Graduate Student Council Research Grants


Slums Are Our Most Expensive Luxuries': Little Rock's MetroPlan and the Making of the Neoliberal City, 1939-1980

Document Type



Ph.D. in History

Publication Date



My dissertation charts the implementation of wholly market and private sector based urban planning policies through Little Rock’s Metroplan urban renewal program in the 1950s/60s. I examine how Little Rock’s urban renewal strategists adapted the policies that became neoliberalism –including the destruction of public housing, the public-private coalition of city government and private investors, and gentrification –decades before they appeared in larger cities. I argue that, although on the national periphery and controversial in the 1950s, Little Rock’s urban renewal policies helped redefine the center ground of American political economy twenty years later. Close examination of this moment in urban history illustrates how smaller cities served as laboratories for urban renewal plans that centered around business and pro-growth politics to revitalize city centers, rather than escape them, in conjunction with state anti-labor policies that would inform the emergence of third-way liberalism in the 1970s.

Relational Format


This document is currently not available for download.