Kara Murphy Schlichting

Assistant Professor of American and New York City History

Kara Schlichting is an Assistant Professor of History at Queens College, CUNY. She earned her PhD from Rutgers University in 2014. Her work in late-19th and 20th-century American History sits at the intersection of urban, environmental, and political history, with a particular focus on property regimes and regional planning in greater New York City. Her teaching interests range from the history of 1960s America, the city in American history, the history of New York City, and environmental history, including an interdisciplinary class on water. She is currently working on a project on tideland property development to investigate how legal theory, coastal resiliency planning, and land politics shape American waterfronts. Schlichting held a Mellon fellowship in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., for the spring of 2016 for her new project entitled “The Nature of Urban Coastal Resiliency: Twentieth-Century Governance, Environmental Management, and Design.”




Assistant Professor, History, Queens College


Schlichting, Kara Murphy, “Rethinking the Bronx’s ‘Soundview Slums’: The Intersecting Histories of Large-Scale Waterfront Redevelopment and Community-Scaled Planning in an Era of Urban Renewal,” Journal of Planning History, 16, Issue 2 (May 2017), 112–138.



In the 1910s, the bungalow colony Harding Park developed on marshy Clason Point. Through the 1930s–1950s, Robert Moses sought to modernize this East Bronx waterfront through the Parks Department and the Committee on Slum Clearance. While localism and special legislative treatment enabled Harding Park’s preservation as a co-op in 1981, the abandonment of master planning left neighboring Soundview Park unfinished. The entwined histories of recreation and residency on Clason Point reveal the beneficial and detrimental effects of both urban renewal and community development, while also demonstrating the complicated relationship between localism and largescale planning in postwar New York City.


This is the accepted manuscript of an article originally published in the Journal of Planning History.