- 1 Collaborators
- 2 Class Syllabus: Oral History and the Study of Memory (Spring 2011)
- 3 Class Schedule/Assignments
- 4 Organizations & Publications
- 5 Oral History Bibliography
- 6 Downtown Revitalization, Sustainability, Smart Growth, and Historic Preservation Resources
- 7 Other Mediawiki Memory Projects
- 8 Class Wiki
- Oral History Methods: Phil Frana
- Administration, Professional Best Practices: Garrett Wright
- Administrative Assistant:
- Video Production:
- Production Assistant:
- Interviews: Wilson Alobuia, Brett Bailey, Lindsey Cason, Kathy Hill, Stefani Johnson, Doug Knight, Casey Mikula, Shannon Miller, Kim Risi, Chip Shaw, Zachary Stallings, Dustin Ward, Clint White Ben Wold
- Wiki Administration: Thomas Bertram
- Knowledge Engineer:
- Wiki authors: Wilson Alobuia, Brett Bailey, Lindsey Cason, Kathy Hill, Stefani Johnson, Doug Knight, Casey Mikula, Shannon Miller, Kim Risi, Chip Shaw, Zachary Stallings, Dustin Ward, Clint White Ben Wold
Class Syllabus: Oral History and the Study of Memory (Spring 2011)
- Instructors: Phil Frana, Garrett Wright
- Class Meets: McAlister 303, Tuesday & Thursday, 9:25 am-10:40 am
Link to Virtual Classroom on HCOL
Find Phil Frana at 303A McAlister Hall or in the Honors Ethnography Lab. Appointments made in advance are always welcome. Email Phil at email@example.com. His HCOL username is Phil. Call him at (501) 450-3498. Garrett Wright's HCOL username is gww490.
What does it mean to be an Arkansan? How do we relate to others, and how can this influence our encounter in small talk and formal conversation? In this class we will prepare ourselves to conduct an oral history project encompassing some aspect of Arkansas in transition to the twenty-first century. Prior classes have focused on the bringing of the Clinton Library to Little Rock and the development of the Downtown River Market. Want to do something hands-on next semester? Make history by listening to the stories people tell? Students will actively engage in creating and administering the project. Learn the theory and practice of oral history!
This course is divided into several overlapping areas of study: basic ethnographic fieldwork and historical analysis; approaches to memory; instructional and interpretive strategies; interviewing, editing, and documenting; folk study; archives and documentation; public uses; oral history and new digital media; and the new oral history of commerce and technology.
Textbooks (not required)
- Thomas L. Charlton, Lois E. Myers, and Rebecca Sharpless, eds., History of Oral History: Foundations and Methodology (AltaMira, 2007). ISBN 0759102309.
- Deborah Escobar, Creating History Documentaries: A Step-By-Step Guide to Video Projects in the Classroom (Prufrock Press, 2001). ISBN 1882664760.
- Donald A. Ritchie, Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide, 2nd ed. (Oxford UP, 2003). ISBN 0195154339.
Aims, Outcomes, and Assessment
This class is an active collaboratory practicing oral history methods, including basic ethnographic and historical principles; approaches to memory; instructional and interpretive strategies; interviewing editing, and documenting; folk study; public uses; and cybermedia. This course focuses on the collection and analysis of oral narratives as evidence of the past. In addition to completing our work, we will examine both practical and theoretical material regarding the challenges and possibilities of oral history. Our aim is to study oral narrative and oral history in several contexts for use by scholars in many disciplines. The course's central theme is the representation of democratic beliefs as applied to oral history in contemporary Arkansas.
In addition to reading assignments and discussion, you will produce for this class research-grade oral histories with associated notes and appendices and -- as a group project -- make significant contributions to our fund of public knowledge about some aspect of the recent past. You cannot pass this course without submitting all assignments. The breakdown in assigning a final grade will be determined as follows: group participation (25%), individual project (25%), group project (25%), and individual class presentations & assignments (25%).
