The collection is organized into separable "Series." Most series
identify with particular cities or neighborhoods within cities. Some are
organizations, and others are individuals. Major resources include Berkeley,
Burlington, Chicago, Boston, Hartford, Santa Monica and Cleveland. There is
minor coverage for other places: Sheffield and London, UK; Madison, Wisconsin. There
are also series for organizations: The Conference on Alternative State and
Local Policies was prominent supporting the work of many of the cities and
individuals listed here between 1985 and 1985, and successor organizations
continued in one form or another - it held national and regional conferences
during this period, that supplement the particular city materials listed here,
and widen coverage to many dozen additional places. Planners Network is another
organization for which material is collected here. The Paul Davidoff and Walter
Thabit papers reflect Suburban Action and Planners for Equal Opportunity,
Series I: Santa Monica, California
in Santa Monica city government began when in 1979 Santa Monicans for Renters
Rights (SMRR) succeeded with a rent control initiative; that election also
brought in two city council members. In 1981, SMRR in coalition with the city's
Democratic Club and other groups won majority control and implemented steps to
control development and open city administration to popular participation.
The Cornell collection includes extensive local newspaper coverage for
1984-1988; eighteen transcripts of interviews of local officials and activists,
and 48 documents ranging from draft memoranda and papers to official city
The experience of progressive government in Santa Monica is referenced
in a number of books. See Stella Capek and John Gilderbloom, Community versus
Commodity : Tenants and the American city (1992), and Mark Kann, Middle Class
Radicalism in Santa Monica (1986).
Series II: Great Britain
collection includes material from other countries, and there are efforts
underway to build on contacts and research on Sheffield and London (U.K) in the
1980s by Robert Kraushaar and Pierre Clavel. They have deposited a preliminary
set of materials from these and other UK places, at total of 258 pieces:
documents, interviews and not easily accessible articles.
The British cases had a great deal of published analysis and history.
See the journal, Local Economy, and such volumes as Maureen Mackintosh and
Hillary Wainwright A Taste of Power: the politics of local economics
Series III: Berkeley, California
Berkeley had created a liberal city council regime in the 1960s, but its
administrative style, dependent on a city manager form of government, clashed
with expectations for participatory reforms and redistributive programs that
emerged from civil rights and student movements. An "April Coalition" won city
council seats beginning in 1969, and was able to generate support by putting
initiatives on the ballot. By 1979 the Berkeley radicals, now having adopted a
formal structure as Berkeley Citizens Action (BCA) won a working majority of
the city council. Under Mayor Gus Newport (1979-86) and Lonnie Hancock
(1986-94) the city continued its progressive reforms.
The Cornell collection derives from research by Pierre Clavel and
others, and includes 29 interview transcripts, 45 key city documents, and 174
news clippings covering the years from 1974 to 1996.
Series IV: Hartford, Connecticut
after the resignation of four members of the city council and summers of
rioting made the city seem unmanageable, the Democratic Party leadership
appointed young activist Nicholas Carbone to the city council, where he quickly
asserted leadership. As majority leader for the next decade, Carbone presided
over a series of development agreements that reserved developer profits for
city residents, supported the nationally recognized Hartford Food System, and
created a number of city practices that favored poor residents.
The Cornell collection comes from research done by Pierre Clavel in
the 1980s, and includes interview tapes and transcripts, 93 news clippings from
local and other sources, and 68 other documents.
Series V: Cleveland, Ohio
"progressive city" experience - apart from the period of Tom Johnson's
mayoralty in 1900-1908 - is best known for the tumultuous term of populist
Dennis Kucinich in 1977-79. There was also the liberal mayoralty of Carl Stokes
in 1967-71, the grass roots organizing supported by the Catholic diocese in the
1970s, the community development organizations that flourished from the 1970s
at least through 2005, the investigative journalism of Roldo Bartimole
reflected in his bi-weekly or monthly Point of View, and the work of city
planner Norman Krumholz with the city and later at Cleveland State University's
College of Urban Affairs.
The Cornell collection derives initially from research by Pierre
Clavel in the 1980s, and includes interview tapes and transcripts, 24 key city
documents, a number of news clippings covering mainly the period 1968-1979, and
many issues of Point of View.
