An Introduction: Definitions, Themes, Theory

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We have relatively deep information about the specific cities presented here. But is there a more general literature on the topic? There is, and we present a review of books as "Progressive City Literature" drawn from the web site, created originally (2004) after depositing materials collected in the research that produced The Progressive City (1986) and Activists in City Hall (2010).

Further, from that web site, are two short essays: "What is the Progressive City?" -- an exercise in definition; and "Planning in the Progressive City," which introduces a theme cutting across the range of cities represented in the Collection.

We also present Derek Shearer's "Urban Innovation in the United States," from his comparative study of U.S. cities in the early 1980s -- a broader sample than what we have here.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
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    Freedom, Public Deliberation and the Archive
    Hamilton, Carolyn; Mangcu, Xolela (2006)
    This paper proceeds from three central propositions: the first is that ongoing public deliberation is a powerful vehicle for social change and economic progress, and is fundamental to the attainment, and maintenance, of freedom. The second is that public deliberation - around the key questions of our times and our location in South Africa - is inhibited by the limited and biased archive available to us to pursue our deliberations. The third proposition is that every engagement with the archive is always inflected with power. In every society, including our own, there are strong motivations and indeed efforts to exert control over archive, to read it in singular ways, and to exclude alternative and multiple readings. Identity politics of all kinds typically play out their contests in relation to archive. The paper offers first an analysis of the significance, and the current state, of the relationship between public deliberation and archive in South Africa, focusing on the topics of reconciliation, development and identity politics.
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    An Annotated Bibliography on Progressive Cities
    Clavel, Pierre (1987)
    By 1984, Pierre Clavel had been gathering background information - news clippings, documents, and taping interviews in cities he had identified as "progressive" cases: Berkeley, Hartford, Cleveland, and Santa Monica in 1981; Burlington, VT starting in 1982. This is the revised and extended version of the bibliography produced under Research Assistant Robert Gilt in 1983, with graduate students Carol Chock, Catherine Hill, Renee Jacobs, Frances Virginia. it covers historical and theoretical background, early U.S., European Cities; published books and articles, newspaper clippings, and documents for Cleveland, Berkeley, Hartford, Santa Monica, Burlington, Boston, and Chicago among other places.
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    Urban Innovation in the United States
    Shearer, Derek (1986-03-18)
    This is a transcript of a 1986 seminar led by Derek Shearer and held at Cornell University's Department of City and Regional Planning. Derek Shearer was an activist, journalist, state official and university professor who later was Ambassador to Finland (1994-1997) before returning to Los Angeles as the Stuart Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College. He lived in Santa Monica in the 1970s and 1980s, wrote and edited several books –- two of them after he travelled the nation collecting materials for the Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies; and he was deeply involved in Santa Monicans for Renters Rights and that city’s government once SMRR gained control in 1981. He taught planning at UCLA (1979-81), then Occidental College (1981-93), and won a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1984-85 when he revisited many of the activists and places he had contacted in the 1970s while helping organize the Conference. The goal was to assess urban policies as they were emerging a decade later at the local level. These visits resulted in an extensive manuscript -– a much cited chapter appeared in Gregory D. Squires, ed., Unequal partnerships: the political economy of urban political development in postwar America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989).
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    Planning in the Progressive City
    Clavel, Pierre (2015-04-04)
    Planning was a theme that ran through all cases of the progressive city, in part because progressive city activists knew that they could not rely on the private market arguments in support of their most important goals. But the market was an important piece of the culture of American cities, and the activists had to decide how to use plans and how overtly to use them. This is a review of how some cities used plans, in contrast to others, demonstrably progressive, did differently, or not at all.
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    What is the Progressive City?
    Clavel, Pierre (2011-02-21)
    "Progressive" and the "progressive city" have definitional issues. This essay reviews what has informed The Progressive City (1986 and Activists in City Hall (2010) and guided this collection. The key ideas have been redistribution and participation.
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    Progressive City Literature
    Clavel, Pierre (2005)
    From the website "Progressive Cities and Neighborhood Planning," created in 2005 and updated periodically. Its purpose is to support and comment on the collection of that name in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library. Since that collection contains few books or recent articles, this post notes some of them.