Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9780226710532 Will Publish June 2020
E-book $50.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226710679 Will Publish June 2020

Urban Lowlands

A History of Neighborhoods, Poverty, and Planning

Steven T. Moga

Urban Lowlands

Steven T. Moga

240 pages | 39 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9780226710532 Will Publish June 2020
E-book $50.00 ISBN: 9780226710679 Will Publish June 2020
In Urban Lowlands, Steven T. Moga looks closely at the Harlem Flats in New York City; Black Bottom in Nashville; Swede Hollow in St. Paul; and the Flats in Los Angeles to interrogate the connections between a city’s physical landscape and the poverty and social problems that are often concentrated at its literal lowest points. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective on the history of US urban development that stretches from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, Moga reveals patterns of inequitable land use, economic dispossession, and social discrimination against poor and working-class residents. In attending to the landscapes of neighborhoods typically considered slums, Moga shows how physical and policy-driven containment has shaped the lives of the urban poor, while wealth and access to resources have been historically concentrated in elevated areas—truly “the heights.” Moga’s innovative framework expands our understanding of how planning and economic segregation alike have molded the American city.
Introduction: The Low Wards

1 From Bottomlands to Bottom Neighborhoods

2 Harlem Flats
New York, New York

3 Black Bottom
Nashville, Tennessee

4 Swede Hollow
Saint Paul, Minnesota

5 The Flats
Los Angeles, California

6 Landscapes of Poverty and Power

Epilogue: Lowland Legacies


Review Quotes
David Soll, author of Empire of Water: An Environmental and Political History of the New York Water
“Moga makes an exceptionally persuasive case regarding the factors shaping the development of lowland areas. He clearly establishes the importance of disease theory and racial attitudes as critical to urban decision-making. What is most impressive about Urban Lowlands is that Moga seamlessly connects his story of bottomlands to larger developments in urban planning in the post-1930s period.”
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