Paper Accepted

I’ve gotten lucky again and had a paper I proposed accepted to SACRPH, the planning history conference this fall in Portland, Maine. This is my second solo acceptance to a pretty major conference; the first one was the even-year counterpart to this one, Urban History. In the interest of self promotion, I offer my abstract:

From Protestors to Planners: Housing and the Local Engagement of Students in Ann Arbor, 1968-1975.

University students have yet to be adequately recognized within the realm of urban and planning history. While a handful of historians have begun to consider universities as agents of change within the metropolitan region, they have largely downplayed or ignored the role of university students in this analysis. This paper introduces New Left activists as a previously unrecognized set of urban actors in the multi-threaded history of post-World War II planning and housing. While university administrations promoted inner city urban renewal and extended the metropolitan periphery by developing research parks, student-led radical groups in Ann Arbor, Michigan, engaged issues of economic and housing equity in the local community. Nearly a decade after creating a national student movement, Ann Arbor activists provided models for political activity, organizing and executing a 1969 rent strike of more than a thousand participants, setting off a series of strikes around the country. Students followed on that success by earning local voting rights, electing candidates to city council and pursuing an agenda of housing equity and human rights.

I argue that university students were more than passive recipients and ineffectual opponents of collaboration between university administrations and city, state, and federal governments. By drawing upon archival documents, oral histories and housing research within the community, I will demonstrate that Ann Arbor student activists after 1968 became a locally focused coalition of groups that became an important force in urban governance. Students achieved this by exploiting changes in state law and postwar university planning, as well as effectively organizing within the community. Allying with labor and minority groups, students became central actors in the political contests and urban restructuring of the 1970s, as well as the experimentation that arose in response to urban crisis and economic distress. This paper illustrates a new aspect of the emerging scholarship on the relationship between universities and cities in postwar American urban and planning history, tying it to larger issues of metropolitan history and illuminating a previously obscure set of agents in the urban realm.

Keywords: universities; housing; local politics; students

This will draw upon much of the research I did for a chapter of my MUP Thesis (available in the sidebar). I look forward to coloring in the beautiful state of Maine on my lifetime state map.

In Good Company

Teeter Talk totterees are a select group. Hearty. Hale. Hilarious. Handsome… I sing their praise because I number among that august bunch. Indeed, that august bunch just got a bit auguster with the inclusion of Bill Clinton, best known as the 42nd President of the United States, according to the Commencement program. I should note, commencement started 30 minutes late and I think I now know whom to blame.

Try to guess which person on the totter said the following, the former leader of the free world or some guy mistaken for a homeless man:

Yeah, paws! Raaaahr, I’m a polar bear!!

You’re wrong.

June 9th at the Magic Stick




2 am at Big Ten Burrito

Originally uploaded by urbanoasis.

I need a ride.

I have an appointment with the Great Lakes Myth Society on this date in this place. I don’t have a car. I made the mistake of being born, growing up, and falling in love with an auto-dependent state while having adopted a lifestyle in diametric opposition to such lifeways. (To my credit, I fought my parents tooth and nail in 7th grade when my dad had a job offer to do real estate lending in Arizona, though in retrospect I kind of screwed my dad. Sorry about that, Dad). I missed a similar appointment with the members of said society 2 1/2 years ago when they celebrated the release of their first album, a point that irks me to no end, stinging my conscience and reminding me just how hip I might have been had I attended. With apologies to the great Bruce Dickinson, I now suffer from a chronic malady chiefly characterized by fever. The only cure, I have learned, is more accordion.

For anyone who wants to give me a ride, I will pay your cover to the show. I can also be called upon to provide merriment during the journey and in the course of the return trip. If necessary, I will provide cartographic interpretive services in an advisory capacity, in which case I will not require the handling of the shotgun in either literal protective capacity should we encounter bandits or figuratively in attempt to establish a symbolic position within the motorcar.

I will recommend a stop afterwards at the establishment pictured with this entry. Having attended a meeting of the Society Friday last, I concluded the night’s activities in a most enjoyable fashion at the former Big Ten Burrito. Finding it bustling with a line out the door even at 2 am, I must point out how awesome it was and how both the band and the burritos are two of the few things I miss about Ann Arbor.

Little help?