In the spotlight

Positively Resilient? How Framing Local Action Affects Public Opinion

By Sara Meerow (Arizona State University) and Fabian Neuner (Arizona State University | Cities face a variety of hazards, from rising temperatures, to increasingly intense storms, to sea-level rise. Addressing these challenges will require local governments to enact ambitious plans and policies. Historically, such efforts have been framed in terms of sustainability, adaptation, or reducing vulnerability. More recently, resilience has become the buzzword. For example, many cities, such as Boston and Miami, have developed resilience plans and high-profile funding initiatives have purported to build resilience. Read More
  • A Note from the Editors

    June 18, 2020

    We have all been rocked by the murder of George Floyd. Transformational change to policing in cities throughout the world has been demanded for decades, but the racism, excessive force, and unaccountable behavior have persisted alongside discriminatory practices in other areas of urban life - work, housing, health, education - that have long denied life and livelihoods to Black and Indigenous people of color. This time must be different. As we know better than most, truly transformational change is not achieved without a real understanding of the problem or potential solutions. Our community of urban scholars has long been engaged in the work needed to make clear how these issues harm our society, and most especially people of color. From time to time, we will highlight research from UAR to help your efforts to push our knowledge forward and make this time different. Read More
  • By J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (University at Albany, SUNY), Theresa A. Pardo (University at Albany, SUNY), and Manuel De Tuya (University at Albany, SUNY) | Megacities, metropolitan areas that concentrate more than 10 million people comprised of one or more cities plus their suburbs (UN 2006), showcase the advantages and richness, as well as the challenges and struggles, of large, diverse, and complex urban settlements. The continuous­­­­ growth of metropolitan areas is creating a myriad of problems whose complexity often outpaces the ability of the city’s government to respond. In such situations, city governments are looking for new and innovative ways to solve problems and provide services. Megalopolises like Mexico City and New York City (NYC), in particular, are working to understand this new complexity and to address it in innovative ways that make it possible to respond to the increasing demand for current services and in many cases, for new kinds of services. In essence, they are looking for ways to make their cities smarter. Read More
  • By Hyesun Jeong (University of Texas at Arlington) and Matt Patterson (University of Calgary) | As cities around the world have shut down due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the cultural sector has been particularly hard hit. Even as some jurisdictions begin to ease public health restrictions, tourism and crowded events such as concerts and festivals are unlikely to return while we are still vulnerable to the coronavirus. Public subsidies for cultural organizations are also at risk as governments have shifted to prioritize public health. Lockdowns and social distancing have limited our participation in public spaces. In sum, the cultural landscape of cities looks extremely uncertain in the immediate future and it is likely that many cultural establishments will not survive. Read More
  • By Sunyoung Pyo (Korean National Police University) | Police use of deadly force against racial minority residents is a major concern of U.S. policing. The several high-profile police-involved deaths of racial minority residents, such as the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the death of Eric Garner in New York City, along with the acquittal of police officers involved in those incidents, led to minority residents’ riots and looting in protest of police brutality. These incidents and the resulting public outcry brought major national debate on officers’ discriminatory treatment toward Black people and pressured the governments to devise a way to control officers’ discretionary decision to use of deadly force. Read More
  • By Meghan E. Rubado (Cleveland State University) and Jay T. Jennings (The University of Texas at Austin) | The prolonged and ongoing struggle of city newspapers to stay afloat and maintain full newsrooms made us curious about potential fallout for local politics. Our new article in UAR leverages 20 years of data to examine the relationship between newspaper staffing cuts and measures of political competition and voter engagement in mayoral elections. Read More
  • Urban Affairs Review is sponsoring a $250 award for the Best Paper in Urban or Regional Politics presented at the 2020 (Virtual) American Political Science Association conference. We encourage chairs of all Urban and Local Politics Section panels to nominate papers. We also welcome self-nominations. Papers presented on any panel associated with the conference are eligible for this award. Read More
  • Call for Contributions: Urban Affairs Forum Colloquium | Guest Editors: Jen Nelles and Jay Rickabaugh | The question of how local governments coordinate policies and projects across jurisdictional boundaries fascinates a small subset of scholars across a broad range of disciplines. In the social sciences, research focuses on (among other things) governance, institutions, the consequences of political fragmentation, collective action, and the practicalities of service and infrastructure provision. Much of the literature questions the suitability of the institutions that have emerged in response to multiplying cross-boundary problems and highlights concerns of effectiveness, equity, and accountability. Most scholars active in this field are aware of the range of instruments available to tackle regional issues and grasp collective opportunities; the existing literature, however, reveals a field rife with both explicit and unconscious biases. Read More
  • By Robert Sroka (University of Michigan) | Cities getting fleeced by professional sports teams on stadium and arena deals is nothing new. Nor is the underperformance of infrastructure megaprojects, which frequently go over budget, take longer than expected, or fail to meet revenue targets. Despite sports facilities representing some of the most financially significant and visible megaprojects that many cities will contemplate, there is often a disconnect between discussions of sports venues and the larger suite of infrastructure megaprojects. Read More