The best published treatment of the Cleveland politics in the Kucinich
years is Todd Swanstrom, The Crisis of Growth Politics (1985); and on Krumholz'
planning it is Norman Krumholz and John Forester, Making Equity Planning Work
Series VI: Burlington, Vermont
Bernie Sanders surprised Burlington by winning election for Mayor by ten votes
in 1981, ushering in a period of progressive control of the city that was still
in effect in 2005. After a year of fierce opposition from the city council,
Sanders was able to implement reforms, notably through the establishment of a
Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) in 1983, and the appointment
of several key administrators. One result was a set of "good government"
reforms: treasurer Jonathan Leopold found ways to save the city significant
expenses; and Sanders opened up city hall to citizen participation. There were
also new citize3n boards and commissions. There was a program to train women in
the construction trades and place them in jobs. The city also exerted control
on development in new ways. Most striking may have been the housing programs
promoted by CEDO, in concert with the Burlington Community Land Trust, which
created "permanently affordable" units and generated community support for city
In the 1990s Sanders' successor as mayor, Peter Clavelle, consolidated
progressive initiatives. Major features that distinguished the city included
city composting and recycling facilities, continued housing development and a
host of other innovations.
The collection includes interview tapes and transcripts, 52 key city
documents, and over 500 news clippings.
Several books have appeared reporting on progressive government in
Burlington. See Greg Guma, The People's Republic : Vermont and the Sanders
revolution (1989); and John Davis, The Affordable City (1994). Cornell thesis
treatments include Renee Jakobs, Planning and politics : a case study of
progressive city administration in Burlington, Vermont, 1981-1983 (1984);
Catherine Hill, Bernie Sanders, the working classes' candidate (1989) and Maile
Deppe, Reinventing local government : creating a culture of concern,
participation, and decision-making a case study of Burlington, Vermont
Series VII: Chicago and Harold Washington
Washington was known as Chicago's first African American
mayor (1983-87), and as a reform mayor who presided over a drastic reduction in
patronage jobs, the death of "the machine as we knew it" in the face of massive
city council resistance, a period called "council wars." Washington's
innovative, neighborhood oriented economic policy is less well known. City
planner Robert Mier and a set of local academics and activists had created the
Rehab Network and the Community Workshop in Economic Development, and these and
their ideas infused Washington's campaign. Mier later became Commissioner of
Economic Development, and many others became involved in administrative posts
or in continued neighborhood activism pressuring the city administration.
Research by Kenneth Reardon, Xolela Mangcu and Pierre Clavel, and
contributions from many others are reflected in the Cornell collection. At this
time there are 40 city documents and other items from the neighborhood
movement, 32 news clippings covering mainly the years 1980-1988; and eight
longer manuscripts and published articles. There is also a 25 minute video,
"Harold Washington and the Neighborhoods," produced by Wim Wiewel and Pierre
Clavel in 1991.
There is a good deal of retrospective work on the Washington
mayoralty. For a general treatment see Gary Rivlin, Fire on the Prairie (1992).
There is a number of books. See Pierre Clavel and Wim Wewel, eds., Harold
Washington and the Neighborhoods (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press,
1991) for chapters by five persons who worked in city government under
Washington, and five community activists and academics. Joel Rast, Remaking
Chicago : the political origins of urban industrial change (1999), recounts the
development of a neighborhood oriented economic policy and its promulgation for
a number of years in the successor mayoralty of Richard M. Daley. Robert Mier's
Social Justice and Local Development Policy (1993) recounts Mier's work, with
co-authors from among his colleagues. See also Norman Krumholz and Pierre
Clavel, Reinventing Cities: Equity Planners Tell Their Stories (Philadelphia:
Temple University Press, 1994) for chapters by Mier, Kari Moe and Art Vazquez;
and Cornell doctoral theses: Xolela Mangcu, Harold Washington and the cultural
transformation of local government in Chicago, 1983-1987 (1997); and Kenneth
Reardon, Local economic development in Chicago 1983-1987 : the reform efforts
of Mayor Harold Washington (1990).
Other archival sources include the "Harold Washington Neighborhood
Papers" collection, at the Chicago Historical Society, and collections at the
Harold Washington Library in Chicago.
Series VIII: Boston Under Raymond Flynn
Boston's population had tired of "liberal" politics
under the 16 year mayoralty of Kevin White when, in 1983, South Boston populist
Ray Flynn and African American "rainbow coalition" advocate Mel King reached a
dead heat in the preliminary mayoral election. Flynn prevailed in the general
election, ushering in more than a decade of effort to implement redistributive
programs, notably around affordable housing, by taxing and otherwise extracting
surplus from the city's booming office and upscale housing development. The key
innovation was "linkage," a formalization of Hartford-style development
agreements that assessed a square foot development exaction on large projects.
