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A History of Housing in New York City
by Richard Plunz
Since its emergence in the mid-nineteenth century as the nation’s “metropolis,” New York has faced the most challenging housing problems of any American city, but it has also led the nation in innovation and reform. The horrors of the tenement were perfected in New York at the same time that the very rich were building palaces along Fifth Avenue; public housing for the poor originated in New York, as did government subsidies for middle-class housing.
A standard in the field since its publication in 1992, A History of Housing in New York City traces New York’s housing development from 1850 to the present in text and profuse illustrations. Richard Plunz explores the housing of all classes, with comparative discussion of the development of types ranging from the single-family house to the high-rise apartment tower. His analysis is placed within the context of the broader political and cultural development of New York City. This revised edition extends the scope of the book into the city’s recent history, adding three decades to the study, covering the recent housing bubble crisis, the rebound and gentrification of the five boroughs, and the ecological issues facing the next generation of New Yorkers. More than 300 illustrations are integrated throughout the text, depicting housing plans, neighborhood changes, and city architecture over the past 130 years. This new edition also features a foreword by the distinguished urban historian Kenneth T. Jackson.