  • By Rachel Busbridge (Australian Catholic University) and Mark Chou (Australian Catholic University) | The so-called ‘culture wars’ – conflicts between progressives and conservatives over morality, values and identity – are often considered purely national in scope. When James Davison Hunter first popularized the concept in the early 1990s, he had in mind a clear vision of an all-encompassing conflict between the forces of orthodoxy and progressivism over the ‘meaning of America’. Yet the fiercest manifestations of culture war conflicts very often occur in localities, turning ostensibly national debates into issues that cities and towns have to deal with. Indeed, recent events – the murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests, the COVID-19 pandemic – have only served to underscore the increasingly localized dimensions of culture war skirmishes and the challenges they present for local and municipal governance. Read More
  • The Forum is pleased to announce its new Book Review space, edited and curated by former UAR co-editors Jill Tao and Antonio Tavares. Read More
  • By Rachel M. Krause (University of Kansas), Christopher V. Hawkins (University of Central Florida), and Angela Y. S. Park (Kansas State University) | In the wake of the United States’ initiation of its formal withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the continued commitment of city governments is serving, for some, as a beacon of hope. However, although there are many examples of cities achieving significant reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions, individual local governments cannot generate the necessary scale of changes alone. The emphasis that both scholarly and practitioner-focused studies place on understanding the dynamics that facilitate successful inter-jurisdictional and inter-organizational collaborations around local climate and energy objectives reflect this recognition. Read More
  • Editor's Note: In this post, UAR Co-Editor Yue Zhang shares her article that was originally published in the Spring 2020 newsletter of The Organized Section In Comparative Politics of the American Political Science Association (APSA). Read More
  • We are pleased to announce that our two-year Journal Impact Factor score has increased to 2.192 and our five-year impact score increased to 2.551. This is the fourth consecutive year our scores have increased and these are our best numbers yet. Thank you to everyone who supports UAR as an author, reviewer, or reader! Read More
  • By Seongkyung Cho (ASU), Karen Mossberger (ASU), David Swindell (ASU), and J. David Selby (ASU) | Citizen consultation and participation in decision making at the local level has a long history in the U.S., rooted in traditions such as the New England town meeting. In recent years, however, new digital platforms have emerged to facilitate online town hall meetings or to gather collective input on policy issues in new ways. Who are the governments experimenting with these participatory innovations? We explore this question using US national survey data that examines use of these platforms, goals and activities for civic engagement, and practices for local innovation. Read More
  • Authors have asked for them, and we are pleased to provide these updated and expanded descriptions of the four research formats accepted by UAR. Read More
  • By Rebecca Goldstein (Harvard University), Michael W. Sances (University of Memphis), and Hye Young You (New York University) | One aspect of recent criticism of police departments has been centered on the aggressive imposition and collection of fees, fines, and civilly forfeited assets. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri police department, for example, revealed that a key driver of the behavior of the Ferguson police was the desire to generate municipal revenue by issuing traffic tickets and imposing fees. More broadly, a growing body of evidence indicates that local police departments are being used to provide revenue for municipalities by imposing and collecting fees, fines, and asset forfeitures: Census of Governments data from 2012 shows that about 80 percent of American cities with law enforcement institutions derive at least some revenue from fees, fines, and asset forfeitures, with about 6 percent of cities collecting more than 10 percent of their revenues from fines in 2012 (Sances and You 2017). Are the police engaged in this fee and fine collection at the expense of other important activities? Read More
  • Editor's Note: This post by Edward Goetz (University of Minnesota) is the last of three posts based on the Exclusionary Zoning Colloquy published in 2019. The entire colloquy is available here. If you missed the first post by David Imbroscio (University of Louisville) you can read that here, and the second post by Katherine Levine Einstein here. Read More
  • Editor's Note: This post by Katherine Levine Einstein (Boston University) is the second of three posts based on the Exclusionary Zoning Colloquy published in 2019. The entire colloquy is available here. Check back soon for another response from Edward Goetz (University of Minnesota). If you missed the first post by David Imbroscio (University of Louisville) you can read that here. Read More
  • Editor's Note: This post by David Imbroscio (University of Louisville) is the first of three posts based on the Exclusionary Zoning Colloquy published in 2019. The entire colloquy is available here. Check back soon for responses from Katherine Levine Einstein (Boston University) and Edward Goetz (University of Minnesota). Read More
  • By By Gregg Colburn (University of Washington), Rebecca Walter (University of Washington), and Deirdre Pfeiffer (Arizona State University) | A well-documented consequence of the recent foreclosure crisis was a pronounced dislocation in the single-family home market. Large institutional buyers backed with Wall Street capital emerged to capitalize on this dislocation. These firms acquired hundreds of thousands of single-family homes to create a pool of institutionally-owned single-family rentals (SFRs) in markets across the U.S. Existing research highlights both positive and negative effects of this investor activity. Analyses suggest that home purchases and subsequent investments by these actors have reduced vacancies and aided recovery from the housing bust, however, studies also show associations between institutional investment in SFRs and increases in home prices and evictions. Read More

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About the Forum

Urban Affairs Review is a peer-reviewed, bi-monthly journal focused on questions of politics, governance, and public policy specifically as they relate to cities and/or their regions. The Urban Affairs Forum is a space for leading thinkers about urban issues to share their research, ideas, and experiences. Visit us for insights on local and regional politics, urban governance, and public policy that are based in the research findings of our diverse community of scholars and practitioners. You can learn more about the Forum here.

 

We are interested in Forum contributions about urban, local, and regional topics. If you would like to contribute, email Jered Carr at jbcarr@uic.edu.

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