Robin, John G.
Interview Date
February 1981
John Robin, a professor of public affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, he served as executive director of Urban Development from 1948 to 1954 during Pittsburgh's "Renaissance I" period, in India with the Ford Foundation for ten years and as secretary of commerce for the State of Pennsylvania, and head of the Redevelopment Authority during "Renaissance II"; birth year, 1912;
[T1S1] birth in Pittsburgh's Hill District to Russian/Polish immigrants; father's employment as a pharmacist; number of siblings; home life; education, Fulton School, East Liberty School, Wightman School, and Schenley High School; early influences; medical care; interest in politics; education, University of Pittsburgh; employment at the Pittsburgh<i> Post Gazette</i>; his two marriages; his children;
[T1S2] discussion of his job at the <i>Post Gazette</i>; becomes secretary to Mayor Scully; discussion of how he came into this position; his functions in this position; beginning of the anti-smoke program during the Scully administration; becomes director of Welfare Activities from 1941-43; 1943-45, service in the Army; opinion of David Lawrence; becomes executive director of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA); people and businesses involved with URA; discussion of the Gateway Center Project, the first step in the urban Renaissance; other issues of Renaissance, including smoke control, parking and expansion of parks;
[T2S3] discussion of the Allegheny Conference; the main elements of smoke control; 1955, becomes secretary of commerce for Pennsylvania for one year; moves to Philadelphia, PA to work for the Old Philadelphia Development Corporation (OPDC) for six years; discussion of OPDC; opinion of David Lawrence as governor of Pennsylvania; policies of the Lawrence administration; his personal relationship with Lawrence;
[T2S4] meeting John F. Kennedy; his second marriage in 1963 in Kenya; discussion of his position with the Ford Foundation from 1963 to 1973; four years as Chief Consultant to Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Association; the goals of this project; his main contributions; India's attitude toward Americans; views about the United Nations; spends three years administering a program in Kenya; goals of this program;
[T3S5] discussion of budget and other branches of program in Africa; description of living conditions in Kenya; Jewish entrepreneurs in Africa; incident involving lions in Masai Mara Preserve; 1970-73, project advisor, Athens; directs a survey of urbanization through the world; extensive travels; retrospect of his ten years with the Ford Foundation;
[T3S6] return to Pittsburgh, 1973; invited to University of Pittsburgh in joint arrangement as professor and program advisor to Allegheny Conference; named to board of Port Authority; issues involving mass transit, the Skybus; becomes head of Redevelopment Authority, 1977; his teaching at the University of Pittsburgh; concerns over funding for Port Authority; projects of the Redevelopment Authority;
[T4S7] companies and foundations involved in Pittsburgh's "Renaissance II"; goals of "Renaissance II"; the role of the mayor's administration in the renaissance; focus of the project; how "Renaissance II" aided in adjustment to decline in heavy industry; conflict between merchants and Pittsburgh Plate Glass; Pittsburgh's future; his children, their education and careers; family vacations; hobbies
Education; Ford Foundation; International relations; Pittsburgh Renaissance; Pittsburgh Renaissance II; Urban renewal--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh--History; Politics; Public administration
Birth Date
Pittsburgh, PA
University of Pittsburgh; Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Occupation (father)
Length (hours)
Lehman, Rhea
Egert, Dana
Reynolds, Jacqueline
Collateral Materials
Box 105 FF 20
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