Building Gotham: Civic Culture And Public Policy In New York City, 1898–1938 by Keith D. RevellBuilding Gotham: Civic Culture And Public Policy In New York City, 1898–1938 by Keith D. Revell

Building Gotham: Civic Culture And Public Policy In New York City, 1898–1938

byKeith D. Revell

Paperback | April 28, 2005

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In 1898, the New York state legislature created Greater New York, a metropolis of three and a half million people, the second largest city in the world, and arguably the most diverse and complex urban environment in history. In this far-ranging study, Keith D. Revell shows how experts in engineering, law, architecture, public health, public finance, and planning learned to cope with the daunting challenges of collective living on this new scale. Engineers applied new technologies to build railroad tunnels under the Hudson River and construct aqueducts to quench the thirst of a city on the verge of water famine. Sanitarians attempted to clean up a harbor choked by millions of gallons of raw sewage. Economists experimented with new approaches to financing urban infrastructure. Architects and planners wrestled with the problems of skyscraper regulation and regional growth. These issues of city-building and institutional change involved more than the familiar push and pull of interest groups or battles between bosses, reformers, immigrants, and natives. Revell details the ways that technical values—distinctive civic culture of expertise—helped reshape ideas of community, generate new centers of public authority, and change the physical landscape of New York City.

Building Gotham thus demonstrates how a group of ambitious professionals overcame the limits of traditional means of decision-making and developed the city-building practices that enabled New York to become America's first mega-city.

Keith D. Revell is an associate professor of public administration in the School of Policy and Management at Florida International University.
Title:Building Gotham: Civic Culture And Public Policy In New York City, 1898–1938Format:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.89 inPublished:April 28, 2005Publisher:Johns Hopkins University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801882060

ISBN - 13:9780801882067

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Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgements

Introduction: Conceiving the New Metropolis: Expertise, Public Policy, and the Problem of Civis Culture in New York CityPART 1: Private Infrastructure and Public Policy

1 "The Public Be Pleased": Railroad Planning, Engineering Culture, and the Promise of Quasi-scientific Voluntarism

2 Beyond Voluntarism: The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Railroads, and Freight Planning for New York Harbor

PART 2: Public Infrastructure, Local Autonomy, and Private Wealth3 Buccaneer Bureaucrats, Physical Interdependence, and Free Riders: Building the Underground City

4 Taxing, Spending, and Borrowing: Expanding Public Claims on Private Wealth

PART 3: Urban Planning, Private Rights, and Public Power

5 City Planning versus the Law: Zoning the New Metropolis

6 "They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair": Regional Planning and the Metropolitan DilemmaConclusion: "An almost mystical unity": Interdependence and the Public Interest in the Modern Metropolis




Editorial Reviews

Absolutely essential reading for anyone trying to appreciate the achievements of Progressive reform—and its inadvertent consequences... A richly insightful book that will be read by anyone concerned about New York, public life, and the present state of American liberalism.This fresh look at the origin of various forms of planning in New York City at the start of the twentieth century represents the 'new institutionalism' in history at its best. Revell's realism, balance, and sanity offer an antidote to recent scholarly nihilism about public action without romanticizing the roles of corporations, experts or elected officials. Building Gotham is powerful, nicely and imaginatively researched, and very well written.