Vale, Lawrence J. 1959-
Vale, Lawrence J. 1959-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, lecturer in architecture, 1988-90, assistant professor in Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 1990-95, associate professor, 1995-2002, professor, department head, 2002—.
Rhodes Scholarship, 1982-85; Spiro Kostof Book Award for Architecture and Urbanism, Society of Architectural Historians, 1994, for Architecture, Power, and National Identity; Guggenheim Fellowship for work on American public housing, 1995-96; MIT Provost's Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Grant for 1999-2000; Best Book in Urban Affairs Award, Urban Affairs Association, 2001, for From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors; Paul Davidoff Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, 2005, for Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods.
From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
(Editor, with Sam Bass Warner Jr.) Imaging the City: Continuing Struggles and New Directions, Center for Urban Policy Research (New Brunswick, NJ), 2001.
Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Contributor to journals, including the Journal of Architecture, Harvard Design, Netherlands Journal of Housing and Built Environment, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, and the Journal of Planning Education and Research.
Lawrence J. Vale is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and department head of the department of urban studies and planning. His primary research interests include public housing, design politics, and qualitative methods, and he has done extensive analysis on disaster recovery, comparative housing redevelopment, and the issues of urban security. Vale grew up in Chicago, where the history and structure of the city inspired his interest in urban planning and housing development. In an interview with Sarah H. Wright for the MIT Web site, Vale remarked: "I could look out the window and see a planned waterfront, … I knew about Chicago's dramatic recovery and rebirth after the Great Fire of 1871. I was nurtured in an environment where people had thought systematically about the public realm and its potential impact on future generations." Vale also watched the building of the Cabrini-Green housing projects during the early 1960s, and witnessed how the area became steadily more crime-ridden. He told Wright: "My family took detours to avoid driving past this increasingly notorious neighborhood." Later, after graduating from Amherst College, Vale settled in Boston where he witnessed an attitude of denial regarding public housing. As part of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, he began researching these attitudes, as well as ways in which the stereotypes of public housing and urban planning might be addressed and altered.
In his book From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors, Vale looks at the extremes of housing availability, from suburban homes to urban projects, and how these social dynamics are a reflection of the nation's history. Using Boston as an example, he goes back three hundred years to illustrate how housing has developed over that time, and the attitudes that resulted. Mary Carroll, in a review for Booklist, dubbed the book "a fascinating analysis of how one city has manifested ‘our collective ambivalence’ about citizens unable to provide adequate housing for themselves." Robert Westbrook, writing for the Christian Century, remarked: "One of the several virtues of Lawrence Vale's history is its broad canvas. He argues persuasively that the fate of public neighbors who have found their way into Boston's public housing projects in the last 70 years must be imbedded in the longer, wider story of the treatment of such neighbors since the city's initial settlement by the Puritans."
Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods addresses the question of whether public housing as an institution can be maintained in the wake of so many projects being torn down or transformed into mixed-income housing. Vale looks at three housing projects in Boston and attempts to analyze their place, both in public housing's history and future. Richard P. Taub, writing for the American Journal of Sociology observed: "Vale writes well and clearly, and he mobilizes a broad array of resources, including government documents, meeting minutes, newspaper reports, and personal interviews, to tell his story. The problem is that it is not always clear to the reader what that story is. The sociologist will be immersed in a sea of detail and may often ask why this or that kind of information has been reported." However, Alan Smart, in a review for the Canadian Journal of Urban Research, wrote: "Not only will it provide a variety of insights into the politics of public housing redevelopment, it is also a captivating read along the way."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Journal of Sociology, May, 2001, Arnold R. Hirsch, review of From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors, p. 1818; November, 2004, Richard P. Taub, review of Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods, p. 797.
American Prospect, April 9, 2001, Alexander Von Hoffman, review of From the Puritans to the Projects, p. 40.
Architectural Review, April, 2005, Timothy Brittain-Caitlin, review of The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster, p. 95.
Booklist, October 15, 2000, Mary Carroll, review of From the Puritans to the Projects, p. 395.
Canadian Journal of Urban Research, winter, 2004, Alan Smart, review of Reclaiming Public Housing, p. S105.
Christian Century, July 4, 2001, Robert Westbrook, review of From the Puritans to the Projects, p. 26.
Geographical Review, July, 1993, Larry R. Ford, review of Architecture, Power, and National Identity, p. 384.
Journal of the American Planning Association, spring, 2002, David P. Varady, review of From the Puritans to the Projects, p. 210.
Planning, August-September, 2003, Harold Henderson, "Can These Homes Be Saved?" review of Reclaiming Public Housing, p. 51; August- September, 2005, Harold Henderson, "Bouncing Back" review of The Resilient City, p. 52.
Political Science Quarterly, fall, 2003, Donna Kirchheimer, review of Reclaiming Public Housing, p. 545.
Social Science Review, December, 2003, review of Reclaiming Public Housing, p. 648.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Web site, http://web.mit.edu/ (October 30, 2002), Sarah H. Wright, interview.
University of Illinois Web site, http://www.urban.uiuc.edu/ (November 15, 2006), faculty bio.
University of Pennsylvania Web site, http://www.design.upenn.edu/ (November 15, 2006), faculty bio.