Two Centuries of Residential Development and Planning in the National Capital Area
Distributed for Columbia College Chicago Press
Since the early nineteenth century, an unusually rich and varied array of housing stock has been created in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Washington has harbored numerous private-sector initiatives to develop model housing projects, and it has also been a proving ground for federal policies crafted to improve living conditions for households of middle and moderate income. In addition, the large, middle-class African American population has left a distinct imprint on the metropolitan area’s domestic landscape, developing its own options for housing in city and suburb alike.
Profusely illustrated, with thirteen chapters by fourteen esteemed authors, Housing Washington examines the storied legacy of residential development in our nation’s capital, from the early nineteenth century to the present. By focusing on a wide variety of mainstream patterns and interweaving the threads of convention and change as well as those of race and class, this book offers a fresh perspective on metropolitan dwelling places and breaks new ground in urban studies and architectural and planning history.
“Richard Longstreth’s Housing Washington brings together an impressive array of sites and topics. Each richly textured essay juxtaposes and connects multiple perspectives: builders and architects, developers and community groups, reformers and officials, blacks and whites, trends and anomalies, building patterns, and the natural landscapes they inevitably affect. The collective portrait helps us understand housing as a dynamic, divers, sometimes inventive, and always contested realm of American public life.”
“Richard Longstreth and his collaborators offer a rich and incisive architectural history of Washington, D.C.’s residential landscape. The book ranges broadly across time, place, and the changing forms of architectural production. It will be a joy to read for general and specialist readers, for neighborhood residents, as well as university scholars. This book brims with fresh historical insights and new ways of looking at the world around us. Many historians of American architecture and urbanism will wish they had contributed to this important collection. They will find in these pages a compelling new model for coming to terms with the architectural and landscape form of American cities.”
“Housing Washington will be most important to scholars in architectural, urban, and planning history.”
“Richard Longstreth has orchestrated some of the finest scholars available to produce a model text for the analysis of a metropolitan region’s domestic architecture. The book is uniquely organized to address the major, common types of domestic architecture, including suburban housing, and the contributions of African Americans, as well as Washington’s claim to visionary and reform architecture that influenced housing throughout the United States. Housing Washington is a model for a seldom realized comprehensive analysis of a major city’s urban/metropolitan housing.”
“While a collection such as Housing Washington might fall prey to too much localism, this one has the advantage of both deeply enriching the Washington-area story and connecting it to larger elements of thinking and practice.”