New on the Urban Affairs Forum

Race and Legislative Responsiveness in City Council Meetings

Bai Linh Hoang | The local council is one important institution that provides opportunities for constituents to directly interact with their legislators.  In holding public hearings on specific policy proposals and reserving time for the public to comment on more general matters, city council meetings enable constituents to voice their concerns about community and municipal-related matters to elected officials.  However, we know little of the potential disparities in how legislators treat different racial and ethnic groups in these meetings.  Are there racial differences in the propensity of legislators to respond to and acknowledge a constituent’s concern?   Read More

0 Comments

  • Brady Collins | Over the last decades, culture has become an essential ingredient in the economic development strategies of cities around the world. In this context, the development and promotion of ethnic neighborhoods—e.g. Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Harlem—is a strategy for revitalizing diverse urban areas. The local newspaper is a key actor in this process: it represents and promotes a city’s cultural assets, and in doing so shapes the way readers perceive of different communities. Given the tastes and preferences of today’s young urban professionals, “hipsters”, and tourists--urban environments characterized by ethnic diversity, authentic cuisine, and unique cultural experiences--these representations have the power to attract new capital and residents to immigrant communities.  Read More
  • Amanda Kass, Martin J. Luby, and Rachel Weber | For most of the 20th century, the municipal securities market was a sleepy backwater where governments went to raise money for roads, bridges, and wastewater systems. Most cities financed their infrastructure with debt that relied on conservative or well-seasoned market structures.  At the end of the century, however, local governments entered a period of “entrepreneurial” finance as federal support for urban development declined. In the years leading up to the global financial crisis, many US governments began utilizing new bond structures and riskier financial instruments to, potentially, lower borrowing costs. Read More
  • Els de Graauw's new book Making Immigrant Rights Real: Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco unpacks the puzzle of how immigrant-serving nonprofits successfully navigate the many constraints on their advocacy to influence the local governance of immigrant integration. It focuses on nonprofit advocacy for immigrant rights in San Francisco, a traditional immigrant-receiving city with over 200 active immigrant-serving nonprofits, along with similar nonprofits in Houston, New Haven, New York City, Oakland, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. Read More
  • Earlier this month we brought you the first part of a two-round dialogue between the authors of Clarence Stone and Robert Stoker’s (editors of Urban Neighborhoods in a New Era: Revitalization Politics in the Postindustrial City, 2015, University of Chicago Press) and Tim Weaver (University at Albany).  Their dialogue deals with important questions related to what it means for urban neighborhoods to be making economic, social, and political progress. Today, we have the second round Read More
  • Clarence Stone and Robert Stoker’s edited volume Urban Neighborhoods in a New Era: Revitalization Politics in the Postindustrial City (2015, University of Chicago Press) featured research from an array prominent scholars of urban politics, policy, and planning.  Focusing on neighborhoods in Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Toronto, the authors collectively make a case that post-industrial cities are starting to change in productive ways, ways that see economic Read More
  • Melissa Arnold Lyon and Jeffrey R. Henig | On a chilly October morning in Buffalo, New York, the Executive Director of Say Yes Buffalo sits at a table in a high school library with a group of about 20 community leaders. The group includes two local foundation leaders, the president of the local teachers union, a top school official, the vice president of a parent advocacy group, a few local higher education representatives, and a representative from the County Department of Social Services, among others. They gather for these meetings once every three weeks. On the agenda today is a discussion about inviting a representative from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to join this group, known as the Operating Committee of Say Yes Buffalo, as well as an update on programmatic data for initiatives such as school-based legal clinics, mental health clinics, mobile health units, and summer camps. During these updates, implementation challenges are discussed and the participants volunteer or call upon each other to figure out solutions. Not every issue is resolved, but the Operating Committee works together, argues a little, and eventually determines what it can accomplish.  Read More
  • New UAR Disasters Issue

