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What South Bethlehem can learn from Atlantic City

Bryant Simon

Temple University professor and author Bryant Simon will present a lecture entitled “Learning from Atlantic City: Architecture, Gambling, and the Disappearance of Urban Space in 20th Century America” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Linderman Library, Room 200. The event is free and open to the public.

Simon will present Atlantic City as a case study as it relates to the redevelopment of South Side Bethlehem, which includes plans for a casino. Simon will draw from his book Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America, which not only tells the tale of Atlantic City’s rise, near death, and reincarnation, but also prompts the discussion of the boundaries of public space in urban America.

Simon’s book offers a narrative of Atlantic City’s past and points to the troubling fate of urban America and the nation’s cultural trajectory in the 20th century, with broad implications for those interested in urban studies, sociology, planning, architecture, and history.

A lunch discussion will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Linderman Library, Room 200 to balance Simon’s critical take on Atlantic City. The discussion will stem from the written summary of the first public meeting, held three weeks ago at Bethlehem’s Ice House, on the City of Bethlehem’s Comprehensive Plan.

The lecture is sponsored by Lehigh’s Humanities Center and the South Side Initiative, which brings together the university community, the people of Bethlehem, government officials, experts and developers to learn about the Bethlehem Steel site plans and address the needs of the community.

“The idea for this talk is to bring together students, faculty, staff, and community members to think positively and substantively about the city’s redevelopment,” says John Pettegrew, associate professor of history, director of Lehigh’s American Studies program and an organizer of the South Side Initiative.

--Tricia Long

Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007

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