- research plan: pursue an individual oral history project by conducting interviews, transcribing, and editing the source media (individual project)
- contribute to the class project by conducting interviews, transcribing, and editing the source media (group project)
- write weekly wiki entries (class assignment)
- give an overview of an oral history project or collection (class assignment)
- show mastery the principles (class presentation)
- study non-verbal cues (class assignment)
- develop a common thematic set of questions for project interviews (group project)
- read and critique an existing Honors College Oral History transcript (class assignment)
- in-class critiques of oral history interviews (class assignment)
- improve your interviewing skills and evaluate your own performance (class presentation)
- practice interviewing on each other and on mystery guests (class assignment)
- reports from the field (group & individual projects)
Final Presentation: Your final presentation will be delivered in the form of transcript and video podcast. All final presentations will be produced with appropriate editing software. (group project)
Three or more unexcused absences will automatically result in a lowered grade. Missing a class in which you are the assigned leader will also result in a lowered grade. Grading scale:
- A – Superior contributions befitting the caliber of a UCA Honors scholar.
Potential not yet realized
- B – Contributions acceptable, but lacking clarity, consistency, or continuity. Contributions brief; class attendance less than stellar.
- C – Fails in commitment to make acceptable contributions in one or more areas.
- D – Fails in commitment to make contributions in many or nearly all areas.
- F – Systematically fails to attend, share ideas, read, or write.
Plagiarism is defined here as the "stealing of passages either word for word or in substance, from the writings of another and publishing them as one's own." You are plagiarizing when you present an idea or interpretation that you did not originate without acknowledgment. You are plagiarizing when you copy and incorporate someone else's work into your own without setting it off with quotation marks and identifying the source. You are also plagiarizing when you borrow from someone else's work and simply change a few words before adding it to your own work. Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic ethics and constitutes grounds for disciplinary action (refer to your UCA Student Handbook in this regard).
Other Student Conduct
Note also the general standards for student conduct, including the university's sexual harassment policy, in your current student handbook. The University of Central Arkansas adheres to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you need an accommodation under this Act due to a disability, please contact the UCA Office of Disability Services, (501) 450-3613.
Ethnography Lab Information
Comprising computers, camcorders, DVD camcorders, and digital voice recorders, the Ethnography Lab is located inside the Forum in McAlister Hall, where it shares space with the Honors College's Publications Office. The Ethnography Lab supports student, staff, and faculty projects that involve interactions with and observations of people. The equipment is available for any course-related project that involves interviewing, filming, or photographing human activities. The lab's computers have user-friendly video and sound editing software as well as Microsoft Office and internet access. When not in use by the Publications Office, scanners are also available.
Students, faculty, and staff may check out equipment on a first come, first serve basis throughout the semester and for longer periods during summer and holidays. To check out equipment or use the lab facilities, please contact Adam Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or (501) 450-3486.
Assignments indicated in brackets thus . Assignments are due on dates listed.
- January 13 (Th) - What is Oral History and Who Does It?
- January 18 (T) - The Task of Oral History
- January 20 (Th) - Oral History Projects and Collections [pick a oral history collection and be prepared to describe it]
- January 25 (T) - Practice Interviewing on Each Other [wiki entry due]
- January 27 (Th) - Follow-up on Practice Interviews
- February 1 (T) - Critique an Existing Interview [critique due]
- February 3 (Th) - Practice Interview with Mr. or Mrs. X
- February 8 (T) - Research Design: Elites versus Ordinary People
- February 10 (Th) - Develop a Common Set of Project Questions [wiki entry due]
- February 15 (T) - Types of Oral History Products International Dialects of English Archive
- February 17 (Th) - Criticisms of Oral History [wiki entry due]
- February 22 (T) - Ethics/Impact of Oral History on Individual & Community/Accessibility [wiki entry due]
- February 24 (Th) - Video Editing Basics
- March 1 (T) - Video Editing Basics
- March 3 (Th) - Ethnography and Folklore [wiki entry due]
- March 8 (T) - Transcription exercise
- March 10 (Th) - Watch Interview & Edit a Transcript [critique due]
- March 15 (T) - Guest Speaker: Jimmy Bryant on UCA Archives Oral Histories [wiki entry due]
- March 17 (Th) - Personal research plans [personal research plan due]
- March 22 - Spring Break
- March 24 - Spring Break
- March 29 (T) - Reports from the field
- March 31 (Th) - Reports from the field [transcript due]
- April 5 (T) - Reports from the field
- April 7 (Th) - Reports from the field [wiki entry due]
- April 12 (T) - Reports from the field
- April 14 (Th) - Reports from the field
- April 19 (T) - Reports from the field
- April 21 (Th) - Reports from the field [wiki entry due]
- April 26 (T) - Reports from the field
- April 28 (Th) - [all transcript & portfolios due]
- May 1-May 5 - Final Examination Interview
Organizations & Publications
H-Net Discussion Networks
- H-Local (Local History)
- H-Oralhist (Oral History)
- H-PCAACA (Popular Culture)
- H-Public (Public History)
Oral History Bibliography
- James Clifford, “Partial Truths,” in Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, eds. James Clifford and George E. Marcus, University of California Press, 1990.
