Builders of 20th Century America Public Works

Course Outline and Links to Slides

 Class I – Precedents - Canals to Railroads, Parks and Skyscrapers in 1800’s

Slides -

Introduction: Moses in Egypt to Robert Moses in New York to Robert Moses today: Ten Commandments, USNews

Great transport, parks, fairs of 19 th Century US built by hand 6f

Summary of New York and Robert Moses 7m

Video Option Eisode 1-2

World Moses Built - Introduction

Class II – Chicago to Early 1945

Slides -

Introduction: Chicago, City of Century;

From swampy fort on prairie to nations’ railroad hub and fiery demise 10e


Building to Support Growth of 19 th Century US Cities as Industry Explodes

Rebuilding as skyscrapers soar on ashes, future is planned 8e

Video Option

Class III – California and West Water and Transportation to 1945

Slides -

Introduction: Dams for water in west

California Valley irrigation

Early Spanish discovery, long neglect, American settlers in 1840’s, rapid growth, 1906 earthquake, fire


Development of water in West to thrive and grow 7g

Shift from rail to road and changing transportation infrastructure

Video Option: Golden Gate Bridge;

Hoover Dam;

Bonneville and Columbia River


Class IV - New York and Rise of Robert Moses through World War II

Slides -

Robert Moses rise to power and success 9m

Factors for post war changes in America

Video Option; American Experience World That Moses Built

Class V - VI - Post War Rise of Suburbs and Challenge to Cities 1945-1960

Slides -

Moses resumes building New York 9m

Federal government initiates, post war funding and public works

Social and value changes and effect on public works

Video Option Episode 7

Class VII – Dissent, Protest, Neighborhood Input Since 1960

Slides -

Proposals developed and refined through democratic process and constituent input 8h-I, 8a-d, 1c, 9n

Examples of approaches to dissent, response, resolution, 8a-d

Added complexities that influence public works cost and completion in succeeding decades

Video: Building Green Episodes

Class VIII - Limits of Growth and Legacy of Public Building After 1960’s

Slides Then and Now -

What has been learned to balance proposal and input, achieve consensus and build public works? 1-7

Could Jane Addams Hull House insights have avoided slum clearance, urban renewal?

Disillusion and decline of public housing and Great Society commitments

Cost escalation and delays on new building due to dissent, environment, discrimination

Public works become integrated with increasingly globalized world

Enormous new public works in Asian, oil rich countries 9z, 10j

New York , Chicago, San Francisco public works: Past, present and future potential 1-7, 9-10


Discussion on balance of public works needs with democratic and environmental imperatives

Conclusions and Lessons for challenges and opportunities of today