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Since its emergence in the mid-nineteenth century as the nation's "metropolis," New York has faced the most challenging housing problems of any American city, but it has also led the nation in innovation and reform. The horrors of the tenement were perfected in New York at the same time that the very rich were building palaces along Fifth Avenue; public housing for the poor originated in New York, as did government subsidies for middle-class housing.A standard in the field since its publication in 1992, A History of Housing in New York City traces New York's housing development from 1850 to the present in text and profuse illustrations. Richard Plunz explores the housing of all classes, with comparative discussion of the development of types ranging from the single-family house to the high-rise apartment tower. His analysis is placed within the context of the broader political and cultural development of New York City. This revised edition extends the scope of the book into the city's recent history, adding three decades to the study, covering the recent housing bubble crisis, the rebound and gentrification of the five boroughs, and the ecological issues facing the next generation of New Yorkers. More than 300 illustrations are integrated throughout the text, depicting housing plans, neighborhood changes, and city architecture over the past 130 years. This new edition also features a foreword by the distinguished urban historian Kenneth T. Jackson.
Richard Plunz is professor of architecture and the director of the Earth Institute's Urban Design Lab at Columbia University, where he has also chaired the Division of Architecture and directed the Urban Design Program at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His many books include The Urban Lifeworld: Formation, Perception, Representation (2001), After Shopping (2003), Eco-Gowanus: Urban Remediation by Design (2007), and Urban Climate Change Crossroads (2010).
Kent Barwick, President, The Municipal Art Society of New York:Plunz provides an erudite, revealing, and relentlessly engaging portrait of a great urban place and its people. One would think the recollection of so many cycles of high-mindedness, ruthless exploitation, and damned foolishness would only exacerbate the discouragement we feel in the face of the intractable housing problems of our times. Somehow, that is not the case, for one is more impressed by the energy and the ingenuity, and the funny mix of social vision and business acumen upon which New York has been so unsatisfactorily but magnificently built.
Kenneth T. Jackson, Columbia University:Richard Plunz's landmark history offers a critical overview of how the complex and often pioneering housing industry has developed in the great metropolis of New York City. His new preface and chapter, which cover the last 25 years, enable readers to understand how the current housing reality came into being and what the future might hold for it. New York City, Plunz explains, plays the role the American frontier had played in the American imagination in the nineteenth century, the opening of the door to possibility...it must continue to do so.
Hillary Ballon, New York University:A History of Housing in New York is an indispensable book, and not just for those interested specifically in housing in NYC. If your subject is the history of New York City or urban housing anywhere, Richard Plunz's book is a 'must read'. It provides an expert introduction to a touchstone New York issue, the supply and affordability of housing, and incisively surveys an inventive portfolio of solutions to dense, urban living.
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