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:
- Richard Harris, Creeping Conformity: How Canada Became Suburban, 1900-1960 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004). [Available by Interlibrary Loan from GVPL.]
- 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.
- Donald Luxton, Test of Time: The Enduring Legacy of Victoria City Hall (Victoria, B.C: Victoria Civic Heritage Trust, 2012).
- Somebody at the talk last night asked about the video bundled with this book, A Townscape Rediscovered. I blogged about the book and the video about a month ago, and found it influential in changing my thinking about urban renewal in Victoria. You can read my thoughts about it, watch the video, and compare it with a contemporary NFB film about urban renewal in Vancouver at my post about Urban Renewal at the Movies.
- Martin Segger, The Emergence of Architectural Modernism II: UVic and the Victoria Regional Aesthetic in the Late 1950s and 60s (Victoria, BC: University of Victoria Art Collections, 2011).
- Victoria Modern: Investigating Postwar Architecture and Design on Southern Vancouver Island, An Introduction (Victoria, B.C.: Maltwood Art Museum & Gallery, 2005).
This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.