Bauer, Catherine

Bauer, Catherine (Krouse)

(1905–64) urban planner, housing expert; born in Elizabeth, N.J. After graduating from Vassar and spending a year in Paris, she wrote articles on architecture and worked in publishing in New York where she met Lewis Mumford, who was to become her mentor and lifelong friend. In the 1930s she alternated between Europe and New York, writing influential articles on the progressive social as well as architectural ideas behind European housing communities. Her book Modern Housing (1934) called for quality low-cost housing and led to her appointment as executive secretary of the American Federation of Labor Housing Conference, which in turn brought about the first public housing legislation in the U.S.A. She served in the U.S. Housing Authority (1937–40), then went to teach at the University of California: Berkeley. There she met and married the architect William Wurster, and from 1930–50, they lived in Cambridge, Mass., where she continued to teach and work for better housing; they returned to Berkeley in 1950 where she taught until her death. In her teaching, speeches, consultancies, writings, and travels, she moved beyond the simple issues of public housing to become a respected voice on urban planning in the broadest sense. Shaping an Urban Future (1969) is a collection of her essays.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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