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Old 12-31-2012, 08:13 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,006 posts, read 102,606,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Those photos are 4 decades off-topic. They were taken in the 1880's.
So? They show what conditions were like in these fabulous homes that were razed in slum clearance. (Some of them anyway, others remained.) You think some of these conditions didn't exist in 1920? I saw places almost as bad in the 1970s as a public health nurse.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
So? They show what conditions were like in these fabulous homes that were razed in slum clearance. (Some of them anyway, others remained.)
Yes, and many were gone by the 1920's. If I remember correctly, these photos inspired the development of stricter health, safety, and fire codes at the time. (or maybe it inspired the initial creation of such codes?)

Quote:
You think some of these conditions didn't exist in 1920?
I'm sure there still was a little bit of this kind of squalor in the poorest neighborhoods in the 1920's.

Quote:
I saw places almost as bad in the 1970s as a public health nurse.
This is something I've wondered about while reading your posts in this thread. How many of the dwellings you visited were inherently substandard, that couldn't easily be fixed, (i.e. dirt floors overlaid with cardboard) and how many dwellings were substandard because of neglect? (i.e. drafty/broken windows, worn out plumbing, leaking roofs, peeling paint, etc.) My biggest problem with slum clearance of the past is that most of it removed--IMO--building fabric that was "substandard" due mostly to neglect, and would be desirable today.

Here is an example from Cincinnati: Before and After: 12th and Vine | Over-the-Rhine Blog
If this were 1960, the buildings as seen in the before shots would have just been deemed "substandard" and bulldozed. There would have been no after shots.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:51 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
My biggest problem with slum clearance of the past is that most of it removed--IMO--building fabric that was "substandard" due mostly to neglect, and would be desirable today..
Precisely. Negligent slumlords were rewarded with top dollar payments for properties they spent little to maintain.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:21 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
So? They show what conditions were like in these fabulous homes that were razed in slum clearance. (Some of them anyway, others remained.) You think some of these conditions didn't exist in 1920? I saw places almost as bad in the 1970s as a public health nurse.
Well, yes. But there were far less of them. But living standards changed in those 40 years, new codes (state and city) were introduce in the first decade of 1900. A smaller fraction, my guess is much smaller portion of New York City was living similar slum-like conditions in 1920 compared to earlier. Judging from the photo, a few of those buildings may have already been gone by 1920. One slum that might have been in the photo was cleared in 1897. The ones that remain, don't have those conditions anymore. Cramped and poor layouts, but not the unsanitary conditions back then.

The most overcrowded districts started to empty out in the 20s, partially from construction of new neighborhoods elsewhere but partly from immigration restrictions.

After 1890:

The effect was the tearing down of New York's worst tenements, sweatshops, and the reformation of the city's schools. The book led to a decade of improvements in Lower East Side conditions, with sewers, garbage collection, and indoor plumbing all following soon after, thanks to public reaction.

How the Other Half Lives - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 12-31-2012, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
The OP asked about a modern/modernized city but preautomobile. To me that just means the city is different than today, but all the modern stuff like medicine has still advanced.
This is how I interpreted the OP as well. I didn't think he meant turning back the clock and living in tuberculosis-infected squalor.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:50 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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So as to that, ignoring the squalor (or assuming I wasn't living in it) it would be interesting to experience American cities as they used to be, much stronger downtowns and more focus on the city itself. Walk around say, the older parts of Philadelphia and Boston and you get a sense the city was much more important to the culture.

Many medium sized cities of New England and NY state were in better shape back then; the small cities were important places rather than often today, places mostly avoided and not disproportionately poor. I remember seeing a photo of downtown Springfield, MA from 100 years ago and I was impressed how busy the streets looked. Now it's rather dead. Living standards have improved, but a lot has been lost (at least in the perspective of those who like cities)
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Richmond/Philadelphia/Brooklyn
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I think my biggest problem with the slum clearence program is that while some placesin the lowere east side were substandard and needed to be redone, much of what was demplished were actually just lower class communities with their own history and culture. Demolidhing these places, no matter how shabby wrecked these communities, and p
Many of the poorer inhabitants who were usually helped out by community people were forced out onto the streets or to the next neighborhood that showed weaknesses in the rental market.

