FSU professor wins prestigious award for civil rights book

Florida State University Professor Charles Connerly has been recognized by his peers for a book he wrote about city planning and civil rights in Birmingham, Ala.

Connerly, the William G. and Budd Bell Professor and chairman of the urban and regional planning department, has received the Paul Davidoff Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) for his book, “The Most Segregated City in America: City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 1920-1980.”

“Connerly tracked the impact of the shocking and persistent use of ‘neutral’ planning techniques to encourage segregation in an extraordinary exploration of the use of planning tools for malevolent intent,” said Marcia Marker Feld, chair of the 2007 ACSP Paul Davidoff Committee.

The Davidoff Award is presented biennially to recognize an outstanding book “promoting participatory planning and positive social change, opposing poverty and racism as factors in society and seeking ways to reduce disparities between rich and poor; white and black; men and women.”

“Paul Davidoff was a planner and lawyer in the 1960s and 1970s who is best known for his work on advocacy planning and efforts to end exclusionary zoning and housing patterns,” Connerly said. “My research is guided by the same interests as Davidoff and so it is an extreme pleasure to receive this award.”

Charles Connerly
Charles Connerly

“The Most Segregated City in America: City Planning and Civil Rights in Birmingham, 1920-1980” was published in June 2005 by the University of Virginia Press. It was named one of the Top 10 books for 2006 by Planetizen, a planning and development network.

Connerly, who also serves as North American editor of the journal Housing Studies, began his career at FSU in 1981. He earned a doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1980.