Tag: urbanization

In a recent photo essay for Pittsburgh magazine titled “The Way We Were,” former Pittsburgh City Council member and longtime community activist Sala Udin captioned a selection of photographs by Teenie Harris that span from the early 1940s to the late 1970s. As was Harris’ trademark, the photographs are stark, beautiful, and often harrowing. One image, however, was particularly resonant,…

In Tracking Time, photographer Camilo José Vergara‘s 40-year project that documents the evolution of poor and segregated communities in America, the imagery is most often focused on buildings. In a short film put together by the Getty Museum, Vergara explained his approach by saying he “realized that the buildings had the imprint not just of the people who live in…

In December of 1981, the week before Christmas, Meryl Meisler was offered a full-time job as an art teacher at I.S. 291 in Bushwick, Brooklyn. At the time, she was working part-time in East New York and the opportunity should have been ideal. But instead it gave Meisler pause. That’s because four years earlier, on July 13, 1977, while she…

In John Philip Falter’s “Sunday Gardening” painting, originally published on the July 1, 1961 cover of the Saturday Evening Post, the contrast is blatant to say the least. We see the tidy neighbor, Mr. Jones, tending to his neatly trimmed hedges against the backdrop of a well-manicured lawn and freshly painted home. His neighbor, however, a man named Red, is…

View of Smith Tower from Yesler Terrace area in Seattle, Washington, circa 1960. Background on the Yesler Terrace housing development, which is slated for a $300 million redevelopment in the coming months, via Wikipedia:

Yesler Terrace, a 22 acre public housing development in Seattle, Washington was, at the time of its completion in 1941, that state’s first public housing

Photographer Camilo José Vergara, for Slate, on his book American Ruins (thanks to Mike Reddy for reminding me of Vergara’s work): “I photograph the ruins of urban America. Ruins are open, vulnerable, and evocative. As building fragments, they invite us to imagine how they were before their demise”:

Ruins constantly change. City workers seal windows and doorways and

From “Broken Windows” by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson, who put forth the theory that urban disorder, vandalism, crime, and anti-social behavior can begin in the simplest of ways — with a few broken windows:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a

Talk about Braddock, Pennsylvania today and it’s a foregone conclusion that the town is a shell of its former self — both in economic terms and its physical landscape. Look back at these photographs collected as part of LBJ’s Model Cities Program (an element of his Great Society initiative), however, and the seeds of decline are evident as far back…

Given the passage of time, and how the Pittsburgh Renaissance (1946-1973) and the destruction of the cultural institutions of the lower Hill District are viewed today, this 1960 Pittsburgh Press caption shows a skewed (but potentially widespread) sentiment:

You always hear about how New York’s Times Square was more fun back in the good old days, when hookers and porno ruled, before America’s terror mayor Rudy G. “took back the streets” by banishing the Squeegee Men and welcoming Disney into the fold. And maybe it was. But more aptly, it was a different era. According to some cursory…