New on the Urban Affairs Forum

Hurricanes, Climate Change, and Urban Growth Machines

Richardson Dilworth | During this latest and most brutal of hurricane seasons, the real estate website Zillow.com offered that hurricanes typically had no impact on property values in the coastal areas most often impacted by such storms. Yet the website also cautioned that “Whether or not this holds true in the wake of Harvey and Irma remains to be seen.” Indeed, what ostensibly might affect coastal property values is not hurricanes per se, but rather the fact that increasingly severe storms are just one of the more obvious facets of the multiple impacts climate change will have on coastal communities. Read More

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  • As an integral part of the 2017 APSA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, September 2nd, the urban section made use of a new program format, an all-day mini-conference.  Titled “The New Urban Politics: Changing Cities and Fresh Perspectives,” the five-session program began at 8:00 a.m. and concluded at 5:30 p.m.  Words alone cannot capture the excitement and energy of the day.  Hailed as an extraordinary “happening,” the event achieved an intellectual intensity rarely seen even in individual panels. 

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  • Sheriff Clarke has resigned his position as sheriff of Milwaukee. Clarke is famous for his wild comments and for his association and support of Trump. Clarke is not the only Trump-supporting sheriff to draw national attention. Joe Arpaio, who is a former sheriff, was pardoned by President Trump. Mixed reactions to this pardon have cast the spotlight on the power that sheriffs and law enforcement leaders have at the local level.

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  • UAR Best Paper Award

    September 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

    Urban Affairs Review is sponsoring a $250 award for the Best Paper in Urban or Regional Politics presented at the 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.

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  • The finance industry plays an important role in shaping inequality. Private financial institutions determine, often in partnership with government, where to invest in housing, economic development, and infrastructure. These investments are often drastically uneven, fostering job growth and housing value appreciation in some areas and economic decline in others. One manifestation of this disparity is dramatic differences in access to services. While the affluent are able to build home equity and retirement accounts via access to “mainstream” financial services, the poor are disproportionately reliant on “alternative” or “fringe” services, such as check cashing outlets (CCOs), payday lending, and subprime mortgages.

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  • In the early 1980s, with the election of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, urban policy and politics in the U.K. and the U.S. took a sharp turn towards markets, competition, and privatization. But while both the Thatcher government and the Reagan administration shared similar ideas about the causes of urban problems and about how best to tackle them, the differing institutional settings in which they operated shaped the timing, extent, and character of the changes they were able to introduce.

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  • Is ‘Gaytrification’ a Real Phenomena?

    August 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

    City leaders have often suggested attracting gays to neighborhoods within their cities as a remedy for urban blight. A 2013 Slate column discusses the CEO and president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp who explicitly suggested that city leaders try to attract gays to Detroit to spur gentrification of decaying areas. The research literature suggests a few reasons why gays may act as “urban pioneers” who revitalize run-down areas close to downtowns. One proposed reason is that gays and lesbians may be willing to invest and reside in run-down areas to create welcoming communities in the presence of perceived discrimination elsewhere. In creating these enclaves, gays and lesbians renovate the aging housing stock and provide additional amenities to the region.

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  • Against the backdrop of increasing immigration dispersion and ongoing stalemate over federal immigration reform, many local governments have taken immigration matters into their own hands. While opposing approaches to undocumented immigrants (anti-immigrant policies versus sanctuary ordinances) are observed in many municipalities, a new type of local immigration policy has emerged recently, which shifts from a focus on the basic rights of undocumented immigrants to a recognition of immigrant contributions to community development: welcoming cities

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  • By Max Holleran and Sam Holleran | Queens, New York City’s second largest borough with nearly 2.3 inhabitants, is known as the beating heart of the city’s many immigrant communities. Once a collection of splintered garden districts, public housing estates, and industrial areas, the borough has grown enormously in the last fifty years. It is arguably the most diverse place on earth and the American torchbearer for tolerance and multiculturalism. It is also the place that brought the world Donald Trump. Read More
  • I want to bring to your attention two recent Washington Post Monkey Cage articles by the authors of the also recently published UAR article, “The Politics of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime, and Undocumented Immigration.” Benjamin Gonzalez, Loren Collingwood, and Stephen Omar El-Khatib wrote about their research in the Washington Post back in October.  Recently, they wrote a follow-up piece on The Monkey Cage that dealt with a July 12, 2017 speech from Attorney General Jeff Read More
  • By Timothy Weaver | The election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency has left many observers in profound shock and has caused great alarm in city halls across the nation. Not surprisingly, many analysts have emphasized the degree to which Trump’s approach to cities will involve a sharp break with the past. By contrast, I want to suggest here that, though change is indeed in the offing in some domains, in the final analysis the forthcoming urban policies introduced by Trump’s secretary of HUD, Ben Carson, will prove all too familiar. Rather than a brave new world, cities are likely to find themselves back in the 1980s, where cuts, privatization, deregulation, and pro-business strategies will be given a major fillip. It is important to note that such a state of affairs, while having most in common with the Reagan years, would prove less of a sea change from the Obama administration than many liberals would like to admit.

