A New Philosophy for a New Century
If, as I have suggested, the apartment plot refl ects and refracts a philoso-
phy of urbanism, that philosophy is not a singular entity but an ongoing
conversation consisting of multiple iterations, revisions, and reframings.
Space and place produce and sustain a philosophy of urbanism, but space
and place are infl ected by time and history, as well as imbricated in dis-
courses of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Over time, the philosophy of
urbanism will absorb new participants and new topics, while others are
discharged. Correspondingly, the meaning and value of porousness, pri-
vacy, simultaneity, and other terms associated with the urban will shift
over time and in diﬀ erent contexts.
This project examines the apartment plot in the postwar period, stop-
ping at 1975. It considers the way in which the apartment plot produces
a philosophy of American urbanism suited to the mid-century context.
Rather than a monolithic view of urbanism, I have tried to map the ways
in which overlapping but not identical ideals of urbanism are produced
for diﬀ erent identities, marked by gender, sexuality, class, and race. At
the same time, I have been charting changes in the historical context
for urbanism, noting changing ideas about what constitutes a good city,
changes in the political and architectural landscape that fulﬁ ll or prompt
those new ideas, and changes in the perceived relationship between the
suburbs and the city. These changes are marked by such historical inter-
ventions as the GI Bill and urban renewal, and ideological changes such
as an increased emphasis on family. The philosophy of urbanism that I
examine captures a transitional phase when the city is being reimagined.