Model city blues: urban space and organized resistance in by Mandi Isaacs Jackson

By Mandi Isaacs Jackson

"Model urban Blues" tells the tale of the way typical humans, dealing with a altering urban panorama, fought for his or her personal version of the "ideal urban" through developing grassroots plans for city renewal. jam-packed with brilliant descriptions of vital moments in a chronic fight, it deals a street-level account of prepared resistance to institutional plans to remodel New Haven, Connecticut within the Nineteen Sixties. Anchored within the actual areas and political struggles of the town, it brings again to middle degree the contributors and teams who demanded that their voices be heard. by means of re-examining the converging category - and race-based hobbies of Sixties New Haven, Mandi Jackson is helping to give an explanation for the city's present-day monetary and political struggles. extra largely, through heavily interpreting specific websites of resistance in New Haven, "Model urban Blues" employs a number of educational disciplines to re-define and re-imagine the jobs of daily urban areas in construction social pursuits and growing city landscapes.

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24 / Introduction The idea for a coffeehouse emerged just as AIM’s Urban Renewal Committee stepped up its fight against the State Street Garage, the Ring Road, and other highway plans throughout the city. Both AIM and its organizational ally, the Draft Action Group (DAG), sought a comfortable and relaxed space to bring people into the movement, hold meetings and cultural activities, distribute literature, and generally give people a place to meet and talk. Bread and Roses operated at cost, off of donated labor and supplies, and made the space into a living and thriving physical site of resistance to the RA’s plans for State Street.

As such, it constitutes one of history’s often overlooked grassroots victories, and suggests disquieting possibilities for what this stillsegregated, heavily gentrified, and painstakingly remapped city would have looked like today if the road had been built. Economist Rick Wolff, an activist in the American Independent Movement (AIM), which fought many battles with the Lee administration, Yale University, and New Haven’s other corporate powers, imagined that, had the project been completed, the city would be divided in three “stark” areas: a walled hospital and university complex accessed through a “safe, white” corridor down scenic Prospect Street, an isolated “black and Hispanic ghetto” comprised of the Hill, Dixwell, Newhallville, and Westville areas, and—across the Mill River—the “Hispanic ghetto” of Fair Haven.

29 But the massive garage was never built, and the plans for the Ring Road seemed to recede out of possibility as plans for its different six-lane legs were stalled or otherwise undone by a combination of collective actions and shifting priorities, locally and nationally. Downtown Somewhere between the downtown of the distant past—with its walking scale, mixed use, open-air markets, and mom-and-pop shops—and today’s downtown—where luxury apartments are carved into the abandoned fossils of a one-time urban shopping mall—was the downtown of the 1960s: a scattering of the very old and the very new, scarred with construction sites, laced with scaffolding, in a seemingly constant state of “renewal” that looked to some like progress and to others like Armageddon.

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