CAL Lecture: Kara Schlichting, "'From Dumps to Glory': City Planning, Coastal Reclamation, and the Rebirth of Flushing Meadow for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair"

Friday, March 21, 2014 ( 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm )

Location: Morton 324

"'From Dumps to Glory': City Planning, Coastal Reclamation, and the Rebirth of Flushing Meadow for the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair"
By Kara Schlichting, (Ph.D. Candidate in American History, Rutgers University)

ABSTRACT
This lecture will examine the massive waterfront reclamation project of Corona Dump and the subsequent 1939-1940 Queens world’s fair, the “World of Tomorrow.” The World of Tomorrow was an exercise in international fraternity, an amusement park, a utopian planned community, and a trade show for American industry and technology. The fair’s builders furthermore understood the project a great public works undertaking that would modernize Queens and secure New York City’s position at the forefront of urban design. The infamous ash dump at Flushing Meadow had long stood as proof of the dire consequences of an unplanned periphery. The fair, however, brought automobility and technological rationalism as well as a new, manmade nature to Queens. The unprecedented environmental reclamation projects that preceded the fair restructured the city’s refuse disposal, sewerage and water treatment allowed city boosters and regional planners to reimagine the modern cityscape on the urban edge.

BIOGRAPHY
Kara Schlichting is a Ph.D. candidate in American history at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick, NJ. Kara earned her B.A. in American Studies at Cornell University. Her intellectual interests include urban and regional planning history and the history of technology, environment, and health. Her dissertation examines metropolitan growth in greater New York from the perspective of the urban periphery, focusing on property regimes, environmental reclamation issues, and the collaborative city-building work of grassroots actors and professional planners.