The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History

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MIT Press, 1997 - Architecture - 296 pages
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Based on her extensive experience in the urban communities of Los Angeles, historianand architect Dolores Hayden proposes new perspectives on gender, race, and ethnicity to broaden thepractice of public history and public art, enlarge urban preservation, and reorient the writing ofurban history to spatial struggles.In the first part of The Power of Place, Hayden outlines theelements of a social history of urban space to connect people's lives and livelihoods to the urbanlandscape as it changes over time. She then explores how communities and professionals can tap thepower of historic urban landscapes to nurture public memory.The second part documents a decade ofresearch and practice by The Power of Place, a nonprofit organization Hayden founded in downtown LosAngeles. Through public meetings, walking tours, artists's books, and permanent public sculpture, aswell as architectural preservation, teams of historians, designers, planners, and artists workedtogether to understand, preserve, and commemorate urban landscape history as African American,Latina, and Asian American families have experienced it.One project celebrates the urban homesteadof Biddy Mason, an African American ex-slave and midwife active betwen 1856 and 1891. Anotherreinterprets the Embassy Theater where Rose Pesotta, Luisa Moreno, and Josefina Fierro de Brightorganized Latina dressmakers and cannery workers in the 1930s and 1940s. A third chapter tells thestory of a historic district where Japanese American family businesses flourished from the 1890s tothe 1940s. Each project deals with bitter memories -- slavery, repatriation, internment -- but showshow citizens survived and persevered to build an urban life for themselves, their families, andtheir communities.Drawing on many similar efforts around the United States, from New York toCharleston, Seattle to Cincinnati, Hayden finds a broad new movement across urban preservation,public history, and public art to accept American diversity at the heart of the vernacular urbanlandscape. She provides dozens of models for creative urban history projects in cities and townsacross the country.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TLCrawford - LibraryThing

In her book The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History Dolores Hayden looks at public history in general and specifically at the public history projects done by her organization, The Power ... Read full review

Review: The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History

User Review  - Laura Taylor - Goodreads

I love Dolores Hayden, but this isn't one of my faves. Her approach to thinking about landscape is great, though, and this is a perfect read for anyone interested in society and space. Read full review


Contested Terrain
Public Pasts in the Downtown Landscape
Invisible Angelenos
Workers Landscapes and Livelihoods
The View from Grandma Masons Place
Rediscovering an African American Homestead
Reinterpreting Latina History at the Embassy Auditorium
Remembering Little Tokyo on First Street
Storytelling with the Shapes of Time
Los Angeles after April 29 1992

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About the author (1997)

Dolores Hayden, professor of architecture and American studies at Yale, writes about the politics of design.

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