News: Featured Stories

February 16, 2018

UMass Boston’s Urban Planning Program launches website on the work of planning scholar Paul Davidoff


  • Boston

More than 50 years after its publication, Paul Davidoff’s 1965 article “Advocacy and Pluralism in Planning” remains the go-to for urban planning scholars, policymakers, and activists committed to advancing social justice in cities. But before now, little information about this planning scholar's life and work existed on the web.

That all changes today, Valentine’s Day— and Davidoff’s birthday. The Master’s Program in Urban Planning and Community Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston is launching a new website highlighting Davidoff’s life and work, created with the help of Davidoff’s family.

Paul Davidoff (1930–1984) encouraged planners to devote a portion of their professional practice to producing high-quality plans and designs for low-income communities. In 1969, he founded the Suburban Action Institute, which mounted a number of legal attacks against exclusionary zoning in New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere.

The Paul Davidoff Tapes Project website features biographical information on Davidoff and his family, copies of many of his most important public speeches and scholarly articles, audio-taped interviews with those who worked closely with him, as well as copies of historic and contemporary “advocacy plans” inspired by Davidoff’s civil and human rights values.

Professor of Urban Planning Ken Reardon is the first director of the Master’s Program in Urban Planning and Community Development, housed in UMass Boston’s School for the Environment. Reardon worked with three master’s students on the project: Sajani Kandel, Carlos Velasquez, and Donald Morrison. Together, they conducted an exhaustive search of library and web-based resources and interviewed more than a dozen of Davidoff’s closest family members, co-workers, and friends in Massachusetts and New York.

“The project simply would not have happened without their hard work and skills,” Reardon said.

Visit the Paul Davidoff Tapes Project Website at