- Robert Darnton, “Writing News and Telling Stories,” Daedalus 104 (Spring 1975): 175-94.
- Micaela Di Leonardo, "Oral History as Ethnographic Encounter," Oral History Review 15 (1987): 1-20.
- Ronald J. Grele, "Listen to Their Voices: Two Case Studies in the Interpretation of Oral History Interviews," in Envelopes of Sound,pp. 212-41.
- Mary Louise Pratt, “Fieldwork in Common Places,” in Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography, eds. James Clifford and George E. Marcus, University of California Press, 1990.
- Carl Wilmsen, "For the Record: Editing and the Production of Meaning in Oral History," Oral History Review 28 (Winter-Spring 2001): 65-86.
- Valerie Yow, "'Do I Like Them Too Much?': Effects of the Oral History Interview on the Interviewer and Vice-Versa," Oral History Review 24 (Summer 1997): 55-79.
- Anna Green, "Returning History to the Community: Oral History in a Museum Setting," Oral History Review 24 (Winter 1997): 53-72.
- Lynne Hamer, "Oralized History: History Teachers as Oral History Tellers," Oral History Review 27 (Summer-Fall 2000): 19-40.
- Grace Huerta and Leslie Flemmer, "Using Student-Generated Oral History Research in the Secondary Classroom," Clearing House 74 (2000): 105-10.
- Barry A. Lanman and George L. Mehaffy, Oral History in the Secondary School Classroom, Oral History Association, 1989.
- Charles R. Lee and Kathryn L. Nasstrom, eds. "Practice and Pedagogy: Oral History in the Classroom," Oral History Review 25 (Summer-Fall 1998): entire issue, 1-117.
- N.C. Marchart, "Doing Oral History in the Elementary Grades," Social Education 43 (1979): 479-80.
- G.L. Mehaffy, "Oral History in Elementary Classrooms," Social Education 48 (1984): 470-2.
- Fay D. Metcalf and Matthew T. Downey, Using Local History in the Classroom, American Association for State and Local History, 1982.
- Laurie Mercier and Madeline Buckendorf, Using Oral History in Community History Projects, Oral History Association, 1992.
- David L. Moore, "Between Cultures: Oral History of Hmong Teenagers in Minneapolis," Vietnam Generation 2 (1990): 38-52.
- Charles T. Morrissey, "Oral History Interviews: Does Age Make a Difference?" Oral History Association Newsletter 35 (Fall 2001): 11.
- John Neuenschwander, "Oral History in the High School Classroom," Oral History Review 3 (1975): 59-61.
- Irma M. Olmedo, "Junior Historians: Doing Oral History with ESL and Bilingual Students," TESOL Journal (Summer 1993).
- A. Sears, "Enriching Social Studies with Interviews," History and Social Science Teacher 25 (1990): 67-71.
- Thad Sitton, et al., Oral History: A Guide for Teachers and Others, University of Texas Press, 1983.
- Margaret Sullivan, "Into Community Classrooms: Another Use for Oral History," Oral History Review 2 (1974): 52-8.
- Eliot Wigginton, "Foxfire Grows Up," Harvard Educational Review 59 (February 1989): 24-49.
Business & Technology Studies
- John Bodnar, "Power and Memory in Oral History: Workers and Managers at Studebaker," Journal of American History 75 (1989): 1201-21.
