Dissertation: "Cities of the Plan: Visions of the Built Environment in Northern England, 1960-1985"
My dissertation examines the history of post-World War II urban renewal campaigns in Britain's industrial northern cities. I aim not simply to chart a progression from "dreams to disillusionment," but to examine the culture of planning in postwar Britain"?the language and images that planners deployed, and how this discourse shifted over time in response to economic necessities, political changes, and mounting public opposition or indifference. I ask what the shifting debates attached to the built environment tell us about Britain in this fraught period of imperial collapse and industrial change. Does examining various forms of "planning from below" force us to reevaluate the perception of the 1970s as a time of crisis and "decline?" While this is usually narrated as a domestic story, I place these debates in a context of international"?especially postcolonial"?exchanges in ideas and people. I also argue that planners were not merely paragons of disenchanted rationality, but rather part of a larger vein of modern mythmaking.