The Living New Deal https://livingnewdeal.org/, part of the Berkeley Digital Humanities Project, provides digital mapping for over 10,000 public works made possible by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan for American recovery from the Great Depression. The Living New Deal site offers views of art, architecture, and infrastructure that the second tier of Roosevelt’s legacy enabled. Interactive maps of Works Project Administration projects spread across the United States document the whereabouts of these post offices, water towers, public parks, and libraries that are probably unknown by many and in danger of being forgotten altogether. Sewer systems and streets, bridges and dams, are also a part of the many more practical facets of this set of laws and executive orders that made the U.S. government the single largest employer at the time. Many airports and national parks are a direct result of New Deal work incentives and projects. The site places an importance on the role the WPA played in the art world by sponsoring Willem De Koonig, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Milton Avery to name just a few. The Diego Rivera-inspired murals are worth the visit to The Living New Deal’s site, as you may also learn there that the New Deal is literally responsible for the ground beneath your feet.
*image of Rudolph Weisenborn’s “Contemporary Chicago” courtesy of glogster.com