Lastly, I have more of a problem with what was built in these renewed areas. Most were turned into oversized un-human modernist civic centers, highways promoting un unsustaunable suburban lifestyle, and anti community-anti urban-anti social housing complexes which were not cared, or loved for by the inhabitants due to their dehumanizing feel. Overtime, most of these le-corbusier style towers in a park have become centers for delinquincy, or demolished because they harbored gangs, dlcrackhouses, etc. A good example of this would be the projects of Chicago.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:46 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,006 posts, read 102,606,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
This is something I've wondered about while reading your posts in this thread. How many of the dwellings you visited were inherently substandard, that couldn't easily be fixed, (i.e. dirt floors overlaid with cardboard) and how many dwellings were substandard because of neglect? (i.e. drafty/broken windows, worn out plumbing, leaking roofs, peeling paint, etc.) My biggest problem with slum clearance of the past is that most of it removed--IMO--building fabric that was "substandard" due mostly to neglect, and would be desirable today.
I do not have your architectural expertise, but surely a house with a dirt floor has other problems as well. These homes were not built to be the exclusive homes in town, they were built to house low-income workers. Also, when one renovates, the renovated area must be brought up to present code. For example, our house was built in 1980. In 1999, just 19 years later, we did some repair work in the basement, and the basement windows had to be enlarged and stairways installed in the window wells for egress, something that was not part of our city's building code in 1980. A few years later, we remodeled the kitchen and had to have more outlets installed (not because we were acquiring any more electrical appliances, mind you, just to bring up to code), and another furnace register had to be placed in the kitchen as well. This is in a house that was considered a "semi-custom" home in an area that was considered affluent in 1980, affluent for Louisville that is.

Sure, neglect was part of it, but not the only issue. Paper-thin walls, lack of safety features (access/egress), unsafe electrical wiring (no ground fault interrupters), and many other issues are part of it as well. DH and I once rented a house in Champaign, IL (where I saw some of the worst housing of my career) that was originally built in 1953 without a furnace! Now Champaign isn't as cold as the upper midwest, but it sure as heck isn't Florida either.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:50 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,006 posts, read 102,606,536 times
Reputation: 33064
Quote:
Originally Posted by pantin23 View Post
I think my biggest problem with the slum clearence program is that while some placesin the lowere east side were substandard and needed to be redone, much of what was demplished were actually just lower class communities with their own history and culture. Demolidhing these places, no matter how shabby wrecked these communities, and p
Many of the poorer inhabitants who were usually helped out by community people were forced out onto the streets or to the next neighborhood that showed weaknesses in the rental market.

Lastly, I have more of a problem with what was built in these renewed areas. Most were turned into oversized un-human modernist civic centers, highways promoting un unsustaunable suburban lifestyle, and anti community-anti urban-anti social housing complexes which were not cared, or loved for by the inhabitants due to their dehumanizing feel. Overtime, most of these le-corbusier style towers in a park have become centers for delinquincy, or demolished because they harbored gangs, dlcrackhouses, etc. A good example of this would be the projects of Chicago.
Yes, the projects of Chicago were a disaster. However, I will say that big apt. buildings is what a lot of New Urbanists are promoting for cities. We're always celebrating "density" on this forum. I've been in a lot of housing projects, too. Most of them are uninspiring, but I will say they usually have a working kitchen and bathroom, and the city/county is a better landlord than a lot of slumlords when it comes to fixing problems.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:08 PM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,104,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Yes, the projects of Chicago were a disaster. However, I will say that big apt. buildings is what a lot of New Urbanists are promoting for cities. We're always celebrating "density" on this forum. I've been in a lot of housing projects, too. Most of them are uninspiring, but I will say they usually have a working kitchen and bathroom, and the city/county is a better landlord than a lot of slumlords when it comes to fixing problems.
Not universally. Check out that documentary I mentioned a few pages back (or was it a different thread?)

You're also sort of implying that the residents who lived in the buildings you visited would be living in places without plumbing. You're about 6 decades off on drawing that conclusion for probably 96% of them.
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