New Deal Legacies Endangered

Buildings and homes built as a product of the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s are being torn down at a rate that some find unsettling.
February 11, 2009, 1pm PST | Judy Chang
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"'It's ironic to be tearing them down just when America is going through tough times again,' said the biographer Robert Caro, who wrote about the WPA in 'The Power Broker,' his book about the builder Robert Moses. 'We should be preserving them and honoring them. They serve as monuments to the fact that it is possible to combine infrastructure with beauty.'"

"Professors, authors and architects have formed the National New Deal Preservation Association. State governments from Arkansas to California are compiling lists of WPA-era projects still standing.

'They are redolent of a moment when there was more emphasis on making an integrated community - not just building houses, but auditoriums, community centers and schools,' said the architect Hugh Hardy, who restored Radio City Music Hall in New York City. 'It's a better use of energy, in a time of fiscal restraint, to see what we can reuse, remake and renew,' he added. 'It's monstrous to say you have to tear them down.'"

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Published on Monday, February 9, 2009 in International Herald Tribune
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