- Thomas Dublin, "Gender and Economic Decline: The Pennsylvania Anthracite Region, 1920-1970," Oral History Review 27 (Winter-Spring 2000): 81-98.
- Andrew J. Dunar and Dennis McBride, Building Hoover Dam: An Oral History of the Great Depression, University of Nevada Press, 2001.
- Laurie Graham, On the Line at Subaru-Isuzu: The Japanese Model and the American Worker, Cornell University Press, 1995.
- Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World, University of North Carolina Press, 1987.
- Michael Hoberman, "High Crimes and Fallen Factories: Nostalgic Utopianism in an Eclipsed New England Industrial Town," Oral History Review 28 (Winter-Spring 2001): 17-40.
- Roger Horowitz and Rick Halpern, "Work, Race, and Identity: Self-Representation in the Narratives of Black Packinghouse Workers," Oral History Review 26 (Winter-Spring 1999): 23-43.
- Thomas E. Leary and Elizabeth C. Sholes, From Fire to Rust: Business, Technology, and Work at the Lackawanna Steel Plant, 1899-1983, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, 1987.
- Katrina Mason, Children of Los Alamos: An Oral History of the Town Where the Atomic Age Began, Twayne Publishers, 1995.
- Michael A. Gordon, "Oral Documentation and the Sustainable Agriculture Movement in Wisconsin," Public Historian 11 (Fall 1989): 83-98.
- Lu Ann Jones and Nancy Grey Osterud, "'If I Must Say So Myself': Oral Histories of Rural Women," Oral History Review 17 (Fall 1989): 1-23.
- Melissa Walker, "Calling the Men Out from the Boys: Concepts of Success in the Recollections of a Southern Farmer," Oral History Review 27 (Summer-Fall 2000): 1-18.
- John Bodnar, "Generational Memory in an American Town," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 26 (1996): 619-37.
- John Neuenschwander, "Remembrance of Things Past: Oral Historians and Long-Term Memory," Oral History Review 6 (1978): 45-53.
- Joseph Romney, "Legal Considerations in Oral History," Oral History Review 1 (1973): 66-76.
- John Neuenschwander, "Oral History and the Law: An Update," Oral History Association Newsletter 31 (Winter 1997): 4-6.
Selected Oral History Websites
Eight undergraduate students interviewed elders in Durham's African American Community, as part of Duke University's American Communities seminar. The students examined the history of the United States and the American South as experienced through the voices and perspectives of people who have lived, experienced, and "made" history firsthand. The student’s interviewed eight elders namely Mr. R. Kelly Bryant, Mr. Julius Davis, Mrs. Mary Smith, Lenzie Barnes, Ruth Boyd, Nathaniel White, Mrs. Amelia Thorpe and Reverend Philip Cousins.
The students selected excerpts that best exemplify the themes and trends they found in the Durham communities they studied. The issues addressed included civil rights, church, education, segregation, slavery and urban renewal.
- Education: All of the interviewees came in contact with the system of segregated education. According to them, the system forced black students to work with second-class facilities and materials. However, despite these drawbacks, many of students encountered dedicated teachers and administrators who promoted their success and the learning of their history. For instance, according to Julius Davis, “But uh, I think education at the elementary level was better at this time.t was all black. Uh, the books that we used came from the white school. We never got any new books. The books would have pages that were torn, backs that had been taped together, whatever, but uh, the teachers were concerned.”The 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education, called for the integration of public education and prompted a gradual change.
- Church: Hayti was home to several historically black churches; the majority of the interviewees were active members of either St. Joseph's A.M.E. Church or White Rock Baptist Church. Throughout that century, churches played a vital role in the black community. Not only were they important spiritual centers, but they were also important loci for political organization, education, and community gathering. When Reverend Philip Cousins was asked whether or not there was any opposition to having white members at the church, he responded “No. No, uh, not even from a curiosity standpoint. In terms of eleveno'clock on a Sunday morning being the most segregated hour in America, as with anything else, segregation always breaks down better if integration is a two-way street. The problem with integration, why integration failed, why it will always fail is because the whole process is due to a one way step.”
