Planning Future Cities

The field of Planning History has helped scholars across disciplines illuminate how historical actors dreamed of futures yet to come. The social policies which these visionaries explore have organized the economic development the industrial world. In PLANNING FUTURE CITIES, this classic field of historical literature is made comprehensible to a general audience for the first time.

PLANNING FUTURE CITIES combines the insights of historians, urban planners, architects, and industrial leaders to help students of the metropolitan landscape grapple with the contradictions that characterize the long 20th century. Production in rural agriculture, urban industrialization, global finance, and institutional architecture would undergo structural reform to accommodate demands wrought by women’s suffrage, feminism, civil rights activism, and global governance between 1870 and 2010. Contemporary colleges and universities must produce informed citizens to confront myriad ways which private initiatives, public policy, and democratic engagement intersect to produce prosperous metropolitan regions in the global 21st century.

PLANNING FUTURE CITIES is the essential text for students seeking to comprehend the power of Planning History.”

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THE LONG VIEW: A Forgotten Legacy

W.E.B. DuBois built the world you live in today.  Brick by brick, concept by concept, he tore down a world dedicated to colonialism, segregation, and exploitation.  Who was he?  Sadly, too many people will ask this question with flawless sincerity.  The United States Congress essentially erased him from the public record because he stood for peace in an age of multiple wars.  DuBois’s academic and intellectual accomplishments would fill this entire newspaper for years, if they received the coverage he earned.  In brief, his career began before the Presidency of William McKinley and ended just before the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  While the world celebrated Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford, DuBois refined Frederick Douglass’ concept of universal human equality and developed the global political agenda of democratic self-rule.  His most recognized insight was the exploration of ‘double consciousness’ — the idea that within a single person there was a self-image and an awareness of how other people saw you.  The distinction between the internal and external perceptions of a person could utterly destroy an individual, especially when the difference between the two visions involved the idea of race.

 

However, another keen insight came from his work, “The Freedom to Learn,” in 1949.  DuBois asserted that the right to learn was the most difficult achievement humanity had won in 5000 years of struggle.  Consider that.  More than the Jeffersonian rights to life, liberty, and property, the right to learn was most valuable.  In the long process of human beings exploring different form of civilization as we moved from religion to enlightenment to science in pursuit of greater freedom, learning was never a right.  For DuBois, this achievement was a product of the American commitment to public education in the late nineteenth century.  Education was no longer the exclusive domain of the wealthy or the devout.  Everyone could learn.  The content of the education could certainly be debated.  Which lessons were most appropriate for which people?  Still, the fundamental claim that everyone had a right to more information built the conceptual foundation for the schools, libraries, and colleges across the world.  Indeed, it is the premise behind the widespread information sharing we do with websites like Wikipedia, Youtube, and Google.

 

Who carries the torch today for increased freedom, education, and a better world tomorrow?  Salamishah Tillet and Aishah Simmons have led the way in giving greater voices to women around the world in their work “No! The Rape Documentary” and its related projects.  Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, Marc Anthony Neal, Marc Lamont Hill, Dawn Elissa-Fisher, and Marcia Dawkins have all established the ways hip hop music transforms societies towards democracy.  Mary Sies, Thomas Sugrue, Robin Bachin, John McCarthy, and Julian Chambliss have applied these lessons to understanding architecture, environmentalism, and metropolitan growth for more than twenty years.  We are all inheritors of DuBois’ unparalleled intellectual legacy.  From his work on The Philadelphia Negro to The Souls of Black Folk to The Crisis Magazine to Black Reconstruction (of Democracy) in America, DuBois was the voice that invented an America and a world that stood for justice and equality in ways inconceivable when his career began.  If we want the best world in the twenty-first century, we must teach these lessons and engage this work in ways that have been too rare over the last forty years.  DuBois is the touchstone for establishing the best human principles for the future.  There are literally thousands of interpreters of his work throughout secondary and higher education.  When all Americans rediscover and embrace these ideas, we will have taken another step towards achieving the beloved community.

The Long View: Worst Case Scenario? Expect Success.

