How States Shaped Postwar America: State Government and Urban Power

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

The history of public policy in postwar America tends to fixate on developments at the national level, overlooking the crucial work done by individual states in the 1960s and ’70s. In this book, Nicholas Dagen Bloom demonstrates the significant and enduring impact of activist states in five areas: urban planning and redevelopment, mass transit and highways, higher education, subsidized housing, and the environment. Bloom centers his story on the example set by New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, whose aggressive initiatives on the pressing issues in that period inspired others and led to the establishment of long-lived state polices in an age of decreasing federal power. Metropolitan areas, for both better and worse, changed and operated differently because of sustained state action—How States Shaped Postwar America uncovers the scope of this largely untold story.
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About the author

Nicholas Dagen Bloom is professor of social science at the New York Institute of Technology.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Apr 15, 2019
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Pages
392
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ISBN
9780226498454
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / United States / 20th Century
Political Science / American Government / Local
Political Science / American Government / State
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"The best American political autobiography since Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father." —Charles Kaiser, The Guardian

A mayor’s inspirational story of a Midwest city that has become nothing less than a blueprint for the future of American renewal.

Once described by the Washington Post as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of,” Pete Buttigieg, the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has now emerged as one of the nation’s most visionary politicians. With soaring prose that celebrates a resurgent American Midwest, Shortest Way Home narrates the heroic transformation of a “dying city” (Newsweek) into nothing less than a shining model of urban reinvention.

Interweaving two narratives—that of a young man coming of age and a town regaining its economic vitality—Buttigieg recounts growing up in a Rust Belt city, amid decayed factory buildings and the steady soundtrack of rumbling freight trains passing through on their long journey to Chicagoland. Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s legacy, Buttigieg first left northern Indiana for red-bricked Harvard and then studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, before joining McKinsey, where he trained as a consultant—becoming, of all things, an expert in grocery pricing. Then, Buttigieg defied the expectations that came with his pedigree, choosing to return home to Indiana and responding to the ultimate challenge of how to revive a once-great industrial city and help steer its future in the twenty-first century.

Elected at twenty-nine as the nation’s youngest mayor, Pete Buttigieg immediately recognized that “great cities, and even great nations, are built through attention to the everyday.” As Shortest Way Home recalls, the challenges were daunting—whether confronting gun violence, renaming a street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., or attracting tech companies to a city that had appealed more to junk bond scavengers than serious investors. None of this is underscored more than Buttigieg’s audacious campaign to reclaim 1,000 houses, many of them abandoned, in 1,000 days and then, even as a sitting mayor, deploying to serve in Afghanistan as a Navy officer. Yet the most personal challenge still awaited Buttigieg, who came out in a South Bend Tribune editorial, just before being reelected with 78 percent of the vote, and then finding Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, who would become his partner for life.

While Washington reels with scandal, Shortest Way Home, with its graceful, often humorous, language, challenges our perception of the typical American politician. In chronicling two once-unthinkable stories—that of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance, all while in office, and that of a revitalized Rust Belt city no longer regarded as “flyover country”—Buttigieg provides a new vision for America’s shortest way home.

When it comes to large-scale public housing in the United States, the consensus for the past decades has been to let the wrecking balls fly. The demolition of infamous projects, such as Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis and the towers of Cabrini-Green in Chicago, represents to most Americans the fate of all public housing. Yet one notable exception to this national tragedy remains. The New York City Housing Authority, America's largest public housing manager, still maintains over 400,000 tenants in its vast and well-run high-rise projects. While by no means utopian, New York City's public housing remains an acceptable and affordable option.

The story of New York's success where so many other housing authorities faltered has been ignored for too long. Public Housing That Worked shows how New York's administrators, beginning in the 1930s, developed a rigorous system of public housing management that weathered a variety of social and political challenges. A key element in the long-term viability of New York's public housing has been the constant search for better methods in fields such as tenant selection, policing, renovation, community affairs, and landscape design.

Nicholas Dagen Bloom presents the achievements that contradict the common wisdom that public housing projects are inherently unmanageable. By focusing on what worked, rather than on the conventional history of failure and blame, Bloom provides useful models for addressing the current crisis in affordable urban housing. Public Housing That Worked is essential reading for practitioners and scholars in the areas of public policy, urban history, planning, criminal justice, affordable housing management, social work, and urban affairs.
#1 New York Times Bestseller!

Peter Schweizer has been fighting corruption—and winning—for years. In Throw Them All Out, he exposed insider trading by members of Congress, leading to the passage of the STOCK Act. In Extortion, he uncovered how politicians use mafia-like tactics to enrich themselves. And in Clinton Cash, he revealed the Clintons’ massive money machine and sparked an FBI investigation.

Now he explains how a new corruption has taken hold, involving larger sums of money than ever before. Stuffing tens of thousands of dollars into a freezer has morphed into multibillion-dollar equity deals done in the dark corners of the world.

An American bank opening in China would be prohibited by US law from hiring a slew of family members of top Chinese politicians. However, a Chinese bank opening in America can hire anyone it wants. It can even invite the friends and families of American politicians to invest in can’t-lose deals.

President Donald Trump’s children have made front pages across the world for their dicey transactions. However, the media has barely looked into questionable deals made by those close to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Mitch McConnell, and lesser-known politicians who have been in the game longer.

In many parts of the world, the children of powerful political figures go into business and profit handsomely, not necessarily because they are good at it, but because people want to curry favor with their influential parents. This is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. But for relatives of some prominent political families, we may already be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.

Deeply researched and packed with shocking revelations, Secret Empires identifies public servants who cannot be trusted and provides a path toward a more accountable government.

John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of New York City's most successful and influential redevelopment projects. Built and defined by outsize personalities—Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, famed urban planner Robert Moses, and Port Authority Executive Director Austin Tobin among them—JFK was fantastically expensive and unprecedented in its scale. By the late 1940s, once-polluted marshlands had become home to one of the world's busiest and most advanced airfields. Almost from the start, however, environmental activists in surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs clashed with the Port Authority. These fierce battles in the long term restricted growth and, compounded by lackluster management and planning, diminished JFK's status and reputation. Yet the airport remained a key contributor to metropolitan vitality: New Yorkers bound for adventure and business still boarded planes headed to distant corners of the globe, billions of tourists and immigrants came and went, and mammoth air cargo facilities bolstered the region's commerce.

In The Metropolitan Airport, Nicholas Dagen Bloom chronicles the untold story of JFK International's complicated and turbulent relationship with the New York City metropolitan region. In spite of its reputation for snarled traffic, epic delays, endless construction, and abrasive employees, the airport was a key player in shifting patterns of labor, transportation, and residence; the airport both encouraged and benefited from the dispersion of population and economic activity to the outer boroughs and suburbs. As Bloom shows, airports like JFK are vibrant parts of their cities and powerfully influence urban development. The Metropolitan Airport is an indispensable book for those who wish to understand the revolutionary impact of airports on the modern American city.

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