Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle To Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age

Farrar. Oct. 2019. 560p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780374254087. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780374721602. SOC SCI
Urban renewal in the United States is often viewed as a well-intentioned failure. Cohen (American studies, Harvard Univ.) acknowledges this opinion but moves toward a more nuanced interpretation through the lens of one of its foremost proponents: Ed Logue (1921–2000). A native of Philadelphia, Logue attended Yale on a bursary, working in the dining halls and joining the Labor Party. To Logue, revitalizing cities in postwar America was an egalitarian mission. Cohen describes the many contradictions of midcentury urban renewal birthed from New Deal idealism. Logue and his allies believed firmly in desegregation, yet the planning and implementation largely ignored grassroots voices. Logue’s personal life and public beliefs were often in conflict. He argued for the destruction of 19th-century neighborhoods, yet chose to live in Boston’s Beacon Hill, which reminded him of his childhood home. Cohen follows Logue’s career from New Haven, CT, in the late 1950s through the Bronx in the 1980s, a career ultimately undone by the Reagan administration, which withdrew what little funding was left for urban public projects. Cohen doesn’t necessarily defend urban renewal, instead using Logue’s story to provide insight behind the policies.
VERDICT One of America’s most controversial policies as seen through the career of one of its most outspoken advocates; an essential read.

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