My first meeting with the Trump coalition came before my fifth birthday. It was in 1977. Disco was the music that energized my family’s television on the weekends, but it was a mark of shame – the Devil – in our neighborhood. Country and gospel offered legitimate expressions of faith, humility, and perseverance in my neighbors’ minds. In that atmosphere, I learned why I lived where I did.
If you know me, you know the powerful impact William Harris had on my life. He was my mother’s “god-brother” – a specific form of affective kinship that protected him from most of the harm which would have otherwise shaped his life. His mother, Ariana, was a migrant farm worker who knew my mother’s parents. My mother, as a child, often babysat William – despite his being seven years older. William was developmentally disabled, physically and intellectually unable to live independently. He was thrown out of school in the early years of the Great Depression because the other children laughed at him. After years of working in potato fields, after Ariana and her sister, Pearl, died, William moved in with my family. Shortly thereafter, my family moved to the neighborhood where he had grown up. It was a rural delivery route where his ranch house (built in large part by my mother’s support for Ariana) sat 300 yards back off the main road – hidden behind a migrant labor housing site.
William became my older brother. Like my mother before me, I helped him wash, get breakfast, and do chores around the house. He often told me about the ways he and his family struggled to survive the harsh realities of Jim Crow segregation in New Jersey. As I made sense of these stories, I asked my mom questions like, “why was William thrown out of school?” The one that changed my life was, “why did Ariana live back behind all of the other houses?”
In 1958, despite changes to the New Jersey State Constitution to provide legal protections from racial and ethnic discrimination in 1947, white families in western Monmouth County remained very comfortable with the traditional barriers to racial equality that had evolved after the final enslaved African Americans became free in 1865. While formally segregated sites like the Court Street School in Freehold gradually changed to include white children, the larger institutions of government and commerce only made limited concessions to include black voices in local politics. There was no functional participation of African Americans in the region’s economic growth. Now, that possibility has been foreclosed for another generation.
When Ariana saved enough money to acquire a plot of land to build a house, her white neighbors feared that her family’s home would reduce the value of their houses. So, they raised a pool of money and purchased a larger plot behind the migrant labor site. They sacrificed to hide the spectacle of a black woman homeowner from public access. The fact that she was able to pay the property taxes on the lot, as well as build a larger ranch house on it, was never meant to be part of the equation. When my family moved there, we became inheritors of both a gift and a curse. The gift was the legacy of rare, African American property ownership in a community steadfastly hostile to black dignity and wealth. The curse was the unspoken recognition that the accomplishment came at the cost of accepting an invisibility – a politics of respectability – as the only, flimsy shield against dispossession and violence.
Never has that film felt thinner, more transparent. The compromised system of the Electoral College will likely deliver Donald Trump and Michael Pence to the Office of the Presidency of the United States in January 2017. The moment to rehash the successes and failures of the campaign season has passed. The occasion now calls for immediate preparation for the changes that will unfold over the next two years – at minimum. It also is an opportunity to see the indelible long-term impacts the new administration will likely accomplish.
Millions of activists and political operatives have started organizing campaigns to limit the powers of the White House over the next four years. In this way, they hope to stage public outrage against new policies and executive orders until they can shift the political composition of the federal Senate or House of Representatives. Both tasks are difficult changes to make in 2018. However, the longer goal is to cultivate a society that resists the politics that the Republican Party rode to victory since 2010. American resistance to government expansion animates nearly every public institution from town councils through the Supreme Court. The Obama coalition believed that they could show that good government might erode that cultural resistance. Hillary Clinton’s campaign showed that the effort to create inclusive democracy has never been more popular in American society. It was simply not popular enough right now.
If the remnants of the Obama coalition could learn to organize at the local level, none of the immediate changes in policy over the next four or eight years will last. There will be suffering, though. Beyond the obvious efforts to register Muslims and deport undocumented Mexican immigrants, the increase in surveillance and incarceration of all Americans (especially African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and poor, white Americans), and the reversal of legal gains for women and the LGBTQIA communities, the turn towards the economic strategies of the George W. Bush presidency will be more severe. In fact, these changes will resemble a broad governmental effort to overturn all of the political reforms accomplished since 1932.
The First and Second New Deals, under President Franklin Roosevelt, created the core promise of a stable, social safety net for the first time in American history. From 1932 to 1941, the Congress acted forcefully to stabilize banks, provide old-age insurance, stimulate industry, create new infrastructure, and provide direct employment. While industry did not grow in those nine years, the suffering of individual poverty never returned to the extremes of deprivation seen between 1930 and 1932. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s legislative agendas, led by the most reactionary body of Republican officials since the Dixiecrats in 1966, promise to return the nation to the laissez faire economics of 1924. It is an attempt to resurrect the industrial protectionism of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. Leaders in the White House like Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon have their eyes on an even earlier target – 1876. It would be a world without the Fourteenth Amendment where the only equality in America exists among the several states. The Confederacy will have won its greatest victory.
