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Planning at the limit: immigration and post-war Birmingham

Chan, W.F. (2005) Planning at the limit: immigration and post-war Birmingham. Journal of Historical Geography, 31 (3). pp. 513-527. ISSN 0305-7488

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It is acknowledged that the post-war period of urban planning has played a significant role in the construction of Britain's cities. The plans themselves and the commentaries on these plans tend to illustrate this phase as predominately involving rehousing, the reorganization of land use and the containment of urban sprawl. Through a close, de-constructive reading of two plans instructive to the rebuilding of the City of Birmingham, this paper suggests that post-war reconstruction cannot be reduced to such domestic, localised issues. Instead, it demonstrates that although planners often elided any mention of immigration and promoted a notion of natural population increase, there remain traces of an uneven relationship with immigration operating at a number of scales in the documentation. The paper elucidates such traces and, in turn, works towards a reassessment of the literature on immigration and the city.