In Silent Witnesses: Modernity, Colonialism, and Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier's Unfinished Plans for Havana, Joseph R. Hartman examines Havana's urbanization under the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado (in power 1925–33), focusing on the largely unrealized plans of French urbanist Forestier and his Franco-Cuban team of architects and planners. Scholars until now have focused on cataloguing the regime's extant monuments, while giving far less attention to Forestier's unbuilt urban works. The Machado regime's building campaign spoke to modern aspirations of Cuban independence and nationhood, but also to enduring colonial paradigms of race, power, and urban space. Interpreting the history of Havana's urbanization requires taking a critical view of Cuba's colonial heritage and the survival into modern times of local and imported colonialist practices. Revisiting this history lends new insights into the cultural stakes of urban restoration efforts ongoing in Havana today.

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