Such a reality remains beyond the scope of the new administration for now. Yet, the desire to undo the New Deal, and prevent any future steps towards a true Reconstruction of democracy, has never had greater voice. In this recognition, citizens who supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton must measure their strategies and tactics carefully to advance the work that the Reconstruction Republicans and New Deal Democrats never undertook. (Sadly, the multiple incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens’ Councils mastered this approach.) Any political mobilization to defend and expand progressive and liberal milestones must ground themselves in private organizations, regional business interests, and local government. It is a lesson of the nineteenth century labor politics that built the most successful socialist movement of the early twentieth century behind Eugene Debs. If the voters for Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders organized successful campaigns over the next year for local elections in places like Cambridge, Massachusetts; Prince George’s County, Maryland; and Oakland, California, the tide of change could rise to reshape major races like the campaign for Governor in New Jersey. The politics of protest are critical, but fundamental, transformative resistance must be grounded in steady, daily activism to create new systems of local government that better serve individual families.
In the short term, observers must expect the Republican administration to accomplish much of their proposed agenda in the next two years. The fundamentals of the economy are strong; the effort to deregulate will promote an immediate rush of new bubbles in the energy, healthcare, and industrial sectors. Low-interest rates will finally have a framework to stimulate infrastructure spending especially in states where the Republican governments dominate. An aggressive push to isolate and destroy terrorist cells like ISIL, in conjunction with efforts to dismantle Iran, will cause defense spending to surge. The immediate rush of capital into a system that the Obama administration managed for stability will create a perception of affluence that the Republicans will use to justify their choices across every media platform.
Projecting corruption, dysfunction, and failure does little except make these officials stronger when the predictions are wrong. Expect some success from this unified government through 2017. Stay critical of the shortcomings and false promises. In the long battle to protect the major victories of human freedom, the immediate protests and public outcry must yield to steady, sustained analysis. Better candidates will emerge from the effort to serve every community more effectively. A national government predicated on gerrymandering, voter suppression, and public deception will collapse.
However, the politics of outrage surrounding the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina will not suffice to change public opinion next time. The leading images of the Obama coalition and the voices of the Clinton campaign will not persuade the moderate voters of the rural North and Midwest to reject Donald Trump. It is a time to lift up a new generation of John Browns, Thaddeus Stevenses, and Helen Kellers. The spectacle of white respectability, in service to a progressive agenda, is the key to a short-term political reversal. Only then will the opportunity to secure the safety and stability of all people be restored.
Former Federal Reserve banker and GE Capital executive Michael Silva recently gave a public presentation about the mechanics of the global financial system. His discussion demonstrated why so many people supported the Trump campaign. In many ways, their energetic mobilization reflected the support for William Jennings Bryant in 1896. Silva talked at length about the ways that leaders like Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner saved the world economy through ingenuity, humility, and determination. The audience responded with respectful skepticism. Questions focused on the repeal of Dodd-Frank as a regulatory structure and the errors of Janet Yellin in overlooking asset quality as a measure of macroeconomic stability.
At the heart of the conversation was a fundamental misunderstanding. None of the people in the room understood the main point of Silva’s presentation. In describing the differences between the Bear Stearns and AIG bailouts, specifically in contrast to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, Silva emphasized the betrayal of basic banking principles on an unprecedented scale. The markets compounded this betrayal by overreacting against an entire category of assets — money market funds — in September 2008. Most importantly, the solution was a public-private partnership in creating a unique investment vehicle to supply liquidity to multiple sectors of the global economy. In a room full of bankers and financiers, no one questioned global market fragility and the arbitrary nature of the solution.
Billions of people worldwide relied on three men in a room to invent a fiction to restore market confidence. The unwieldy, conglomerate structure that no one can adequately manage is now the most significant line of defense against the excesses of the new American government. For the people who chose this leadership, uncertainty is the only truth. For the opposition, the certainty is the unprecedented extent of surveillance and suppression for the foreseeable future. Beyond this moment, we need a world of cooperative self-reliance that defies the savagery of global capitalism.
Having lived in places committed to the intersectional dominance of patriarchy, heterosexism, white supremacy, and rural capitalism all of my life, I know the country that the Republicans want back. It is where a little boy with physical challenges knows peonage, yet thrives because his mother and god-sister gave him the miracle of a better home. It is where women defer to the dominant men in their lives, staying quiet enough to not be neglected or beaten. It is where gays, lesbians, and transgender people live in iron maidens, dreaming of closets where they can hide. It is where Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists keep themselves silent in public, preferring flight to ridicule, shame, and abuse. It is where immigrants, American Indians, and African Americans shuffle quietly through their days, expressing only humble gratitude at the crumbs they’re offered to avoid deportation, incarceration, and murder.
It is a world that must never exist again.

