Loyola University Chicago

Department of History


Professor Platt Publishes New Book

Professor Platt Publishes New Book

Professor Emeritus Harold Platt's new book, Building the Urban Environment: Visions of the Organic City in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, recently published by Temple University Press, offers a transnational approach to urban environmental history. Using case studies from seven cities, including Chicago, Rotterdam, and Sao Paulo, Platt explores the contestations between planners, policy makers, and residents over the production and meaning of urban space.

As Platt explains, during the post-1945 race to technological modernization, policymakers gave urban planners of the International Style extraordinary influence to build their utopian vision of a self-sustaining "organic city." However, in the 1960s, they faced a revolt of the grassroots. Building the Urban Environment traces the rise and fall of the Modernist planners during an era of Cold War, urban crisis, unnatural disasters, and global restructuring in the wake of the oil-energy embargo of the 1970s.

Reviewer Maureen Flanagan described Building the Urban Environment as "entirely original in its overall conceptualization, synthesis of the literature, and its major arguments... It challenges the reader to reconsider the rationales/rationality of modernism as well as the values upon which so much of the received wisdom of the post-WWII planning of cities was predicated."

Building the Urban Environment joins Shock Cities and The Electric City among Platt's contributions to urban and environmental history.

Congratulations on this achievement, Dr. Platt!