Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Elizabeth Faue


Following Second World War, cities in the United States appeared to be in trouble. The urban crisis revolved around poverty, unemployment, segregation and discrimination, suburbanization, and deindustrialization. Using metropolitan Detroit as a case-study, this dissertation examines responses by local residents, urban planners, and federal policy-makers to these changes. Local community and union members centered around the Ford River Rouge complex in Dearborn rallied against industrial decentralization in the early 1950s. Community members in Grosse Pointe practiced systematic housing segregation, while other members of the community organized a Human Relations Council to support integration and interracial understanding. Constantinos Doxiadis led a research project in the 1960s, which published a three-volume study on the city in the year 2000. In the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential administration, the Model Cities program was developed to address struggling urban areas across the nation, even as the program originated in Detroit, via Walter Reuther of the United Automobile Workers. Through all these episodes, different people expressed how they understood the current challenges in the city and how they imagined its future. What they included and what they left out reveal the state of race relations, economic inequality, and who was and was not considered to have a right to the city.

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