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Urban LowlandsA History of Neighborhoods, Poverty, and Planning$
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Steven T. Moga

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226710532

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226710679.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

The Low Wards

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Urban Lowlands
Author(s):

Steven T. Moga

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226710679.003.0001

Between 1870 and 1940 urban lowland neighborhoods could be found in many American cities. Newspaper journalists, elected officials, and urban experts frequently blamed residents for water and sanitation problems, stigmatizing people according to place. Municipal debates over what to do about these places and the people who lived there revealed a paradox. Spatial containment of poor people, immigrants, and African Americans in low-lying districts provoked disease fears and stimulated reform efforts. In the early twentieth century, many housing experts and planners incorporated racist and xenophobic attitudes about lowland residents into social surveys and government reports. Since the 1970s, oral histories, museum exhibits, and public history projects have documented the history of these neighborhoods. Hurricane Katrina catalyzed new research on environmental hazards, specifically the connections between race, class, elevation, and flood risk. This introduction concludes with a brief introduction of the four case studies and a description of the structure of the book.

Keywords:   neighborhoods, sanitation problems, municipal debates, spatial containment, immigrants, African Americans, disease fears, housing experts, planners, environmental hazards

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