Based on her extensive experience in the urban communities of Los Angeles, historian and architect Dolores Hayden proposes new perspectives on gender, race, and ethnicity to broaden the practice of public history and public art, enlarge urban preservation, and reorient the writing of urban history to spatial struggles.
In the first part of The Power of Place, Hayden outlines the elements of a social history of urban space to connect people's lives and livelihoods to the urban landscape as it changes over time. She then explores how communities and professionals can tap the power of historic urban landscapes to nurture public memory.
The second part documents a decade of research and practice by The Power of Place, a nonprofit organization Hayden founded in downtown Los Angeles. Through public meetings, walking tours, artists's books, and permanent public sculpture, as well as architectural preservation, teams of historians, designers, planners, and artists worked together to understand, preserve, and commemorate urban landscape history as African American, Latina, and Asian American families have experienced it.
One project celebrates the urban homestead of Biddy Mason, an African American ex-slave and midwife active betwen 1856 and 1891. Another reinterprets the Embassy Theater where Rose Pesotta, Luisa Moreno, and Josefina Fierro de Bright organized Latina dressmakers and cannery workers in the 1930s and 1940s. A third chapter tells the story of a historic district where Japanese American family businesses flourished from the 1890s to the 1940s. Each project deals with bitter memories—slavery, repatriation, internment—but shows how citizens survived and persevered to build an urban life for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Drawing on many similar efforts around the United States, from New York to Charleston, Seattle to Cincinnati, Hayden finds a broad new movement across urban preservation, public history, and public art to accept American diversity at the heart of the vernacular urban landscape. She provides dozens of models for creative urban history projects in cities and towns across the country.
Long before Betty Friedan wrote about "the problem that had no name" in The Feminine Mystique, a group of American feminists whose leaders included Melusina Fay Peirce, Mary Livermore, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman campaigned against women's isolation in the home and confinement to domestic life as the basic cause of their unequal position in society.
The Grand Domestic Revolution reveals the innovative plans and visionary strategies of these persistent women, who developed the theory and practice of what Hayden calls "material feminism" in pursuit of economic independence and social equality. The material feminists' ambitious goals of socialized housework and child care meant revolutionizing the American home and creating community services. They raised fundamental questions about the relationship of men, women, and children in industrial society. Hayden analyzes the utopian and pragmatic sources of the feminists' programs for domestic reorganization and the conflicts over class, race, and gender they encountered.
This history of a little-known intellectual tradition challenging patriarchal notions of "women's place" and "women's work" offers a new interpretation of the history of American feminism and a new interpretation of the history of American housing and urban design. Hayden shows how the material feminists' political ideology led them to design physical space to create housewives' cooperatives, kitchenless houses, day-care centers, public kitchens, and community dining halls. In their insistence that women be paid for domestic labor, the material feminists won the support of many suffragists and of novelists such as Edward Bellamy and William Dean Howells, who helped popularize their cause. Ebenezer Howard, Rudolph Schindler, and Lewis Mumford were among the many progressive architects and planners who promoted the reorganization of housing and neighborhoods around the needs of employed women.
In reevaluating these early feminist plans for the environmental and economic transformation of American society and in recording the vigorous and many-sided arguments that evolved around the issues they raised, Hayden brings to light basic economic and spacial contradictions which outdated forms of housing and inadequate community services still create for American women and for their families.
From the time of its discovery, the new world was regarded by American settlers as a new Eden and a new Jerusalem. Although individual pioneers' visions of paradise were inevitably corrupted by reality, some determined ideatists carved out enclaves in order to develop collective models of what they believed to be more perfect societies. All such communitarian groups consciously attempted to express their social ideals in their buildings and landscapes; invariably, ideological predispositions can be inferred from a close study of the environments they created. The interplay between ideology and architecture, the social design and the physical design of American utopian communities, is the basis of this remarkable book by Dolores Hayden.
At the heart of the book are studies of seven communitarian groups, collectively stretching over nearly two centuries and the full breadth of the American continent-the Shakers of Hancock, Massachusetts; the Mormons of Nauvoo, lllinois; the Fourierists of Phalanx, New Jersey; the Perfectionists of Oneida, New York; the Inspirationists of Amana, Iowa; the Union Colonists of Greeley, Colorado; and the Cooperative Colonists of Llano del Rio, California. Hayden examines each of these groups to see how they coped with three dilemmas that all socialist' societies face: conflicts betweeft authoritarian and participatory processes, between communal and private territory, and between unique and replicable community plans.
The book contains over 260 historic and contemporary photographs and drawings which illustrate the communitarian processes of design and building. The drawings range in scale from regional plans showing land ownership, access to transportation, and availability of natural resources, through site plans of communal domains and building plans of dwellings and assembly halls, down to detailed diagrams of furniture configurations. To aid readers in making comparisons, a series of site and building plans drawn at constant scales has been provided for all seven case studies.