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Dana Cuff (February 14, 2002)01:09:03

Dana Cuff remarks that her talk will focus on large residential developments in Southern California covered in her upcoming book, “The Provisional City.” She comments on the role of public housing in shaping the urban and suburban landscape and the post-war American city. The federal government defined these trends through funding. She asks, “why did suburban development succeed and modern utopian visions fail, and why was the suburban home not a modern home?” Cuff argues that urban theory needs to focus on unstable and temporary conditions. In much of the development of the past, history is wiped out in discontinuous ways, leaving no trace of former spatial organizations. Cuff characterizes “community building” projects as utopian in their destruction of a past for an idealized notion of a future. Cuff discusses the removal of individuals from their homes through eminent domain, and relocating them in new residences. She cites the development of Elysian Park Heights in Los Angeles and the controversy surrounding public housing in an era of anti-communist sentiment. Cuff discusses the role of the Los Angeles Times in blocking public housing. She describes how the modernist design aspect of faded from urban visions and design ideals for the private housing sector.

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