- Civil Rights: The Civil Rights movement shaped the black community in many ways. Expressions of resistance had been manifested in political organization, economic boycotts, and the promotion of black cultural identity. The interviewees described their experiences with the Civil Rights movement. Whilst talking about resistance in high schools, Reverend Cousins said “There was a level of awareness then that I have not seen since. Right down to the music, the culture. We had a radio station named WAFR, we had Malcolm X University right here in Durham, and there was a lot of a, uh,very heavy emphasis on ethnocentrism by the black folks. And we were BLACK. I don't like all the new tags they give. Black was the first one we chose for ourselves, and it was good because it used to be a derogatory term, and we took it and made it respectable and that was good.”
- Segregation: Law and custom in the South dictated the separation of blacks and whites in public spaces and organizations. The interviewees described their encounters with segregation. Mr. Nathaniel White described his involvement in Troop 72, the first black Boy Scout troop in the Norfolk, Virginia area. He said, “Well, at that time we were the first black troop in Norfolk, Troop 72, in Norfolk, Virginia. They sort of were describing it as an experiment to see if we could be scouts. I can tell you now that we resented that.”
- Slavery: The interviewees shared their memories and narratives of life under slavery endure in the black community. Some of the interviewees also shared family stories of life under slavery. For instance, Mary Smith shared this pretty emotional story. “My great grandmother was living with my grandmother and she, I guess had Alzheimer's because she was living in the past. She always thought she was living in slavery because she had been a slave. There were white people who lived next door to us and Grandma would go over there because she thought that was her master. And so, they didn't like blacks so Grandma would have to keep her locked up in her room most of the time, unless, she was right with her because, you know, she didn't want her to go over there, you know, and the lady would get angry. And, of course, the lady didn't like us to the extent that if we came out on the porch, she would go in the house. So, we, when I was a little girl, I'djust let her stay in the house most of the time. Especially, in the summertime 'cuz, when I'd see her go out, I'd go out in the front and she'd go in the back, I'd go in the back [laughs]. And, so she stayed in the house most of the time.”
- Urban renewal: The late 1960's brought passion for the reorganization of America's cities. In Durham, North Carolina, urban renewal razed "run-down" neighborhoods and built housing projects in their place. With urban renewal came the construction of the Durham Freeway, which cut through the heart of Hayti. The Durham Freeway displaced Hayti's businesses, churches, and homes, leaving a void that some argue had never been replaced.
- Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South
- Bancroft Library Oral History Online
- The Blackout History Project
Entering the main site from the welcome page, the foremost two focuses of this project are apparent: darkness and New York. The links that descend the site's hierarchy are integrated into a silhouetted skyline of the city. The black background and white text indicate a specific detail that is confirmed by personal and official accounts. "Luck, goodwill and a brilliant moon saved New York from disaster. . ."
Featured are sections devoted to each of the two blackouts ("The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965" and "The Summer of '77"); news articles regarding recent blackouts and their hearkening to the '65/'77 blackouts; a timeline of the blackouts and their major events; and a summary of the blackouts' impact on the electric industry. Other features of the site include a forum to host personal accounts of the events, a archive of sources, and a perspectives section. Though the site is not specifically devoted to it, information can be found regarding the July 1999 blackout as well.
My favorite part of the site is the "timeline". It is a very straightforward chronicle of the blackouts, as well as some precursing and postcursing factors. Timeline entries for each of the blackout years ('65 and '77) are further broken down. It cites the differences between each of the two blackouts, and gives statistics regarding both.
The Computer History Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the knowledge and technology surrounding the information age. This organization was established in 1999 and opened its first physical location in 2003. Because the information age was brought about by the invention of the computer, logically it follows that the majority of Computer History Museum’s website is focused on the history of the computer and related technology.
The Computer History Museum website has a moderately sized database devoted solely to the oral history of the computer, its components, and the pioneers and inventors who lead us into the information age. This database currently holds 260 interviews in PDF format. Though the interviews are all based on the history of the invention of the computer, they vary from one-on-one personal accounts (which comprise the bulk of the database) and autobiographies to large panel discussions of developmental projects.