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  • By George Galster, Heather MacDonald, and Jacqueline Nelson | In Sydney’s highly competitive rental market, we were hearing anecdotal reports of rent seekers being treated differently according to their ethnic background. We designed an experiment to test whether these anecdotal reports reflected systematic differences in treatment. Using a method widely used in the US and elsewhere, in late 2013 we conducted a ‘paired testing’ experiment, which involved sending renters of Anglo, Indian and Muslim Middle Eastern backgrounds to rental properties advertised on a large real estate website.

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  • Grocery Co-Ops as Governing Institutions

    June 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

    Grocery cooperatives dot the retail food landscape in cities across the United States. Most of these community-owned stores participate in an alternative food network that supports local farming, organic products and fair-trade goods. Many cooperatives are part of neighborhood commercial corridors. Those with a long tenure may be the most established, and largest, retailers on these corridors. These grocery cooperatives may play a crucial role in corridor governance, helping to convene other merchants to market the corridor, increasing visibility, sales, and corridor stability.

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  • Among the most common questions asked about the Olympics by scholars and the public alike is: “Why do cities want to host the Olympics anyway?” Our recent research shifts the question from the rationales proposed by elites to how local residents encounter the Games through its various stages from bidding to post-Games perceptions. Such a perspective is particularly important given the pressure that has emerged from local residents in recent years in bid cities that has frequently scuttled Olympic aspirations.

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  • Let’s say that the last heavy rain left a pothole on your street significantly deeper, or that a streetlight went out right in front of your house.What do you do? Some of us stick to airing a few choice curse words when the car bottoms out or when we can’t see where we dropped those keys… but some call “311”, the non-emergency service request line that now operates in many cities across the US. Read More
  • The results of political inequality and disenfranchisement are becoming increasingly difficult for Americans to ignore. It is not just the horrific scenes of black people, almost always from poor urban communities, being shot by police officers on video. It is also the voices of despair and anger as well as calls for justice and reform that are heard after such horrendous events occur. Street protests, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and everyday people on social media platforms have shed light on the palpable sense of political and civic isolation that exists in many urban communities.

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  • The record number of foreclosures that occurred during the 2007-2009 financial recession was a cause of significant concern for low-income neighborhoods. Foreclosures were often found to be concentrated in low-income, minority neighborhoods, and foreclosures themselves have been associated with declines in neighborhood home prices.

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  • Mayors, Partisanship, and Redistribution

    May 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

    By Katherine Levine Einstein and David M. Glick | In the face of federal and state intransigence, progressive policy advocates have increasingly looked to cities for innovative and aggressive redistributive policy. Recently promulgated local policies tackling issues like minimum wage and sick leave policies offer some preliminary evidence that urban governments are important players in this policy arena. Given their direct and indirect powers at the local level, mayors naturally play a salient role in pursuing these policies through agenda setting and other means. Despite mayors’ centrality in these issues, prior studies of local redistribution have not focused on their prioritization of redistributive policy and efforts to put it on the agenda.

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  • By Rizalino B. Cruz | Cities are taking the initiative to promote environmental sustainability. They provide incentives for buildings and homes to go green. They adhere to smart growth. They design urban space in a way that facilitates the interactions of human, nature, and built environment. And their latest efforts are directed toward clean energy. Many cities are not only encouraging residents to use but also produce their own electricity through renewable sources. But the road to clean energy is not a straight path. It has twists and turns and many obstacles along the way.

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  • By Nik Theodore | Immigration policy was a focal point of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which included a pledge to mass-deport millions of unauthorized immigrants currently residing in the United States. Cloaked in the rhetoric of law-and-order policing, the proposed deportations have been presented as a necessary first step towards reforming the nation’s immigration system.

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  • By Albert Meijer and Marcel Thaens | How can we make our cities safe? Entertainment areas in big cities are places of fun but also of trouble. Thefts and fights frequently occur on these areas when people gather in masses and drink large amounts of alcohol. Police presence may help to enhance safety but is costly and may even have adverse effects. A large police presence may give people the impression that there are problems! For these reasons, cities are looking for innovative ways to enhance the safety of entertainment areas.

