Catherine Bauer Wurster
Catherine Bauer Wurster served and advised three presidents on housing and urban planning strategies — Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower; penned the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 and the critically-acclaimed book, Modern Housing, which cemented her legacy as a champion of public housing for decades to come and which was reprinted this year by University of Minnesota Press. In addition, she was an educator, academic, and activist. The resume of Bauer Wurster is neither short nor lacking stamina in its plethora of impressive feats, and yet she never received acclaim like other leaders in her field, such as Jane Jacobs.
Bauer Wurster spent 24 years as an educator at both UC Berkeley (1940-1944, 1950-1964) and Harvard (1944-1950). She became the fifth faculty member and first woman to join the Department of City Planning at UC Berkeley. A fervent believer in interdisciplinary education, she rewrote the undergraduate curriculum and contributed greatly to its legacy today. Most importantly, Bauer Wurster was an integral force in pioneering the creation of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, the first ever of its kind in the world. The College was established in 1959, linking the departments of Architecture, City and Regional Planning, and Landscape Architecture, where Bauer Wurster would eventually become associate dean.
Wurster Hall, soon to be Bauer Wurster Hall, on the UC Berkeley campus, home to the College of Environmental Design, was named in honor of both William W. Wurster and Catherine Bauer Wuster, respectively the College’s dean and associate dean.
Bauer Wurster died on November 21, 1964, by way of a hiking accident on Mount Tamalpais in the Bay Area.