Hall of Fame (Ranney School)

FOR RELEASE – SEPT. 30, 2016 FOR MORE INFO: COMMUNICATIONS@RANNEYSCHOOL.ORG ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… RANNEY TO HONOR SCARYMOMMY DOT COM CEO, FASHION WEEK DESIGNER, MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, AND ASBURY PARK AUTHOR AMONG 2016 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES Ranney School (Tinton Falls, NJ) will honor several distinguished alumni and faculty members at its 2016 Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on Saturday, October 8, 2016. The annual event brings together Ranney graduates, past and present teachers, and families from across Monmouth and Ocean Counties to celebrate the exemplary achievements of graduates, coaches, athletes, and teachers. Among the inductees this year are: CEO and Founder of the Some Spider Multimedia Network and Co-Founder of Diapers.com Vinit Bharara (Class of 1989), Asbury Park Travel Writer and Photographer Helen Pike (Class of 1974), Responsive Textiles Designer Kristine Rodriguez (Class of 2008), and International Center for Metropolitan Growth Founder and Monmouth University Professor Dr. Walter Greason (Class of 1991). Vinit Bharara, whose brother and 1986 Ranney alum Preet Bharara – now the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York –was inducted in 2014, co-founded and sold to Amazon the multi-million dollar eCommerce site Diapers.com as well as other top websites in 2011. Today, he is the founder and CEO of Some Spider, a multimedia network launched in 2014 that operates Scary Mommy (ScaryMommy dot com—one of the largest entertainment parenting properties in the country), The Mid, and Café dot com. He resides with his family in New York City.
International travel writer and photographer, Helen Pike currently lives in the Upper Connecticut Valley. Her illustrated books about communities along New Jersey’s northern coastline include Greetings from New Jersey, A Postcard Tour of the Garden State, a companion volume for children growing up in the Garden State subtitled A Workbook for Young Adventurers, and Asbury Park’s Glory Days.
Fashion designer Kristine Rodriguez is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her knitwear line RESPONSIVE TEXTILES, has appeared at the prestigious Fashion Weeks of New York (2016), Los Angeles (2015, 2016), and San Diego (2014, 2015). Known as a conceptual maker, she continues to blend knitted stich with graphic design from her home in Augusta, Georgia. Ms. Rodriguez’s works will be on display as part of Ranney School’s annual Alumni Art Exhibition through early November.
Dr. Walter Greason of Manalapan, an economic historian at Monmouth University, was named a “Contemporary Black History Maker” by the Philadelphia Daily News in 1996 for his work to advance equal justice for all people during his fellowship time at Villanova University. He is the founder of the International Center for Metropolitan Growth, a company dedicated to attracting global investment to North America, and won the Author Prize for Non-Fiction from the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance in 2014 for his work, Suburban Erasure. His newest collection, The American Economy, examines changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and services since 1750. Dr. Greason serves as the Treasurer for the Society for American City and Regional Planning History, and recently earned a fellowship to develop a digital model of international economic growth from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “It is an honor to be able to induct such an outstanding group of individuals into our Hall of Fame this year. It is wonderful to recognize all of our inductees for their accomplishments as they serve as positive role-models for generations of students to come,” said Tom Moriau, Ranney School’s Director of Alumni Relations.
Ranney School’s Hall of Fame awards are divided into four categories: Distinguished Alumni, Distinguished Faculty, Visual & Performing Arts, and the Panther Athletic Hall of Fame. Additional 2016 inductees include: Class of 1984 Alum and part-owner of Sea Bright’s Ama Ristorante and Driftwood Cabana Club William Stavola; Class of 2004 Alum and Performer Adam Metzger; former English teacher and Army Colonel A. Kevin Quinn (posthumously); former Forensics Coach and Middle School Administrator Nancy Wade of Jackson; current Performing Arts Chair John Doyle of Keyport; current Fifth-Grade Teacher Doreen Fowlkes of Holmdel; and current Coach (soccer, tennis, and basketball) Barbara Bongiovanni of Wall Township. Both Fowlkes and Bongiovanni have been at Ranney for approximately 30 years.
Ranney will also celebrate its Alumni Weekend with Varsity Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer games on the night of Friday, October 7 (5 p.m. start time); a Play4TheCure Field Hockey game benefitting the National Foundation for Cancer Research on Saturday, October 8 at noon; and its Parents’ Association’s annual Family Fall Festival.