Like any good database, this one employs an extensive search function to help readers find information on a particular person or computer device. Though the database only displays the interviews in PDF format, the Computer History Museum possesses a video recording of each interview. A copy any of these videos can be obtained by simply contacting the Computer History Museum. The Computer History Museum also encourages the public to email them with suggestions for topics or interviewees for future interviews. The oral history section of the site seems rather small in comparison to the other collections. While the oral history database contains 260 interviews, the entire Computer History Museum website holds 73,000 records.
History matters is a site where normal American citizens (people like us) have posted descriptions of American historical events. To ensure accuracy, the site has professional screeners who read and evaluate the reports to determine if any information (or misinformation) need be altered. The documents are arranged chronologically, enabling simpler surfing, with an exhaustive search function available.
The reports can range from important events to very obscure topics, which seem to garner most of the attention since there are so many possible biographies and essays to be written that we have little knowledge of. The site has slightly over 1,000 entries (1,017), and it features a separate “Students as Historians” piece, where it displays efforts done by students to understand history... even containing a project, “Doing Oral History: An Oral History Project of the American Century for the 21st century” which is interesting to me considering that we are an Oral History class.
The site also has a separate category for primary sources, with information on how to use them by making available commentary and directions from “experts”... with a specific writing on “Making Sense of Oral History”. Resources are available for teachers who wish to lead a class on history, oral history, or documenting history; with syllabi even available for use. The site is very user-friendly, with its separate functions featured in an easy-to-find layout.
The computer is a device that we all use on an everyday basis as college students. This oral history collection was created in order to record the history of this amazing invention. Commissioned by both the American Federations of Information Processing Societies and the Smithsonian, this project collected important historical information about the computer through the use of oral historical methods.
The collection contains many different types of records including transcripts of interviews, patents, materials from the creator of the first computer, plus audio and video tapes of interviews. It was composed from 1967 to 1973, and has been transferred to the larger Division of Information, Technology, & Society section of the Archives Center at the Smithsonian.
When I looked through this project, I just saw the massive amount of material that was recorded to get the history of the computer. It said there was a grand total of 44 cubic feet of material all devoted to only the invention of the computer. There are large sections for each of the larger contributors to the computer: Robina Mapstone, Richard Mertz, Henry Tropp, and John Vincent Atanasoff, the inventor of the first computer, in addition to the many files on the smaller figures in the computer’s history. When the project was completed in 1977, there were 158 boxes of material. In 1996, all these files were transferred online, it is now only a set of hyperlinks on the Web instead of a room full of boxes; a testament to the very system that the project describes.
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Oral and Pictorial History Project
- Library of American Broadcasting Transcripts
- Mississippi Oral History Project
- Murmur Toronto
- Mystic Seaport Oral History Collections
- National Air and Space Museum Oral History Project
- Sloan MouseSite
MouseSite is devoted to the history of human-computer interactions, mostly through the study of the creation and evolution of the computer mouse, hyperlinks, and other developments within computer science. MouseSite contains an extensive online archive, including interviews, videos, and the Engelbart Papers (which outline the work of Douglas Engelbart and his colleagues as they invented the computer mouse). The site hopes to “tap into the community memory” of those involved in the development of human-computer interactions, especially those working in computer science and communication.
MouseSite has multiple pages on which it asks for information about the persons involved, the devices created, the life of the Engelbart group, and the wider historical context. It seems as if the site was previously more convenient, and answers/information could simply be posted to these pages in the form of a comment. Since 2005, however, one must send an e-mail to the Stanford University Libraries to share any information. Because of this, the website has less information for the average person than may be preferable.
There is also a section of the website that provides links to other sites pertaining to human-computer interactions. These include the Bootstrap Institute, which was conceived by Engelbart himself; documents concerning the creation of the Xerox Star; and, an article about the “death and metaphoric rebirth of the world in media and of media in the universal medium.” The majority of these links do not go to real websites anymore, however, limiting the effectiveness of the “Links” portion of MouseSite.
- Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation
- University of Southern Mississippi Civil Rights Documentation Project
- The Whole World Was Watching: An Oral History of 1968
- Women in Science and Engineering Oral History Project
- The Vietnam Veterans Oral History and Folklore Project
- Voices from the Thirties: Life Histories from the Federal Writers’ Project
Downtown Revitalization, Sustainability, Smart Growth, and Historic Preservation Resources
Barbara Wells introduces the term "infill development," which she describes to be the creative use of vacant or underused land and buildings. She cites some of the most common design principles to sucessfully infill develop in an urban or small-town setting. One of which is to make downtown areas more pedestrian-friendly. Another method would be to reclaim blighted or abandoned areas and connect these areas to mainstream transportation and utilities services. Still another method would be to provide open, kid-friendly spaces for recreation.
