On this page, you will find recordings of lectures or interviews given by the staff of the Living New Deal.
Annette Laing interviews Dr. Richard Walker, Professor Emeritus of Geography, UC Berkeley, and Director, The Living New Deal. With a team of volunteers across the nation, Dr. Walker documents New Deal buildings, bridges, roads, and even sewer systems that were created under FDR’s New Deal, and are still in use today. The continuing impact of this massive program of public investment in infrastructure is astonishing.
When FDR created the New Deal, also known as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), as a way to provide paying jobs to millions of unemployed Americans recovering from The Great Depression. Over 140 projects were completed by the WPA in Los Angeles. This episode highlights many of these works still standing and asks the question what would a WPA look like if it still existed today.
Oregon national associate Judith Kenny and videographers Logan Duello and Alex Hilton recently produced a short video on the five Public Works Administration (PWA) bridges that completed the Oregon Coast Highway (Hwy 101). The five bridges serve the southwest coast and are valued by many as spectacular in their beauty as the coast itself.
Greenbelt Access Television and Frank Gervasi interviewed the Living New Deal’s Communications Director, Susan Ives. Watch the interview here. The discussion touched on the New Deal’s art and history and its lasting impacts on the United States.
Lizabeth Cohen, Living New Deal advisor and Professor of American Studies and History at Harvard, spoke with WBUR about the Lessons from the New Deal. “It wasn’t one big package wrapped in political consensus. We look at the real, messy process that pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression.”
Lizabeth Cohen, professor of American Studies at Harvard University. Author of “Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age.” (@Harvard)
Richard A Walker and Brent McKee Speak with the DC Preservation League
The New Deal and Parks in Washington, D.C.The New Deal transformed the nation’s capital in a brief decade, 1933-42. It realized the civic dreams of the L’Enfant and McMillan Plans: completion of the Federal Triangle, development of the capital parks, and renovation of the National Mall as the centerpiece of the city.
KPFA Interview. Guest: Richard A. Walker, Living New Deal Director and professor emeritus of geography at U.C. Berkeley. He created the pamphlet A Guide to the Art and Public Works of the New Deal: Washington DC. Find more at livingnewdeal.org
Living New Deal Webinar: “The New Deal and Right Wing Extremism: Saving the Republic“
A discussion with Kevin Baker on the lessons of right wing extremism in the 1930s. Moderated by Jeff Gold.
Stephen Pyne and Gray Brechin in conversation, hosted by the David Rumsey Map Center on Friday, February 26, 2021
Gray Brechin founder of the Living New Deal and environmental historian and fire expert Stephen Pyne talk about the California fires and the Ponderosa Way.
New Deal Community of Norvelt
Saint Vincent College professor Timothy Kelly taught a class about the New Deal Community of Norvelt in Pennsylvania. Named in part for Eleanor Roosevelt, it was built during the Great Depression to house unemployed miners and provide a model for a new way of living that accorded greater independence. Saint Vincent College is located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Watch the lecture.
New Deal-related film, “Defending Utopia: The Greenbelt News Review at 80”
“In 1937, Roosevelt’s New Deal planners launched an extraordinary housing experiment in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Greenbelt, Maryland was the most controversial of three suburban “green towns” designed to ease Depression-era housing shortages – though critics called the towns a socialistic waste of taxpayer dollars whose non-profit cooperatives threatened American capitalism.
But since 1937, a volunteer-run weekly newspaper has defended a city Eleanor Roosevelt called “the first garden community in the land, planned for the uplift and unfolding of the human spirit.” And in a 1970 libel case, the Greenbelt News Review fought to protect the press freedoms so critical to American democracy.
“Defending Utopia: The Greenbelt News Review at 80″ is about a courageous home town newspaper and the battles it fought on behalf of its idealistic residents.”
Guest: Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author who has covered business, technology, and public policy for the Los Angeles Times for three decades. He currently serves as the Times’s business columnist and hosts its business blog, The Economy Hub.
Saving Paradise and the Ponderosa Way Firebreak, with Gray Brechin and Stephen Pyne — 2-28-21
Gray Brechin founder of the Living New Deal and environmental historian and fire expert Stephen Pyne talk about California fire prevention, forest preservation and the potential of the Ponderosa Way.
Living New Deal Research Board Member Eric Rauchway on Contentious Presidential Transitions
The transition of power from one U.S. president to the next typically goes off without a hitch. But the transition between President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden has been anything but typical. On this episode of The Backdrop, UC Davis Distinguished Professor of History Eric Rauchway discusses this tumultuous transfer of power and lessons we can learn from another contentious transition, from Herbert Hoover to Franklin Roosevelt.
