Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

American Studies

Advisor

Arthur Knight

Committee Members

Jody L. Allen

Jamel K. Donnor

Sibel Zandi-Sayek

Abstract

In the fifty years since its activation in 1969, the Williamsburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority (WRHA) has shaped the Williamsburg landscape through projects such as the redevelopment of the Triangle Block, the development of Crispus Attucks Place and Strawberry Plains neighborhoods, and the development of Williamsburg's four public housing communities. This thesis provides a critical narrative of the WRHA that contextualizes the Authority's actions within a broader history of how race and class have informed the development of the Williamsburg area over time. Additionally, this thesis traces the rise of professional city planning in Williamsburg—largely serving the interests of Colonial Williamsburg and the College of William & Mary—and explores the ways in which citizen activism influenced municipal decision-making processes. The thesis concludes with a critique of the City of Williamsburg's ongoing Downtown Vibrancy Plan in order to demonstrate this history's relevance to present and future local planning decisions.

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