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  • Canada has become increasingly urbanized through its history, and yet its system of urban governance have changed very little since Confederation in 1867; provincial controls on local governments in Canada remain among the strongest in the world. It is not inevitable that this situation will change, but it is indeed likely. Big city mayors are powerfully arguing for reforms to the structures of urban governance, and at various points in Canadian history there has been an appetite, or at least openness, to this agenda at the provincial and federal levels.

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What the Trump Administration Should Know About Cities

  • By Timothy Weaver | The election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency has left many observers in profound shock and has caused great alarm in city halls across the nation. Not surprisingly, many analysts have emphasized the degree to which Trump’s approach to cities will involve a sharp break with the past. By contrast, I want to suggest here that, though change is indeed in the offing in some domains, in the final analysis the forthcoming urban policies introduced by Trump’s secretary of HUD, Ben Carson, will prove all too familiar. Rather than a brave new world, cities are likely to find themselves back in the 1980s, where cuts, privatization, deregulation, and pro-business strategies will be given a major fillip. It is important to note that such a state of affairs, while having most in common with the Reagan years, would prove less of a sea change from the Obama administration than many liberals would like to admit.

    Read More
  • By Nik Theodore | Immigration policy was a focal point of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which included a pledge to mass-deport millions of unauthorized immigrants currently residing in the United States. Cloaked in the rhetoric of law-and-order policing, the proposed deportations have been presented as a necessary first step towards reforming the nation’s immigration system.

    Read More
  • By David Imbroscio | Recent political developments in both the United States and Europe have been, to say the least, jarring. They should give us cause to begin a process of systematically re-evaluating many of our accepted orthodoxies in political strategy and policy development. Regarding the latter, the urban sphere is a critical, if not essential, place to start. For embodied in what we call urban policy lies a host of core values and assumptions regarding what has been the central political question since at least the time of Aristotle: Namely, what constitutes the nature of “the good society,” and how it might be achieved? Urban policy – properly understood – thus is best thought of as representational of all matters concerning the public interest, at least in the sphere of domestic affairs.

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  • By Peter Eisinger | During the Obama years cities around the nation articulated or actively pursued policy initiatives at the vanguard of progressivism. Sometimes these policy commitments were entirely consistent with Obama’s agenda (green cities, gun control) and sometimes they went beyond (the $15 minimum wage, sanctuary cities), but in general the cities were partners with Washington in the progressive project. Many cities also embraced global trade, an Obama priority, seeing both foreign direct investment and export as crucial to local economic fortunes. As the Trump era begins, however, these various progressive and globalist initiatives and commitments will clearly put cities in stark opposition to the national government. Cities across the country—not simply on the coasts but also in the heartland—are already emerging as active or de facto nodes of resistance to the Trump agenda.

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  • By Todd Swanstrom | Donald Trump ran against cities. During the campaign, he called inner cities “disasters,” implying that this was caused by flawed liberal policies. Trump’s negative portrayal of cities continued after the election. In his Inaugural Address he painted a bleak picture of “[m]others and children trapped in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape,” and he decried “the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives.”

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  • By Michael Pagano | The 2016 presidential campaign rhetoric was laced with mischaracterizations of cities, even as we have come to understand the importance of cities and metro regions as the nation’s key economic drivers in the 21st Century. Yet, campaign rhetoric and the candidates’ statements do speak to an understanding of each candidate’s perspectives on cities and their connections to the federal government. Let’s take a look at three broad federal policy areas that will certainly be (or already have been) addressed by the Trump Administration and that clearly have a place-based dimension: infrastructure, tax reform, and sanctuary cities. Read More
  • By Vladimir Kogan | Many early indicators suggest that big cities are unlikely to get much love from the incoming Trump administration. At an early January press conference, for example, the president suggested his administration would focus on rewarding “places that I won” — and most big cities backed his Democratic opponent by large margins, as they have done for many decades. In addition, President Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, not only lacks government experience but is also openly hostile to some of the agency’s programs and efforts. Read More
  • By George Galster | America prides itself as the land of equal opportunity. Sadly, it is clear that equal opportunity is a cruel sham in a nation whose metropolitan areas’ neighborhoods and schools are increasingly segregated by race and class. Our metropolitan areas are rapidly becoming engines of inequality. Here is what the Trump Administration should know: Read More
  • By Scott Minkoff | When we started the Urban Affairs Forum last year one of our goals was to become an outlet for scholars to offer thoughts about current events based on their years of expertise. Today we are launching our first (of what we expect to be many) Urban Affairs Forum Scholars Series. The topic: What the Trump administration should know about cities. Read More

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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.

 

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