Wells then begins evaluating various urban neighborhoods' and small cities' revitalization initiatives in this manner: 1)Features of the area 2)Challenges the area faced 3)Turning point towards revitalization 4)Approach taken to revitalize 5)Results of the revitalization. One example of this systematic process would be the Kinzie Industrial Corridor in Chicago. Features of the area include direct access to three different highways and the Chicago El and bus lines. It used to be a thriving commercial center. The challenge was to improve the area's appearance because it took a hit during the 1968 (race?) riots. The turing point was when Chicago began bringing jobs and residential tracts into the area. Chicago's approach was multi-faceted, but centered on acquiring former manufacturing parcels that adjoins cites the city already owns. Results of the project include new manufacturing centers, like a seafood distribution plant, a greenhouse, and an equipment maker. These busineses create jobs and foster further growth.
Not only is Wells concerned with high density urban areas, but also small towns. One example of a small-town that was revitalized would be Peterborough, New Hampshire. This town of 5500 simply had very little activity--there was very little downtown to speak of. A group called Downtown 2000 committed themselves to revitalizing Peterborough. After several projects, including pedestrian-friendly walkways and streetscaping, the area began to have some vitality. Some rundown warehouses, for example, were converted into the Depot Square Commercial area.
- Christopher Leinberger, Turning Around Downtown - Twelve Steps to Revitalization
- Washington State Downtown Revitalization Program, Organizing a Successful Downtown Revitalization Program Using the Main Street Approach
The Washington State Downtown Revitalization is a project that outlines everything from the important (how to organize and begin downtown revitalization) to the practical (sample budgets) to the paltry (public relation ideas such as logos). The plan employs the Main Street Approach, a program so widely used-US numbers include 40 states and 1,2000 cities-that the name is trademarked.
These high numbers imply that the Main Street Approach must be working, which begs the question of how the program is set up. In short, it is centered upon four core aims: organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring (4). Underlying these four points lies the notion of community. The literature for the Washington project includes a list of 11 reasons for why downtowns are significant-naturally, all relate back to fostering community.
The WSDR project also touches on many other issues within this 67-page document; topics include a starting checklist, an operating statement, advice on locating financial support, potential benefits, a format for efficient board meetings, job descriptions for project members, and even a sample press release. If readers are not yet convinced of imminent downtown success stories, the article concludes with a section entitled "75 Great Ideas for Downtown," which includes gems such as Number 41: "Save an endangered building!" and Number 56: "Hold a street dance!" Hidden within the list lies number 10: "Join the National Main Street network. The current cost is $195 per year."
- Peter Meter & H. Wade VanLandingham, Reclamation and Economic Regeneration of Brownfields
- Martin Shields and Tracey Farrigan, Welcome Back Downtown: A Guide to Revitalizing Pennsylvania's Small Downtowns
This article is about revitalizing smaller communities’ downtown revitalization. In the first chapter Martin Shields and Tracey Farrigan explain that no community is too small or rundown to start revitalization. The only problem with smaller communities is that there is a smaller budget to work with. Revitalizing downtown will help the community attract jobs, shopping, and entertainment.
There are specific steps to the process of revitalization. The first is to set up a committee; it is important to include the community. This group should hold meetings regularly to keep on track with the revitalization plans. This article explains how a community understands its strengths, weaknesses, and places of opportunities. Create a plan of priorities and stick to this plan.
This article not only gives a clear direction that smaller communities can take on the revitalization process, but it also gives helpful hints to larger communities. I feel like Arkansas is one large small community. Even though there is a lot of diversity, even large cities (such as Little Rock) can have a small town atmosphere. Also, the authors gave an appendix with further readings on the subject. This article is a helpful source to anybody wanting to understand the process of revitalization.
