Cover image for Houser : the life and work of Catherine Bauer
Houser : the life and work of Catherine Bauer
Oberlander, H. Peter, 1922-2008.
Publication Information:
Vancouver : UBC Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 342 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
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H59.W87 O24 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Catherine Bauer changed forever the concept of social housing and inspired a generation of urban activists to integrate public housing into the emerging welfare state of the mid-20th century. She was one of a small group of idealists who called themselves "Housers" because of their commitment to raising the quality of urban life through improving shelter for low-income families.

The story of her life and achievement is full of famous names in art and architecture. Her visionary teachings about the need for housing for the poor and disadvantaged, and the symbiotic relationship between good housing and a healthy society, remain as relevant as ever.

Author Notes

H. Peter Oberlander is Professor Emeritus of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, and founder of the UBC Centre for Human Settlements.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

A "houser" is someone dedicated to enhancing the quality of life through improved housing. Catherine Bauer Wurster (1905-64) devoted her life to urban planning, specifically housing. Her only book, Modern Housing (1934), became a classic. Although she had no formal training, she became a distinguished academic in housing and planning and a much sought after lecturer. She traveled extensively, becoming an expert on European housing. She also studied housing problems in emerging Asian nations, notably India. After several affairs, including a long intellectual and sexual relationship with Lewis Mumford, she married architect and planner William Wurster. She had a wide circle of friends (Clark Kerr, Robert Weaver, Charles Abrams, Walter Gropius, and Leon Keyersling) among housing and planning giants. Although Oberlander and Newbrun's biography of Bauer is encyclopedic, they fail, unfortunately, to establish an emotional distance from their subject. Bauer emerges as a larger-than-life figure who led, single-handedly, a revolution in planning and housing in the US and worldwide. Houser is similar in style and scope to Robert Caro's biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker (CH, Jan'75). Graduate, faculty. D. R. Jamieson; Ashland University

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
1 Early Years (1905-26)p. 3
2 Learning Years (1926-30)p. 20
3 Romantic Years (1930-33)p. 48
4 Political Years (1934-36)p. 89
5 Legislative Years (1936-38)p. 125
6 Transition Years (1939-42)p. 173
7 Academic Years (1943-64)p. 210
Postscriptp. 310
Notesp. 313
Selected Bibliographyp. 321
Acknowledgmentsp. 325
Abbreviationsp. 328
Indexp. 329