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Hardly any went into Chinatown.

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There have also been the more obvious political faces of fire: in its use as a tool of war Allied forces firebombed 41 square kilometers of Tokyo in , or protest in U. One of the most fascinating essays in the book is one by historian Daniel Kerr about much more recent history in Cleveland. The city experienced a spate of riots in the s by blacks who sought more control over their own communities. Less well remembered is what happened next: In the '70s, some 24, housing units in some of these same neighborhoods were set on fire by arsonists — usually the property owners themselves — with the tacit approval of the city government.


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In all, more than 15, fires were intentionally set that decade, wiping out as much as 40 percent of the housing stock in some neighborhoods that the city hoped to redevelop. These neighborhoods had begun to deteriorate as manufacturers and the middle class abandoned the city. Landlords no longer found it profitable to keep up basic maintenance and repair. Many simply abandoned their properties, pushing the final costs associated with them — their demolition — onto taxpayers.

In the '70s, Kerr writes, demolition was one of the fastest growing municipal expenses in Cleveland. And so the city began to allow owners to simply burn down these buildings themselves often taking insurance claims with them , as the city shut down fire departments in the neighborhoods where this practice was most common. In the end, whole tracts of land were cleared by fire to rebuild the types of housing that officials had long hoped would lure middle- and upper-class families back into the city. But today, few people in Cleveland remember the history of these neighborhoods this way.

Flammable Cities

Rather, public memory has coalesced around the story that these communities were once destroyed by riots in the s. Those thousands of cases of arson, Kerr writes, are Cleveland's "forgotten fires. The story in Cleveland speaks to the other side of the political nature of urban fires: throughout history, they have been blamed on social scapegoats, on Jews and Gypsies, the poor and minorities. Berkeley: University of California Press, Emilian Kavalski.

Project MUSE - Flammable Cities

World Politics on the Edge of Chaos. Arne Keeling and John Sandlos, eds.

TOKYO: Earth's Model MEGACITY

Calgary: University of Calgary Press, John M. Shiho Satsuka.

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Schranken der Natur: Umwelt, Gesellschaft, Experimente, bis heute. Essen: Klartext, Christopher Pastore. Alexa Weik von Mossner, ed.


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Papers from a workshop held at the RCC in Umweltgeschichte n : Ostmitteleuropa von der Industrialisierung bis zum Postsozialismus. Discussions throughout the course engage with questions related to contemporary urbanization and consider how historical knowledge may impart a better understanding of the challenges we are facing in the global present. Assignments of this course include a series of exercises that combine historical research, visual analysis and creative writing.

The Uncomfortable Politics Behind the History of Urban Fires

A one-page study aid that outlines the lecture content is provided for students ahead of the lecture each week. Sustainable Development Goals. Timetable for Lectures. Required Reading Chu, C.

Combating nuisance. Pomfret Eds. Hong Kong University Press. Heng, C.

London burning

Kaifeng and Yangzhou: The birth of the Commercial Street. Celik et al. University of California Press. Home, R.


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