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"Hats off to Robert Fairbanks! It is admirable when an established senior historian is willing to undertake new archival research—and multicity research at that. In The War on Slums in the Southwest, Fairbanks has extended his reach to carefully chosen cities with an energetic research agenda. This is the sort of book that we need in order to see patterns in the general fog of historical detail. It is nicely placed at the intersection of two scholarly conversations—about American housing policy and about the politics of cities in the Southwest. The War on Slums in the Southwest makes important empirical points and provides key interpretive arguments that will be welcomed by specialists on urban history and politics, urban planning, housing, and the American West/Southwest."
Carl Abbott, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University
In The War on Slums in the Southwest, Robert Fairbanks provides compelling and probing case studies of economic problems and public housing plights in Albuquerque, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and San Antonio. He provides brief histories of each city—all of which expanded dynamically between 1935 and 1965—and how they responded to slums under the Housing Acts of 1937, 1949, and 1954.
Despite being a region where conservative politics has ruled, these Southwestern cities often handled population growth, urban planning, and economic development in ways that closely followed the national account of efforts to eliminate slums and provide public housing for the needy. The War on Slums in the Southwest therefore corrects some misconceptions about the role of slum clearance and public housing in this region as Fairbanks integrates urban policy into the larger understanding of federal and state-based housing policies.
1. Cities in the Southwest or Southwestern Cities?
2. The Public Housing Movement in the Southwest: Cities Battle the Slums before 1937
3. Southwestern Cities, Slum Clearance, and the First Permanent Public Housing Program
4. From World War II to the Housing Act of 1949: A Moratorium on Slum Clearance and Public Housing for Low-Income Citizens
5. The Solution Becomes a Problem: The Decline of the Public Housing Movement after the Housing Act of 1949
6. From Urban Redevelopment to Urban Renewal in the Southwest
Epilogue: Our War on Poverty, Not Yours on Slums
Appendix A: Social Scientists and the Changing Discourse on Slums and Poverty: A Brief Note
Appendix B: Public Housing Built in San Antonio, Houston, Phoenix, and Dallas, 1935–1965
Appendix C: Occupation of Initial Tenants of Cuney Homes Public Housing in Houston
Appendix D: Total Number of Public Housing Units Built by Selected Cities by 1967
Robert B. Fairbanks is a Professor of History at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is the author of Making Better Citizens: Housing Reform and the Community Development Strategy in Cincinnati, 1890-1960, and For the City as a Whole: Planning, Politics, and the Public Interest in Dallas, Texas, 1900-1965.
Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy, edited by Zane L. Miller, David Stradling, and Larry Bennett.
Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy Series, edited by Zane L. Miller, David Stradling, and Larry Bennett, features books that examine past and contemporary cities, focusing on cultural and social issues. The editors seek proposals that analyze processes of urban change relevant to the future of cities and their metropolitan regions, and that examine urban and regional planning, environmental issues, and urban policy studies, thus contributing to ongoing debates.
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