Title: Houser: The Life and Work of Catherine Bauer
Publisher: UBC Press
Book Condition: New
0774807210 UBC Press paperback. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1130272
Synopsis: Catherine Bauer was a leading member of a small group of idealists who called themselves housers because of their commitment to improving housing for low-income families. In her lifetime she changed dramatically the concept of social housing in the United States and inspired a generation of urban activists to integrate public housing into the emerging welfare state of the mid-twentieth century. In the first book-length biography of Bauer, H. Peter Oberlander and Eva Newbrun trace her fascinating life and career. Their account is lively, spanning two continents, and dotted with famous names in modern art and architecture.
In the late 1920s Bauer spent time in Paris, where she befriended Fernan Léger, Man Ray, and Sylvia Beach. Back in New York she fell under the spell of American urban critic Lewis Mumford, who, as a mentor and lover, profoundly influenced her life. It was at his urging that she became involved with the architects of change in post-First World War Europe, among them Ernst May, André Lurçat, and Walter Gropius. Convinced that good social housing could produce good social architecture and moved by the visible ravages of the Depression, she became a passionate leader in the fight for housing for the poor. She co-authored the Housing Act of 1937 and advised five presidents on urban strategies. Her book, Modern Housing, published in 1934, is still regarded as a classic.
Houser is a rich contribution to the literature on modern housing, urban planning, and women's studies. In the three and a half decades since her death, urbanization has radically changed landscapes the world over. Housing as a basic human right has slipped from the public agenda, and the homeless have become a visible symbol of society's indifference. Catherine Bauer's visionary teachings about the symbiotic relationship between good housing and a healthy society are thus as relevant as ever.
Catherine Bauer (1905?64) changed forever the concept of public housing in the United States?and inspired a generation of urban activists to include housing in welfare planning in the mid-20th century. She was one of a small group of idealists who called themselves Housers because of their commitment to raising the quality of urban life through improving shelter for low-income families.
In the late 1920s, Bauer spent time in Paris, where she befriended Ferdinand Leger, Man Ray, and Sylvia Beach, publisher of Ulysses. Back in New York she fell under the spell of urban critic Lewis Mumford. It was at his urging that she became involved with the architects of change in post-World War I Europe, among them Ernst May, Andre Lurcat, and Walter Gropius. Convinced by their example that good social housing could produce good social architecture and moved by the visible ravages of the depression, she became a passionate leader in the fight for housing for
Soon established through her critical writings as a housing expert, she lodged the issue of public housing firmly within the New Deal?s agenda and was instrumental in the creation of the first public housing act in 1937. Her book Modern Housing, published in 1934, vividly depicts the essential interdependence of social, economic, and architectural policies in modern life; it is still required college reading. She taught for many years at the University of California Berkeley, as well as Harvard University.
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