Revisiting Urban Renewal


Liz Waytkus


Docomomo US staff


Advocacy, Annual Theme, Urban Renewal, Revisiting Urban Renewal
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Docomomo US Theme 2023:
Revisiting Urban Renewal

Urban and suburban development led to radical changes in the way we live, work, and gather. Docomomo US will explore the multifaceted theme of urban renewal as the 2023 annual theme seeking to revisit and better understand the complexity of the projects that were built, their significance, positive and negative impacts, and their legacy today. Much has been said of urban renewal striving to improve our communities at the time and some success from these plans can be seen today. In so many places, however, these development strategies had a vastly negative impact on historically underrepresented communities, ended up decimating downtowns, and destroyed significant historic urban fabric. Increased tensions of this time were outgrowths of these developments that combined with socio-political issues of the era such as war, racism, inequity, and protest among others that influenced the physical design of cities. These known and unknown stories will be further explored, and we expect that in addition to understanding past and present built environments, the role of community and memory will be outgrowths of this theme.

Typologies to be explored include government complexes, affordable housing, superhighways, suburban developments/subdivisions, corporate centers, sporting arenas, convention centers, shopping centers, and landscapes.

To further explore this thematic focus, Docomomo US will partner with leading scholars, our regional chapters and friend organizations, and others to create a conversation around the depth and breadth of this typology. Docomomo US will incorporate the theme throughout our 2023 programming in a variety of ways, including:

  • The 2023 National Symposium in New Haven will explore the "Complexities of the Modern American City." Paper abstracts are being accepted through January 12th.
  • Tour Day (taking place Saturday October 14, 2023 and throughout the month of October). Docomomo US chapters and partners will host tours that engage with the theme.
  • Summer newsletter specifically focused on the theme as well as scholarly articles to be published on our website throughout the year (if you are interesting in submitting an article, please contact for details)
  • Use of the hashtag #RevisitingUrbanRenewal as a way for individuals to engage with the theme on social media