Studies

Most of our housing and city planning has been handicapped because those who have undertaken the work have had no clear notion of the social functions of the city. They sought to derive these functions from a cursory survey of the activities and interests of the contemporary urban scene. And they did not, apparently, suspect that there might be gross deficiencies, misdirected efforts, mistaken expenditures here that would not be set straight by merely building sanitary tenements or straightening out and widening irregular streets.

Source: Architectural Record (1937)

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Frank O’Hara, “Second Avenue” (1960)

Category : Urban Studies, Writing

Quips and players, seeming to vend astringency off-hours,
celebrate diced excesses and sardonics, mixing pleasures,
as if proximity were staring at the margin of a plea…

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