The Center for Urban Research and Education’s (CURE) Seminar Series will continue its spring season on Friday, March 1, with a presentation by Dr. Francesca Russello Ammon, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. She will present, “Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape.” 

The event will take place on Friday, March 1 at 12:15 p.m. in Armitage Hall’s Faculty Lounge.  Lunch will be served.  All are welcome to this free event. Questions may be directed to Ms. Lisa Alston

The abstract is as follows:

Although the decades following World War II stand out as an era of rapid growth and construction in the United States, those years were equally significant for large-scale destruction. In order to clear space for new suburban tract housing, an ambitious system of interstate highways, and extensive urban renewal development, wrecking companies demolished buildings while earthmoving contractors leveled land at an unprecedented pace and scale. This talk explores how postwar America came to equate this destruction with progress. The bulldozer functioned as both the means and the metaphor for this work. As the machine transformed from a wartime weapon into an instrument of postwar planning, it helped realize a landscape-altering “culture of clearance.” In the hands of the military, planners, politicians, engineers, construction workers, and even children’s book authors, the bulldozer became an American icon. Yet, social and environmental injustices emerged as clearance projects continued unabated. This awareness spurred environmental, preservationist, and citizen participation efforts that have helped to slow, although not entirely stop, the momentum of the postwar bulldozer.