General acceptance of that led to a series of other programs and policies that
gave Flynn momentum and a national platform to argue for similar policies in
the face of conservative national governments.
King's "rainbow coalition" had remained in opposition to Flynn,
pushing for community control. Later it seemed to decline under successor mayor
Thomas Menino. But waves of immigration had made Boston a "majority-minority
city" after 2000, and a set of ethnically diverse new political faces gave the
rainbow coalition new currency.
The collection reflects research and interviews done by Pierre Clavel
and Ken Reardon between 1986 and 2004; a substantial number of interview
transcripts, documents, press clippings and articles that were projected for
indexing in 2006.
There is a dearth of published accounts of Flynn's mayoralty. Who
Rules Boston (1984) provides background from the point of view of local
activists. There is a series of articles by Peter Dreier, who was Flynn's
Director of Housing. The best critical piece is Marie Kennedy, Chris Tilly and
Mauricio Gaston, "Transformative Populism and the Development of a Community of
Color" in Dilemmas in Activism: Class, Community and the Politics of Local
Mobilization, edited by Joseph Kling and Prudence Posner. Philadelphia: Temple
University Press (1990).
Series IX: Other Places
A number of other places in the United States, Canada,
Europe and Latin America experienced the sorts of government reform that
happened in the cities with major representation in this collection. It is our
intent to get a selection of materials from the main such places: Montreal,
Toronto, and Vancouver in Canada; Bologna and other Italian places, and
selected Latin American cities.
Madison, Wisconsin is a notable U.S. case for which we have minor
coverage, but its longtime progressive mayor Paul Soglin and current
progressive David Cieslowitz require a further effort. Other places had notable
representation in the Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies in the
1970s, and we are compiling the work of that organization, indicated separately
There is some published work on these places: Max Jaggi et al, Red
Bologna (1977) was a well known early example; Daniel Chavez and Benjamin
Goldfrank, eds., The Left in the City (2004) is a recent review of developments
in Latin America. On Canada, see Warren Magnusson, The search for political
space : globalization, social movements, and the urban political experience
Series X: Interviews
Series XI: Interview Transcripts
Series XII: Neighborhood Planning
While in "Progressive Cities" neighborhood activists
ran for elective office and won control of city governments, an equally
important shift in local government practice is represented in thousands of
"neighborhood planning" experiences -- such activities as community organizing,
city government inspired participatory neighborhood planning, and the emergence
of community development corporations and allied organizations. Research and
involvement by Kenneth Rearcon in East St. Louis and several New York City
neighborhoods and Pierre Clavel in Community Development Corporations in
Youngstown, Ohio, Wiscasset, Maine, and elsewhere have formed the initial basis
for these collections, supplemented by a number of dissertations and
Series XIII: Other
City-Initiated Participatory Neighborhood Planning.
Community Development Corporations.
Other relevant collections in the Cornell University Archives
Much of the background of city policy and neighborhood planning
relevant to these cities is contained in collections acquired at various times
as part of the larger "Planning Archives" at Cornell. This larger grouping is
documented in Urban America: Documenting the Planners, by Elaine D. Engst and
H. Thomas Hickerson, catalogue for a 1985 exhibition at the Olin Library. The
relevant collections or papers are listed in the Documentation Newsletter,
Cornell University Libraries, Department of Manuscripts and University
Archives, Vol. XVI, No. 1 (Spring 1990), "Collections on City and Regional
Planning," pp. 8-23, which lists some 170 separate collections acquired by that
Of particular relevance to the "Progressive Cities and Neighborhood
Planning" collection would be the papers of Charles Abrams, Paul Davidoff and
Walter Thabit. The Abrams collection has received extensive documentation. See
Charles Abrams: Papers and Files - A Guide to the Microfilm Publication.
(Ithaca, NY: Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, Olin Library,
Cornell University, 1975).
Conference on Alternative State and Local
In the first
post-1960s years of U.S. progressive city government, Lee Webb, Derek Shearer
and others created the Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies with
support from progressive foundations and quarters in the Institute of Policy
Studies in Washington DC.