PLAN 74: Article
In Memoriam: Bernard J. Frieden

Ford Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies and Planning

It is with great regret that we report the death of our longtime friend and colleague Bernard J. Frieden, Ford Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies and Planning, on September 9, 2009. He was seventy-nine years old.

A member of the planning faculty since 1961, Frieden served as associate dean of the school from 1993 to 2001 and as chairman of the MIT faculty from 1987-89. During his thirty years of involvement with urban affairs at both the national and local levels, he served on White House advisory committees and worked as a consultant to numerous federal and state agencies. He also served as director of the MIT/Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies from 1972-75 and as director of research at MIT’s Center for Real Estate from 1985-87.

Born in Brooklyn in 1930, Frieden graduated from Cornell in 1951 with a BA in English, then went on to earn an MA in English from Penn State in 1953 and an MCP from MIT in 1957. In 1962 he received MIT’s first PhD in city planning and his dissertation, supervised by the late Lloyd Rodwin, was subsequently published as The Future of Old Neighborhoods: Rebuilding for a Changing Population (MIT Press, 1964). He joined the MIT faculty in 1961 and, except for short-term stays at UC/Berkeley and other academic institutions, never left.

A prolific scholar, Frieden wrote eight books and more than 60 articles on housing and city development. Besides The Future of Old Neighborhoods, he is perhaps best known for three other books, all of which were published by the MIT Press: The Politics of Neglect: Urban Aid from Model Cities to Revenue Sharing (1975), co-authored with Marshall Kaplan; The Environmental Protection Hustle (1979); and Downtown, Inc. How America Rebuilds Cities (1990), co-authored with Lynne B. Sagalyn.

Frieden was a committed mentor to a host of far-flung planners and scholars, two of whom became head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning – Langley Keyes, Ford Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies and Planning, and Phillip Clay, now Chancellor of the Institute. Toward the end of his career, he also began teaching undergraduates, which turned out to be a source of great satisfaction to him, and to them. Upon his retirement in 2002, a fellowship was created in his name that is awarded annually to an entering MCP student.

Frieden is survived by his wife Elaine (Leibowitz) Frieden; his daughter Deborah Reed and her husband Brad; his brother Howard Frieden and Anne Basner. Plans are underway for a memorial event in the fall; expressions of sympathy in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 311 Arsenal Street, Watertown MA 02472.