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Cleveland's New Deal-Era Public Housing Posters

Cleveland's New Deal-Era Public Housing Posters
Library of Congress

Like New York City, Cleveland saw the urgent need in the 1930s for affordable and healthy public housing for its citizens. The Cleveland Municipal Housing Authority (now the Cuyahoga Municipal Housing Authority) was created in 1933 as a response to the poor living conditions of lower income neighborhoods.

Former City Councilman Ernest Bohn spearheaded the creation of the CMHA. Initially seen as a "socialist" concept, Bohn struggled to sell local politicians and landlords on the virtues of public housing. Once the CMHA was created, however, Cleveland quickly developed a reputation as having some of the most innovative approaches to creating and maintaining housing projects, many of which still operate today.

Most of these posters use modernist type alignment and graphics while showcasing happy children and families inside the new projects as opposed to NYCHA's posters of the same era and style, which focused more on the dangers of not accepting the virtues of public housing.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, here is a look at a few of CMHA's posters, promoting their new housing (we highly recommend clicking the "full screen" option below for the best experience):

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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