400 Days of Obama

Dr. Walter Greason
December 2015
President Obama has less than 400 days left in office. As the beginning of his eighth and final year approaches, it is important to take stock of his failures, accomplishments, contexts, and timelines as a way of framing American politics in the twenty-first century. The impossibility of the success of his candidacy in 2007 still informs much of the political discourse as the current presidential candidates in both parties try to capture a sense of insurgent optimism about their visions for the nation. By this standard alone, none of the candidates can hope to succeed. It will be multiple generations before we can truly assess the social significance of the audacious campaign Senator Barack Obama led.
The most immediately contentious terrain for evaluation is the standing of the United States in the world community and President Obama’s explicit stance as an anti-war commander in chief. On this ground, critics and opponents have been the most vocal and numerous. Conservatives attack the lack of strident militarism in the Obama foreign policy, seeking to expand on the global military state the George W. Bush administration attempted to establish. Liberals lament the failure to close Guantanamo Bay, the expansion of state surveillance, and the constant use of drone warfare to attack Al Qaeda and ISIL. Both perspectives underestimate the complexity of the conflict and showcase unrealistic expectations for easy resolutions. The effort to contain and eliminate global terrorism is a process much more intricate than even the Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union. Terrorist networks are granular organizations with tiny footprints, despite their capacity to wreak mass casualty events. Only sustained coalitions on a global scale, especially in the creation of unprecedented special forces capacity across Africa and Asia, has any real hope of containing terrorist networks. Yet, this concept would still fail to eliminate the root causes of violent extremism.
The only real, long-term solution to the dispossession and disillusionment that leads people down the path of extreme violence comes from a source often reviled in western media – the Black Lives Matter movement and its related organizations. Citizen engagement and empowerment to radically transform local and regional governance and finance is the only permanent answer to radical terrorism. Isolated individuals must feel a sense of safety and belonging in order to believe that their lives have value and, in turn, that others’ lives matter. President Obama’s image, language, and actions allowed a longstanding element of American society to raise its voice in response to police killings over the last five years. Indeed, his example built a coalition of the LGBTQ community, feminists, civil rights advocates, and union organizers back to the center of federal policy for the first time since 1979. Most importantly, his administration built a new federal infrastructure to analyze and dismantle racial and economic segregation across the country. This movement for equal justice, empowered through both state and federal government initiatives, has a chance over the next year to re-write the standards of private finance and small enterprise creation. It is an opportunity to exceed the ambitions of the War on Poverty and to fundamentally lift the poor around the world into a global, middle class. Imagine a Freedman’s Bureau to oversee fair contracting and procurement. Imagine an Underground Railroad that promotes the free movement of labor everywhere.
The only audacity of hope that came from the successes of Barack Obama’s two terms in office is the determination of his voters to seize the reins of government. Local activists must become the new judges, politicians, and entrepreneurs to transform state legislatures, school boards, and town councils. The standard of an informed leader who listens to multiple perspectives and makes decisive decisions in the interests of all people, especially the most marginalized, must become the legacy of the Obama presidency. The specific accomplishments of a stable economy, a climate change accord, stronger allies, and a healthier population only scratch the surface of the analysis. The greatest victory is the fulfillment of a promise too long denied – both at home and abroad. Where the United States often claimed an identity of “e pluribus unum” (from many, one), the emphasis was often on the “unum” at the expense of the “pluribus.” President Obama’s time in office began the first real effort to recognize the nation and the world’s diversity in an inclusive way. There are many more steps on the path to becoming a united family of human beings, but we have taken a few steps forward since 2009. This progress is valuable and important to recognize.