Fair City: Midcentury Urbanism and New York's World's Fairs

Much of my research is about New York’s two world’s fairs, held in 1939-1940 and 1964-1965, respectively, and how they reflected and perpetuated a consensus about slum clearance, private over public transportation, and low-density homeownership that came to dominate American culture and reshape New York City in the mid-20th century. My dissertation is partly a story about New York City specifically—about how midcentury urbanism changed the relationship of the outer boroughs to Manhattan, uniquely defined Queens, and continues to impact the present-day city and its residents’ ideas about infrastructure, housing, and largescale planning. It is also a larger story about the United States in the 20th century—about how a conventional wisdom about highways, single-family suburban housing, and the physical separation of work and home developed in the middle of the century and became both a cultural shorthand and grounds for rigorous opposition and new visions over the past fifty years.

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