Rockefeller Archive Center

Rockefeller Archive Center Research Reports are created by recipients of research travel stipends and by many others who have conducted research at the RAC. The reports demonstrate the breadth of the RAC's archival holdings, particularly in the study of philanthropy and its effects. Read more about the history of philanthropy at resource.rockarch.org. Also, see the RAC Bibliography of Scholarship, a comprehensive online database of publications citing RAC archival collections.
Clear all

9 results found

reorder grid_view

New Paradigms of Urban Planning in Developing Countries and the Ford Foundation: The Case of the Special Programs in Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) at MIT (1967-1976)

October 28, 2020

This report provides an overview of Ford Foundation (FF) support for the structuring of urban planning theories and methods, responding to the issues facing developing countries during the 1960s and 1970s. My research gathered much data on the FF's support for innovative urban planning and community management in developing countries from the 1950s to the 1990s. However, this report focuses specifically on the support of the Ford Foundation for the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), from its establishment in 1967 to the early 1980s. By the early 1980s, SPURS was a durable program which trained dozens of high-profile professionals coming mostly from developing countries. The view of the program provided by the reports and correspondence located at the Rockefeller Archive Center shows the Ford Foundation's contribution and influence in setting up an internationalized professional field for urban planning. The grant records are instrumental for comprehending how this program was both developing an international network of professionals and advocating for housing policies that related to the special needs of self-help squatters' owner-builders. Lastly, my report introduces a discussion regarding the influence of SPURS in the shift of urban planning doctrine for cities of the "Global South" and especially for slums management that was recognized at the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held in Vancouver in 1976, more commonly known as Habitat I.

Ford Foundation; Social Sciences; Urban and Suburban

A New Dealized Grand Old Party: Labor, Civil Rights, and the Remaking of American Liberalism, 1935-1973

July 21, 2020

Drawing on the wealth of material from the Nelson A. Rockefeller papers held at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC), my dissertation project examines the rise and fall of the "liberal" wing of the mid-twentieth century Republican Party. Big city Republicans from industrial states faced social movements that made mass democracy a vibrant force. Liberal Republicans emerged among the typically wellto-do men and women of older and established neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. While no less an elite class than other Republican partisans, urban Republicans witnessed the upheavals and political transformation of the city firsthand. Unlike the rural and suburban right, big city Republicans simply could not imagine mounting a frontal assault against the vaunted New Deal coalition. In this setting, the reactionary bent of the party's base actually looked more like an electoral liability. Liberal Republicans insisted that winning statewide (or national) office required votes from major cities home to a diverse and organized working class that otherwise voted for Democrats. But securing any significant segment of that vote required a series of accommodations that most Republicans simply could not tolerate.

Nelson A. Rockefeller Papers; Rockefeller Family; Urban and Suburban

The Business/Labor Working Group

May 13, 2020

In February 1976, New York Senator Jacob Javits summoned a group of public officials, including Governor Hugh Carey, New York City Mayor Abraham Beame, and some leading businessmen to his New York offices to discuss how to create jobs in the city. Since the recession of 1970–71, private-sector employment had fallen sharply, a trend greatly exacerbated by deep cuts to the public-sector work force during the previous year's scrape with bankruptcy. As the city emerged from the brink of insolvency, with its fiscal hands tied as a result, Javits wanted to discuss ways to "improve the perceived and actual business climate" of the city—specifically, "to prepare an analysis of the measures required to keep business (and therefore employment) in the City" and to develop a plan "for New York City's best prospects for economic development during the next 3 to 5 years." Out of this meeting, Javits moved to organize a task force "aimed at improving the employment climate in New York City." Carey was initially "highly skeptical" of the task-force idea, but Javits and Beame were enthusiastic, and with their support, Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman David Rockefeller pushed the plan ahead. From these beginnings emerged the Business/Labor Working Group (B/LWG), a collection of business and private-sector union leaders which issued a widely-read set of recommendations in late 1976.

Economics; Rockefeller Family; Urban and Suburban; Warren T. Lindquist Papers

The Ford Foundation and Visions of Urban Development in 1960s India

March 26, 2020

My PhD dissertation, "Global Townscape: The Rediscovery of Urban Life in the Late Twentieth Century," is a history of the Townscape movement, a British urban planning movement that emerged in the 1940s and 1950s and emphasized mixed-use planning, urban density, and the "life of the street." In its focus on vernacular, human-scale urbanism, Townscape echoed the ideas of American scholar and activist Jane Jacobs, whose 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (published the same year as Townscape, the movement's seminal text), outlined a similar vision of urban intricacy.

