Daniel Ross

Historian of the city, politics, and society

Building people space downtown

The annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) is one of the most engaging and vibrant academic conferences I’ve been to. This year, in San Francisco, I’ll be presenting some of my research on Yonge Street as part of a panel on citizen engagement and the environment in urban planning. Specifically, I’ll be discussing the Yonge Street Pedestrian Mall, which closed the street to traffic each summer from 1971 to 1974.

Source: Toronto Star

Source: Toronto Star

My three co-panelists and I are trying to answer a basic question about twentieth-century cities: how have they been shaped by citizen activism and concerns for building greener, more “liveable” spaces? We study four different cities in three countries. That, and the fact that our moderator is an exciting young urban historian (Catherine McNeur) makes for a promising session.

Chair: Catherine McNeur, Portland State University


Yaron Jorgen Balslev, Tel Aviv University

The creation of a modern city: urban-nature relations in Tel Aviv, 1909-1948

Megan Chew, Ohio State University

Freeway Revolt in the Forest City: The Lost Highways of Cleveland’s East Side

Andrew Dribin, University of Illinois at Chicago

Saving the Lake: Airports and Islands along Chicago’s Lakefront, c. 1972

Daniel Ross, York University

Managing Public Space Downtown: Pedestrians, Pollution, and Vice on Toronto’s Yonge St. Mall, 1971-74

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This entry was posted on March 10, 2014 by in conferences, Toronto.

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