The Changing Image of the City: Planning for Downtown Omaha, 1945-1973

By Janet R. Daly-Bednarek | Go to book overview

THREE
Setting the Agenda: Planning, 1933-1945

D uring the 1930s, those seeking to establish a planned program of infrastructure construction, to promote civic improvements, to clean out slums, and to boost their city's economic development saw a number of federal government departments, agencies and bureaus as fresh sources of funds. Thus, while programs created in response to the Great Depression, such as the PWA (Public Works Administration), the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), and the WPA (Work Progress Administration), provided an opportunity for employment, in practice they also gave civic and business leaders the opportunity to construct public works. At the close of the decade as national spending priorities shifted toward defense, cities followed, adjusting their efforts from attempting to obtain public-works funds to scrambling for defense projects (bases, plants, airfields) that would increase municipal income and promote development. Omaha followed that general pattern. During the 1930s a small but determined number of individuals and groups leapt at the opportunities national programs gave them to advance their favorite projects. Civic leaders quickly jumped on the defense-contract bandwagon as early as 1935 and especially so as the decade came to a close and the nation geared up for war.

The downtown and riverfront figured prominently in the planning and development thought. The downtown, its shopping streets, institutions, and skyline, physically symbolized the city. Its role as the city center remained largely unchallenged. The assumption that it would continue to

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The Changing Image of the City: Planning for Downtown Omaha, 1945-1973
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • One - New Ideas and Changing Images 1
  • Two - The Changing City: Omaha, 1945-1973 41
  • Three - Setting the Agenda: Planning, 1933-1945 77
  • Conclusion 104
  • Four - Traditional Planning for a Traditional City, 1945-1958 107
  • Conclusion 147
  • Five - A City in Transition, 1958-1966 149
  • Six - A "New City," a New Image: Planning, 1966-1973 187
  • Conclusion 224
  • Epilogue 227
  • Notes 237
  • Bibliography 267
  • Index 277
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