The Roots of Harlem’s Second Renaissance

The Roots of Harlem’s Second Renaissance

Dr. Brian D. Goldstein, University of New Mexico
March 12, 2017

In the last four decades of the twentieth century, Harlem, New York—one of America’s most famous neighborhoods—transformed from the symbol of midcentury “urban crisis” to the most celebrated example of “urban renaissance” in the United States. Once a favored subject for sociologists studying profound poverty and physical decline, by the new millennium Harlem found itself increasingly the site of refurbished brownstones, shiny glass and steel shopping centers, and a growing middle-class population. Drawing from Brian Goldstein’s new book, The Roots of Urban Renaissance: Gentrification and the Struggle Over Harlem, this lecture will trace this arc in order to reveal the complicated history of social and physical transformation that has changed many American urban centers in the last several decades. Gentrification is often described as a process controlled by outsiders, with clear winners and losers, victors and victims. In contrast, this talk will explore the role that Harlemites themselves played in bringing about Harlem’s urban renaissance, an outcome that had both positive and negative effects for their neighborhood.

Dr. Brian D. Goldstein is an urban and architectural historian, and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of New Mexico. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University (2013) and was an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research and teaching examine the intersection of politics, social movements, and the built environment, especially in the United States in the twentieth century. In addition to his book, The Roots of Urban Renaissance: Gentrification and the Struggle Over Harlem (Harvard University Press, 2017), his work has appeared in Affordable Housing in New York (Princeton University Press, 2016) and Summer in the City: John Lindsay, New York, and the American Dream (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). Goldstein gave a special lecture to AIA in September 2016, titled 9/11: Fifteen Years Later. The World Trade Center: Rise and Fall of a Global Symbol.

Supported by ABQ City Council and Haverland-Carter Lifestyle Group