We are looking for additional panelists for this year's UHA Conference, scheduled to take place in Philadelphia, PA October 9-12. Currently, we have two papers, one on El Paso, TX and one on Guatemala City. In the interest of panel cohesion, we invite 20th century US historians and Latin Americanists to reply. Below is a brief abstract of the panel. If you are interested, please contact Stephanie Parham at email@example.com.
When modernizing elites pushed for technological advances, development, and urban renewal in the twentieth century, their visions rarely considered the realities of the people living and working in the spaces they wished to change. Instead, state and local actors endorsed efforts to improve existing infrastructure and called upon professionals such as architects and urban planners to help make their visions a reality. From demolishing existing homes and buildings, and attempts to organize neighborhoods that had emerged without official guidance, government officials and their upper-class allies used a variety of methods to bring their plans to fruition. However, as is often the case, their ideas failed to integrate the majority of the population whose lives were tied to their families, their work, and their communities. This panel examines how non-elite actors used unconventional methods such as squatting in existing buildings or occupying undeveloped lots in their interactions with local and state officials in order to lay claim to their rights as citizens.
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