- Jerry Mitchell, Business Improvement Districts and Innovative Service Delivery
- Downtown Research and Development Center, various issues of Downtown Idea Exchange
- HDR, Street Cars and Economic Development
Most people think they know what streetcars are; the modern bus's out-of-date predecessor. But they are much more. In America prior to World War II, they were recognized as a tool used for shaping cities and connecting an urban populace with itself. These typically privately funded streetcars provided cheap, efficient transportation to inner city visitors, and ensured that the businesses which flocked around the route had a steady customer base.
After World War II, streetcar usage in the U.S. began a sharp decline for several reasons. While after economic hard times caused usual routine maintenance to be deferred for extended periods of time, their old design as well is at fault. Previously, these had been built in the middle of the road in cities, requiring people to get on and off it at the center of traffic and taking up much space. With the rise of automobiles and the post-war economic boom, suburban flight was also a problem that the system was not ready to handle. The 'coup de tat', however, was performed by a corporation called National City Lines. This corporation's only mission was to buy up as many deteriorating streetcar operations as it could, and systematically dismantle them and replace them with buses. It is no wonder then that the backers of National City Lines were Standard Oil, General Motors, and Firestone Tires.
Today, as inner-cities have fallen apart, a variety of transportation approaches have been looked into to attempt to revitalize downtown districts across America. Although their have been advances in light railway systems lately, their disruptively large physical size, required high speeds, and sheer expense prevent them from being viable for most communities. Instead, these have been relegated to transit for in and out of large cities such as Dallas and Denver. Trolley-styled buses have been put into use in many places(even Little Rock), but the main problem is that the facade is blatant—people(and more importantly tourists) recognize that they are buses and, for better or worse, reject the idea of riding them due to popular social stigma.
As each attempt for smaller cities failed, or at best did not reach its expected mark, the streetcar then finally has begun to make a resurgence in its only true market: inner cities. Small, mid, and even sometimes large-size cities have begun to rediscover the benefits of having charming mass transit again. Smaller and less obtrusive than light rails, and many times cheaper as well, European style streetcars at the same time dodge the stigma attached to buses and have a higher rider-capacity to boot. In Portland alone, a transit initiative has wrought a 5-mile streetcar circuit that connects students at a university to shop owners downtown to families in a nearby neighborhood to workers in the city's major hospital to commuters on the light rail system to visitors at the local entertainment and cultural spots. Professionals, students, kids, and tourists all ride in the same vehicle, interconnecting the entire community to itself. The success in Portland has been repeated over and over in America in such cities as Tampa, FL and Atlanta, GA as well. The reason is that communities and businesses have finally come to terms with the fact that friendly, effective mass transit is the bloodline of a healthy downtown economy. As was known in the early parts of the 20th century, streetcars tie customers in or around the city to its shops and promote interest in inner-city housing, causing the cycle to grow and repeat itself.
The only hurdles to developing a streetcar strategy are obvious. For one, though they may be cheaper than light rail systems, they are still very expensive, especially at the start up. Millions upon millions of early investment into a major project like this is risky business; the only way to get through this is to promote local business initiative, and, if necessary, apply for federal aid from the Federal Transit Administration. The latter relates to the second problem in that as every city and situation is unique, so is every streetcar plan complicated and different. As its job is to connect as many people to as many places as effectively as possible, plots to create these circuits can very quickly become frustrating and difficult to organize. The FTA appreciates communities taking the initiative in the early stages though, and looks favorably upon these projects when considering funding.
While the FTA is helpful, others think the federal government can do more to help local transit ideas bloom into fruition. At the time of the writing, Congress was considering creating a streetcar program within the FTA, expanding federal funding to small projects, and easing the regulations and criteria to apply for such funds. If such legislation passed, there would surely be a boom in city transit systems in the future, and the engineering firm HDR would be ready to handle those projects.
- Metroplan, Metrotrends: Economic Review & Outlook 2006
- Maureen Kennedy & Paul Leonard, Dealing with Neighborhood Change
- Phil Psilos & Kathleen Rapp, The Role of the Arts in Economic Development
- Alex Iams & Pearl Kaplan, eds., Economic Development & Smart Growth
- Oregon Downtown Development Association, Commercial & Mixed Use Development
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