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Janet Bednarek


Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: History


Email: Janet Bednarek
Phone: 937-229-2824
HM 464


  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh


Dr. Bednarek is a professor and former executive director of the Urban History Association. Before coming to the University of Dayton, she worked for three years as a historian with the United States Air Force at Bolling AFB, the Pentagon and Wright-Patterson AFB. Since coming to UD in 1992, she has combined her original professional training as an urban historian with her on-the-job training as an aviation historian. She has written two books on the history of airports in the United States, examining them as pieces of the urban transportation infrastructure with a focus on the relationship between airportsand city planning. She is currently working on a history of Dayton, Ohio. She teaches courses in urban and aviation history.

Courses taught

  • HST 346: History of American Aviation
  • HST 355: American Urban History
  • HST 359: History of American City Planning
  • HST 377: Contemporary American History
  • HST 300: Career Exploration in History
  • HST 495: Internship
  • ASI 320: Cities and Energy

Professional activities

  • Urban History Association
  • Society for American City and Regional Planning History
  • Ohio Academy of History
  • American Historical Association
  • Organization of American Historians

Research interests

  • History of U.S. airports
  • History of city planning
  • American urban and technology history

Selected publications


Bednarek, Airports, Cities and the Jet Age: US Airports Since 1945 (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2016).

Bednarek, Cities Take Flight: A Centennial History of the Municipal Airport (Kansas City, Mo.: American Public Works Association, 2004).

Bednarek and Roger Launius, editors, Reconsidering a Century of Flight (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2003).

Bednarek with Michael H. Bednarek, Dreams of Flight: A History of General Aviation (College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2003).

Bednarek, America's Airports: Airfield Development, 1918-1947 (College Station Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 2001).

Bednarek, The Enlisted Experience (1995).

Articles and other essays

Bednarek, “Airports and Urban Development,” in Dilworth, R. (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Urban Studies. New York: Oxford University Press (2020).

Bednarek, ""Creating an 'Image Center': Reimagining Omaha's Downtown and Riverfront, 1986-2003," Nebraska History, Vol. 90, No. 4 (Winter 2009): 190-207.

Reprinted in Connolly, J. J. (Ed.), After the Factory: Reinventing America's Small Industrial Cities (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010).

Bednarek, "Layer upon Layer: Public Authorities and Airport Ownership and Management in St. Louis, 1947-1980," Journal of Planning History, Vol. 8, No. 1 (February 2009): 3-26.

Bednarek, “The Flying Machine in the Garden: Parks and Airports, 1918-1938,” Technology and Culture, Vol. 46, No. 2 (April 2005): 350-373.

Reprinted in Jones, ed., The Best American History Essays 2007 (Organization of American Historians and Palgrave, 2007).

Selected presentations

“From a National Air Transportation System to Market-based Mobility: The Impact of Deregulation on Air Transportation in America's Medium and Small Cities," Reeder Symposium, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio," (Oct. 28, 2022).

"The Cost of Air Travel: Cleveland Hopkins Airport and the West Park Neighborhood," Society for the History of Technology Conference, New Orleans (Nov. 19, 2021).

"Chasing the Future: Why U.S. Airports always seem to be under construction," Webb Memorial Lecture Series, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, (April 16, 2021).

“Writing the History of Urban Airports: A roundtable on the current state and future of research,” Society for American City and Regional Planning History, Washington, D.C., (Nov. 2, 2019).

"Airport Jurisdiction Issues: Everything has a History,” Airport Cooperative Research Program Insight Event: Challenges to Implementing Successful Land Use Strategies at Airport, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C. (April 10, 2018).

"Hopkins International versus the Lake Erie Jetport: Planning Cleveland's Aviation Future,” 7th National Conference on Planning History, Society for American City and Regional Planning, Cleveland (Oct. 29, 2017).

"Security and the Changing Perception of the Airport," Aviation Cultures MkIII, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (April 28, 2017).

"Why Southwestern Ohio Did Not Build a Regional Jetport," AIAA, Dayton, Ohio (March 1, 2017).

Panelist: "The Next Assignment, The NACA Centenary: A Symposium on 100 Years of Aerospace Research and Development," NASA and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2015).

"Defining the Problem of Aircraft Noise," Society for the History of Technology, Dearborn, Mich. (Nov. 6-9, 2014).

"Unfriendly Skies: Airports and the Reshaping of the Metropolitan Landscape," Urban History Association, Philadelphia (Oct. 9-12, 2014).

"Airports, Noise, and the Limits of Land-Use Planning," Society for American City and Regional Planning History, Baltimore (Nov. 17-20, 2011).