Archives for city planning

Local History: Urban Renewal Collection

The Urban Renewal Collection is a set of documents, photographs, newspaper clippings, and publications that tell part of the story of urban renewal in White Plains between the mid-1950s and the late-1970s. All of the information in this post is drawn from sources in that collection and the White Plains Collection more broadly. In White Plains we throw around the phrase “urban renewal” rather casually, but it actually first referred to a specific set of laws, projects, and changes. The phrase “urban renewal” was codified in the Housing Act of 1954. Ironically, the Housing Act of 1954 actually increased the
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Categories: History.

Local History: Slum Clearance

The words “urban renewal” are never far from the lips of anyone familiar with White Plains' history over the past 60 years. But what exactly do we mean when we use the phrase “urban renewal?” Most people use the words to describe the transformation of the area bordered on the east and west by Mamaroneck Avenue and the train tracks and on the north and south by Barker Avenue and Post Road, respectively. The term itself comes from the mid-1950s when the language of policy, legislation, and city planning took on a progressive tone that left behind the moralizing sensationalism
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Categories: History and Uncategorized.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Renee Cohen

Renee Cohen has things to say about White Plains. If you've read any of the newspapers or voted in any elections since the mid-1970s, chances are you've encountered Renee. In this oral history she describes coming to White Plains in 1967, her choice to live an environmentally-conscious life, and the many civic projects she's been a part of. Asked what she would like to see more of in the city, she said, “I just like a mix.” Her perspective as a frequent, long-time pedestrian in the city is insightful–if you usually drive through White Plains, Renee will make you think
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Cecilia Bikkal

Cecilia Bikkal has called lots of places “home” around the world, but has been in White Plains since the 1980s. In this oral history, recorded in her office overlooking the corner of Hamilton and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Bikkal shares her personal story and her perspective on White Plains. Bikkal came to White Plains on the day the Galleria opened, and went to work for the County Clerk in the 1980s. She became a lawyer after intending to be an architect. Through her place on the Zoning Board of Appeals and work as a lawyer specializing in immigration,
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: John Kirkpatrick

As a city planner, lawyer, and common council member, John Kirkpatrick has a studied perspective on the City of White Plains. Originally from Alabama, Kirkpatrick remembers deciding to live in White Plains with his wife because they were attracted by the “ferment in culture” the diverse population creates. Always an active citizen, Kirkpatrick contributed to city comprehensive plans and continues to pay attention to the (sometimes small, sometimes big) details that ensure the development of White Plains creates a warm, accessible, pedestrian-friendly environment. With his nuanced perspective on the past, civic engagement in the present, and informed vision for the
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Categories: History and Oral History.