Ford Foundation; Urban and Suburban; William H. Whyte Papers

Urbanist William H. Whyte and the Observational Study of Public Spaces in New York City

October 16, 2018

I visited the Rockefeller Archive Center to research the William H. Whyte papers for my doctoral dissertation, "Transactional Terrains: Partnerships, Bargains and the Postwar Redefinition of the Public Realm, New York City 1965-1980," that traces the architectural and urban history of the privatization of the public realm. At the center of the research is New York City during the "urban crisis" years of the 1960s. The period saw an ongoing shift in how city and state governments initiated, financed, and managed architecture and urban development. As an administrative apparatus of crisis management, the public-private partnership was the fiscal and legal device that was at the center of this shift. With the public-private partnership, there was an increased emphasis on transactions between jurisdictional authorities and private sector actors. The 1960s witnessed the beginnings of organized cultivation of private sector participation by city and state governments, in the funding, management, and provision of public goods (parks, plazas, and housing). By examining the ecology and economy of these public-private partnerships, the dissertation seeks to examine the privatization of the public realm in New York City as a series of complex intersections between the city's economic, political, urban, architectural and real-estate histories beginning in the 1960s. Urbanist William H. Whyte's writings, research, and speeches on the design and value of public spaces in New York City have shaped policy and theory in architecture, urban design, and planning since the early 1960s. He was a prominent figure, specifically for my first chapter.

Urban and Suburban; William H. Whyte Papers

Capital City: Local Businesses and Global Development Institutions in Calcutta’s Economic Decline

October 11, 2018

When the Ford Foundation entered India in 1951, its focus was overwhelmingly rural. As its presence expanded over time, it branched out to other areas such as education and culture, small-scale industrial development, manpower and management, population control and family planning, and technical training. Historians of development and U.S. foreign relations have over the past decade explored various facets of the foundation's activities in India. However, thus far, its role in the urban sphere in India and perhaps even globally has not received much scholarly attention. I began my research at the Rockefeller Archive Center in September 2017, with the intention of studying a very specific urban project in India: the Ford Foundation's planning assistance to Calcutta (now Kolkata) from 1961 to 1974, then India's largest and industrially most important city. Given the lack of secondary references on this topic, I came in with some basic questions. 1) Why did the Ford Foundation get involved in Calcutta's urban renewal project? 2) What was the nature of the Foundation's involvement? More specifically, was it a grant for training or simply a planning program? At that stage in my dissertation research, I had hoped to have a chapter on the Ford Foundation and use it as a contrast to study the response of locally-based Indian and British businesses to Calcutta's civic and infrastructural problems, which had started to make international headlines by the late 1950s. In fact, my main focus was on Calcutta's businesses. However, as I will chart out in this report, the archival materials at the RAC persuaded me to reorient and broaden my core research questions and framework.

Ford Foundation; Urban and Suburban

Planning and Ideology: American-Yugoslav Project

December 11, 2017

In 1968 the Ford Foundation (FF) approved a grant of $180,000 to Wayne State University (WSU) over a two-year period to support the American-Yugoslav Project (AYP). The grant proposal was made by Jack C. Fischer, Vladimir Mušič and Lojze Rojec to Stanley T. Gordon of the FF in order to assist the American-Yugoslav Project for Regional and Urban Planning Studies and thus to complete experimental plans for the city and region of Ljubljana. At the same time the FF grant would also continue to support interdisciplinary training in urban-regional planning methods for Yugoslav specialists.

Cold War; Ford Foundation; Urban and Suburban

U.S. Foundations, Urban Design, and International Development since 1945

September 21, 2017

This report focuses on research I conducted at the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in March 2017 in support of my current book project, The Urban International: Design and Development from the Marshall Plan to Microfinance. The Urban International is a political, cultural, and intellectual history of the global dissemination of urban design and international development concepts since 1945, with a focus on the role of philanthropic foundations, universities, and international organizations. After World War II, cities around the world were physically transformed by economic concepts and design principles pioneered in the United States and Western Europe. Brasília, Brazil's modernist capital, and Chandigarh, India's first post-independence planned city, are well-known examples of European design concepts transferred to the global South by a transnational class of architects and planners. Most such undertakings, however, were of a more modest scale and often financed by philanthropic and international organizations. By investigating a range of programs sponsored by organizations including the UN, UNESCO, the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, The Urban International reconstructs how ideas about the design and management of North Atlantic cities influenced, and were influenced by, development projects in the global South. The study asks how urban planners, architects, consultants, academics, public officials, and grassroots activists circulated ideas about how cities should look, who counted as urban citizens, and who should have access to public space and public resources. Those guiding questions are situated in an examination of the shift from modernization projects to neoliberal development in cities around the world between 1945 and the present. The same people and organizations directed and funded development projects in the global South and urban revitalization projects in North Atlantic cities, and this project aims to demonstrate that their work was one conduit through which neoliberal ideas moved between cities around the world.

Ford Foundation; Rockefeller Foundation; Urban and Suburban

Watershed Moments: An Environmental History of the New York City Water Supply

January 1, 2009

Watershed Moments highlights changes in democratic governance and environmental policy in twentieth-century America by exploring the development and elaboration of New York City's water supply network. Unlike most historical treatments of municipal water supply, this study emphasizes water management over system construction. Placing issues of management at the center of the narrative reveals the transformations in City water policy and the growing trend toward resource cooperation that marked the final decades of the twentieth century. Sociologists and political scientists have recognized the increasing tendency toward consensus on thorny environmental conflicts in the 1990s, but they have not probed the historical forces behind this transformation. This study fills this important gap in the literature though a careful analysis of the country's most extensive water supply network.

Ecology and Environment; Rockefeller Family; Urban and Suburban

Showing 9 of 9 results

arrow_upward