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Lawrence History Center Symposium on Urban Renewal Attracts Interest from All Levels of Scholarship 

On Saturday, May 7, 2016, the Lawrence History Center hosted as symposium, Reclaiming Urban Renewal: Community Efforts and Impacts in Lawrence, MA and Other Industrial Cities Nearly 170 people were welcomed at all levels of scholarship -- community members, community organizations, scholars, practitioners, researchers, funding organizations, middle/high school, and undergraduate/graduate students -- from Lawrence, Lowell, Boston, Springfield, Gardner, Cambridge, Albany and Buffalo, NY, and elsewhere. 

Keynote speaker Lizabeth Cohen, Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Department of History, Harvard University, had this to say about the day: "I truly enjoyed myself and learned a lot at sessions I attended. What an impressive local history undertaking you have! I was truly inspired by the day." 

Eighteen presentations held throughout the day addressed topics such as:

  • Preservation and Place-Making: Lawrence Heritage State Park and the New Urban Renewal
  • From Demolition to Preservation to Celebration: Renewing Lowell, Mass. (1965-2015)
  • Paternalism Inscribed on the Industrial City: The Case of Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Addressing the Legacy of Urban Renewal: UMass Amherst Design Center in Springfield
  • Rocky’s Folly: Modernism, Urban Renewal, and Albany’s Empire State Plaza
  • Provenance, Preservation and Discovery: Urban Renewal Archival Resources in Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Building Up, Spreading Out: Analyzing the Legacy of Buffalo’s Public Housing Projects During the Urban Renewal Era and Beyond
  • Lunchtime presentation: Urban Renewal in Lawrence through the “Rising” Voices of Bread Loaf
  • City Life/Vida Urbana: Just Cause Eviction & the Struggle for Community Control of Housing and Land (in Boston)
  • The Lawrence Redevelopment Authority (LRA): A New Urban Renewal Plan for a New Century
  • From Urban Renewal to Affordable Housing Production System: Boston Mayors and the Evolution of Community Development Corporations in Boston
  • Neighbors No More: Urban Renewal Comparisons and Research Methods in Lawrence and Lowell
  • Resurrecting a Vanished Neighborhood: Interpreting Urban Renewal at Boston’s West End Museum
  • And more!

Event photos are available below of the morning keynote, panel sessions, lunch time presentations, and other displays and exhibits in the common space. 

The full program is available online here: Or in PDF here:…;

This program was funded in part by Mass Humanities, UMass Lowell, NECC, the Catherine McCarthy Memorial Trust Fund, the ECCF—Rosman Family Fund, the Rosalyn Wood 2011 Charitable Annuity Trust, and the Lawrence Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Special thanks to Youth Development Organization (YDO) and Everett Mills Real Estate for allowing us to use their spaces for our event! 

Event Photos