CFP: Slum Clearance, Progressive Era (deadline 1 Feb.)

From: John McCarthy

I’m in the process of creating a panel for the SACRPH meeting this fall 2013 that treats major downtown rebuilding projects (such as City Beautiful civic projects, union stations, and others) that occurred prior to the postwar “urban renewal” era as slum clearance. I’m currently researching the construction of Cleveland’s Union Terminal, which has traditionally been viewed as a project that gave Cleveland national prestige (the Terminal Tower was the second tallest building in the United States when it was built), and made the Van Sweringen brothers nationally-renowned urban entrepreneurs. However, the Union Terminal Project also involved the demolition of well over 1,000 buildings and essentially erased one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the Haymarket, in the name of progress and modernity.

I’d be interested in including any paper that examines the rebuilding of central cities during this same time frame, but that pay special attention to the importance of these projects as “slum clearance” efforts that accelerated the process of making the urban core less industrial and low-income residential, and more attractive to white collar professions and service-related businesses. I’m also interested in exploring the ways that these projects altered spatial patterns in so-called central business districts: from low-income to middle and upper income, industrial to commercial, and even from city resident to suburban and out-of-town commuter.

If interested in presenting a paper, please submit a one page abstract and brief CV to by February 1, so the panel can be submitted to SACRPH in time for consideration

John McCarthy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Department of Social Sciences
Robert Morris University