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February 2, 1961, Vol. VI, No. 15
Bourgeois of the World, Relax
If you are a middle-class type who has fled to the anonymous classlessness of the big city or a small town in the mid-West, you can relax now. The old propaganda of the 30’s about the Babbitt-habits of the bourgeoisie is dying out. A token of this trend is a recent publication by Elizabeth Wood, a Villager who has managed to find positive values in middleclassness.
For preservation of the city, she finds the middle class – dubbed “middle status” by her – an absolute necessity.
Miss Wood, poetry professor-turned-housing-expert, has just published a treatise entitled “The Balanced Neighborhood.” Released under the auspices of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, her pamphlet makes the point that heterogeneity – economic, racial, and in terms of age – in urban neighborhoods is a good thing. She finds that the present-day project-approach to housing has produced one-class islands, and that it has been a disaster from the standpoint of social planning.
Miss Wood would have the planners offer the middle-status families with children (she emphasizes the latter) the necessities and amenities that will keep them in the city. the absence of this group in the post-war public housing projects has been “disastrous,” she says.
“It was the middle-status people living in public housing in a depression era who created the health committees, and all the other committees that burgeoned in the early days of public housing,” Miss Wood’s pamphlet states.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 13, 2008