Catherine Bauer (Wurster) Panel at the Nineteenth National Conference on Planning History

New York
United States

New York, 20-22 October 2022

Catherine Bauer (Wurster) was, and remains, one of most influential figures in the history of urban and regional planning and architecture in the twentieth century in the United States and globally. Many facets of her career, however, remain understudied.

Most closely associated with, and remembered for, her efforts to generate support for public housing in the U.S. in the 1930s and to improve its execution in the 1940s and 1950s — particularly as written about by historians Gail Radford, Alexander von Hoffman, D. Bradford Hunt, and others — Bauer was also deeply involved in efforts to boost demand amongst citizens for high-quality affordable housing, combat racial bias in housing policy and in the private housing market, to promote the now-maligned tool of urban redevelopment (use of eminent domain to improve housing and urban patterns), to curb sprawl, to promote planned new towns, and more.

With the recent reprocessing of her papers at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkley, and republication, for the first time since the 1970s, of her seminal book Modern Housing, with a new forward by architectural historian Barbara Penner, in 2020, a new generation of planning, urban, and architectural historians is exploring her many legacies as an educator, writer, curator and campaigner.

In an effort to bring Bauer’s legacies together in conversation, Penner and housing historian Matthew Lasner aim to convene a panel at the Nineteenth National Conference on Planning History, sponsored by the Society for American City and Regional Planning History (SACRPH), scheduled to take place on-line and in person, in New York, 20-22 October, 2022.

Please submit queries, abstracts, and a one-page c.v. to Penner at b.penner@ucl.ac.uk and/or Lasner at mlasner@hunter.cuny.edu. Organizers particularly welcome papers that focus on previously unexplored facets of Bauer’s career. Abstracts must be received by 7 February, 2022. 

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