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

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

Company showed manufacturing as an important growth area along with retailing and wholesaling. More telling, the Union Stockyards Company supplied figures that predicted a near doubling of the number of cattle processed between 1955 and 1975. Those who defined the city by what it produced and how it worked continued to emphasize the traditional sectors.82

While it can be argued that civic and business leaders knew about many of the changes under way, it can also be argued that they did not know what those changes meant to the life of their city. They continued to hold a vision of Omaha based on past experience. As yet they had no clear focus on the quite different city that was emerging under the influence of social and economic changes. So it was that they planned for a city rapidly fading into the past rather than one that was developing and changing.


Conclusion

The period 1945 to 1958 was one in which continuity rather than change was the theme. In the two private-sector planning initiatives developed during that time, the many similarities between them marked the era as one demonstrating the persistence of ideas on how best Omaha could promote growth and development; the emphasis fell almost entirely on infrastructure improvements. The similarities also called attention to the continuing dominance of the private sector in the planning process. City hall did take a few short strides forward, but it continued to operate largely in the deep shadow cast by the private sector. And the years saw very little, if any, change in the image of the city held by its civic and business leaders. Thus, although important social and economic changes were under way, they received little notice and were not understood by the image makers. Only the new metropolitanism, born in part of the more physically apparent suburbanization, represented significant alteration in thinking.

Change, though subordinate, proved significant as well. Social and economic changes were transforming Omaha. Most significantly, those sectors associated with the service economy equaled the importance of the traditional commercial and food-processing elements by the end of the period. The Omaha Plan largely put to rest the informal planning agenda,

-147-

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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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