Post WWII Era Suburbs - Talk Friday

The Montgomery County Planning Department


Richard Longstreth

 Where The Boom Babies Grew Up - Post WWII Era Suburban Tracts and Complexes

Friday September 20, 2013

Please arrive at 12:45 PM

1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Auditorium at  M-NCPPC

8787 Georgia Avenue

Silver Spring, MD

 As we move toward more transit oriented development and work to retrofit our existing suburbs, we search for opportunities to use existing infrastructure and land area efficiently.  As we evaluate these opportunities, it is important to fully understand the residential developments in these suburban areas of the post-WWII era -- both lower density modest single-family house tracts and garden apartment complexes with acres of green space.  Which of these – if any - are worth preserving intact …and why?  And how might we make such qualitative judgments especially where redevelopment offers a way to provide more affordable housing? 

This concerns not only the physical features of these tracts and complexes but the associations some of them may have with significant people or events.  We need to understand what tradeoffs are appropriate when hard decisions are being made about where retrofitting and redevelopment should occur.


Richard Longstreth is professor of American studies and director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at George Washington University. He has written extensively on 20th-century subjects, including "City Center to Regional Mall: Architecture, the Automobile, and Retailing in Los Angeles, 1920-1950," "The Drive-In, the Supermarket and the Transformation of Commercial Space in Los Angeles, 1914-1941" (both MIT Press), and "The Department Store Transformed, 1920-1960" (Yale University Press. "Looking Beyond the Icons: A Legacy of Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism from the Recent Past" is due for release by the University of Virginia in 2015. A collection of color photographs he took of architecture along American roadsides during the 1970s will be published by Rizzoli next year. He has taken an active role in preserving numerous buildings from the mid-twentieth century for the past thirty years.






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