Art and Activism: Posters for Social Change
Living New Deal Webinar Series
From the Green New Deal to the Living New Deal
Eric Rauchway interviewed for Scene on Radio.
Segment reported and produced by John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Eric Rauchway and Cybelle Fox. The series editor is Loretta Williams. Listen to the interview here.
Eric Rauchway quoted in GQ about America’s descent into the Great Depression. Photo Illustration by Keir Novesky, Getty Images.
Richard A Walker and Gray Brechin Interviewed on KLAW — “What Should a 21st Century Post-Pandemic New Deal Look Like?
Rose Aguilar spoke with Living New Deal’s Gray Brechin and Richard A Walker for the May 14 edition of Your Call on KALW. Walker and Brechin reflect on the state of the country and the unfolding crisis and argue it’s time for a New New Deal.
Listen to the interview here.
Living New Deal Director Richard A Walker was interviewed on KPFA on April 22 for a segment on Against the Grain. Titled “The Global Economy, Climate Change, and Covid 19,” the segment was a conversation about the COVID-19 pandemic, the unfolding economic crisis, and the need for a new New Deal. Listen to the segment here.
Richard A Walker Interviewed on KZYX Radio
On March 10, Richard Walker was interviewed on KZYX on “Mind, Body and Health.” You can listen to the interview here.
Eric Rauchway, UC Davis Professor of History and Living New Deal Board Member, spoke about the New Deal with Kara Miller of Innovation Hub, National Public Radio. Rauchway examined how the Roosevelt Administration’s reforms changed Americans’ lives and restored faith in government. Listen to the program here.
In a recent Living New Deal Newsletter post, Living New Deal Founder, Gray Brechin, reviewed Eric Rauchway’s latest book, Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the First Clash Over the New Deal.
The Green New Deal has raised hopes for a major push to address climate change and social injustice. Is it just pie in the sky? Not at all. The original New Deal of the 1930s brought a revolution in conservation and public health, worker rights and wages, income and regional equality, and public investment for the common good—all during the worst depression in history. A Green New Deal is possible because we have done it before. Learn more about this initiative.
October 30, 2019, by Radio Ecoshock
Listen to the podcast here.
“Think of the great cities about to be lost as seas rise on a warming planet. That is Venice, and our guests Gray Brechin and Luca Muscara take us there, to the battleground between human history and climate change. But we go further into the killing role of great cities and lessons for our future from the New Deal. I’m Alex Smith. Let’s explore time and place on Radio Ecoshock.”
“A New Deal for New York City: Looking Back, Looking Forward,” May 7, The Center for Architecture, NYC
On May 7, 2019, the Living New Deal NYC Chapter hosted a talk about the legacy of the New Deal in New York.
Watch the video of the event here.
Keynote speaker—historian, journalist, novelist, and political commentator Kevin Baker was joined by a panel of commentators that includes:
- Gray Brechin, founder of the Living New Deal.
- Marta Gutman, architectural and urban historian, professor at the City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture and CUNY Graduate Center, and an expert on New Deal-era public works in the city.
- Steven Attewell, author of People Must Live by Work: Direct Job Creation in America, from FDR to Reagan, who teaches public policy at CUNY’s School for Labor and Urban Studies.
- Phoebe Roosevelt, a great-granddaughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, offered welcoming remarks.
Eric Rauchway, Living New Deal Research Board member, was Interviewed on KPFA’s Letters and Politics on July 9, 2019. In “The First Clash Over the New Deal,” Rauchwaytalks about the emergence of the New Deal as well as how its legislative legacy influenced the modern progressive movement. Listen to the interview here.
Pieces of a model of the city built in 1938 are on display at branch libraries across the city. Locals are gathering to have conversations about how the city is changing, and for whom.
Living New Deal Director, Richard A Walker and Founder, Gray Brechin interviewed by Mitch Jezerich, the host of KPFA’s “Letters and Politics.”
Podcast: Jerry Kay’s Journal
Interview with Living New Deal’s own Harvey Smith.
Anton Refregier’s New Deal Murals
Living New Deal founder Gray Brechin introduces this clip in which Anton Refregier recalls the heady days of public art and artists during the New Deal.
Visit our Films and Videos resource section where you can watch films created by the New Deal, links to films about the New Deal, our monthly Fireside Films selection, and Bibliographies and Resources.