Reading List: A History of Urban Renewal in Saanich

Review of Urban Books

Thanks to everybody who came to my talk on Urban Renewal in Saanich yesterday evening. There was a great turnout, and we had a really interesting discussion after the talk. As promised, here’s the list of recommended reading that I provided during the talk, along with notes on why some of them are important:

  • Alison Isenberg, Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004). [Available by Interlibrary Loan from GVPL.]
    • In chapter five, “‘The Demolition of Our Outworn Past’: Suburban Shoppers and the Logic of Urban Renewal,” Isenberg “examines the role of gender, race and obsolescence in shaping the emergent downtown crisis and subsequent rebuilding decisions.” She argues that “Post-war commercial aesthetics, sharpened in competition with new suburban shopping centers, were determined by concerns over who would be the ideal consumer – who would reinvigorate downtown property values and profits or breathe life into the malls” (167).
    • As I indicated at the end of my talk, I have yet to investigate how gender, race and class operated in Saanich’s urban renewal plans in the 1960s, but I think the same sort of modernist aesthetic was at work in creating the related Town and Country Shopping Centre. Regionally, urban renewal projects in both Saanich and Victoria (suburb and downtown) were influencing each other.
  • Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Random House, 1961).
    • Jane Jacobs was an influential critic of urban renewal in the United States and Canada. She is also the reason I’m an urbanist. Reading her books inspired be to think about and research cities. If you want to learn more about cities, this book is a great place to start.
  • Christopher Klemek, The Transatlantic Collapse of Urban Renewal: Postwar Urbanism from New York to Berlin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).
    • Klemek provides a useful framework to think about urban renewal. He argues that there were “four pillars” that supported a powerful “urban renewal order” between the 1930s and 1960s: a modernist aesthetic, expert authority, federal policy, and urban political reform.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Book Review, Development, Downtown, Education, Events, Gentrification, GVPL, Historic Sites, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Libraries, Parking, Pedestrians, Planning, R.U.B. (Review of Urban Books), Reading List, Redevelopment, Research, Sannich, Thesis, University Courses, University of Victoria, Urban Renewal, UVic and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Reading List: A History of Urban Renewal in Saanich

  1. Lorne Daniel says:

    Thanks Vincent. Did you see the recent reading list blog post by Hazel Borys (Winnipeg)?

    I’m back in the country… Are you still available Friday morning?

    Lorne Daniel

  2. Good blog! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

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