    January 23, 2018 // 0 Comments

    In response to recent natural disasters around the globe, urban scholars have looked to the pages of Urban Affairs Review to understand the causes and consequences of these events. In a new Urban Affairs Review virtual issue, we highlight several previously published articles that explain the conditions under which voters have held local officials accountable for natural disasters and when they have not. Articles in Urban Affairs Review have shown how natural disasters expose the Read More
  • Sébastien Lambelet | Governing a city has always required some cooperation between public and private actors since both actors lack resources owned by their counterpart to govern effectively. This interdependence has been theorized in the late 1980s by Clarence Stone with the concept of “urban regime”. Simply defined, an urban regime is a longstanding coalition between the city government and some private actors that has defined a specific policy agenda and that has the capacity to mobilize the necessary resources to implement it. However, in recent time, the concept of urban regime has been heavily criticized by several American scholars who considered it unable to explain the increasing complexity of contemporary governance. By contrast, European scholars have increasingly referred to urban regimes since the concept allows them to take into consideration the declining role of nation states and the rise of neoliberalism that they observe in Europe. Read More
  • Kirk Foster | Each one of us occupies a particular space in the course of our daily lives. We live in a domicile on a block that is situated within a specific neighborhood within a specific town or city. We move about that city as we go to work or someplace to volunteer – each occupy their own space into which we are incorporated. We have particular places that we stop for coffee to chat with familiar faces or shop for groceries. We may drop off children at daycare and discuss common issues with other parents. We may worship with a group of people who share similar values and experiences. My point is that our lives exist within both a social and geographic context. We cannot divorce the two. Our social interactions happen, in part, because of the geography we occupy each day.   Read More
  • Alison Bain and Friederike Landau | Work space for artists is becoming increasingly scarce in the city of Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin wall, artists were often welcomed in formerly run-down neighborhoods in order to creatively upgrade them, but their spatial presence in inner-city areas has undergone a transformation. Even though artists continue to play a crucial role in shaping the image and character of Berlin as a creative and open-minded place that attracts tourists, investors and new businesses, in times where both residential and commercial rent prices are rising and gentrification leaves visible marks all over the city, artists increasingly face the difficulty of finding affordable work and living space to pursue their creative projects. In response, various artist-led and cultural workers’ movements have collectivized to find alternatives to market-oriented models of ownership and tenancy. For example, the initiative AbBA – Allianz bedrohter Berliner Atelierhäuser (Alliance of Endangered Studio Houses) seeks to speak back to artists’ spatial displacement. Read More
  • Andrea Benjamin and Alexis Miller | Endorsements are a part of most elections.  In the urban and local context, they can come from other elected officials (National, State, and Local), Political Action Committees (PACs), and newspapers.  Regardless of the source of the endorsements, the conventional wisdom is that candidates seek out endorsements because they believe they help voters make informed decisions.  Despite their popularity during campaigns, we know very little about how local elected officials, PACs, and community leaders decide which candidates to endorse. We know even less about the extent to which voters are aware of these endorsements when casting their ballots.  Based on our study, PACs use a combination of questionnaires, interviews, and member deliberation to determine which candidates they endorse and voters are aware of these endorsements as they vote.  In local elections that lack partisan cues, these endorsements may provide voters with useful shortcuts about which candidates to select. Read More
  • Benjamin F. Teresa and Ryan M. Good | The Obama administration emphasized charter schools as a reform strategy; early indications from the Trump administration signal a wholesale drive toward expanded “choice” options. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is now the highest-profile advocate for school choice, arguing alongside other proponents for liberalized regulation and financing for the expansion of charter schools. In their estimation, when parents are empowered to choose the school that best meets their children’s needs, schools are compelled to compete for students, and this marketplace delivers education efficiently and effectively to the public. Read More
  • Hal Wolman | Local government fragmentation in US metropolitan regions has been widely recognized as a critical problem with seriously adverse consequences impeding the ability of the region to engage in actions that would be beneficial to the region as a whole.  Despite this recognition, the problem has proven nearly impervious to effective solutions, although partial remedies such as single-purpose regional special districts, inter-local agreements, and planning and discussion forums such as Councils of Government (COGs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) abound.  Yet in many other countries – including most proximately Canada in the province of British Columbia – the widespread use of multi-purpose regional special districts provides a possible model for a successful and improved response to regional governance in the U.S.  The Canadian model, in particular, appears to address effectively the major roadblock to regional governance in the U.S., namely the fear of local governments that they will lose their autonomy and not be able to pursue their own interests in the presence of a regional government institution. Read More
  • Huiping Li | The interaction between public service provision of local governments and housing market can reinforce each other and polarize the socioeconomic space in this global city, Shanghai, even though the governance system is centralized instead of fragmented as in the US. Therefore, how to balance between different types of public expenditure within local governments has significant social and economic implications. Read More
  • Ayobami Laniyonu | Readers of this blog are probably familiar with the concept of gentrification and how it has radically transformed neighborhoods and communities throughout America. Generally speaking, gentrification describes the transformation of areas of a city: from areas previously characterized by inadequate public services, low levels of private investment, and occupancy by poor or working class residents, to zones characterized by expanded public services, more private investment, and occupancy by well-educated, middle and upper class residents. Read More
  • 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
  • The Local Autonomy of Canada’s Largest Cities

    October 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

    Alison Smith and Zachary Spicer | 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.

    Read More
  • 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. 

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • Jean-Paul D. Addie | The relationship between the university and the city is evolving in an era of global urbanization. It is now a well-worn adage that we have entered an ‘urban age’ with more than half the world’s population living in cities. This epochal transition raises unprecedented opportunities for universities to mobilize their expertise, influence policy agendas, and assume critical roles as urban leaders on the global stage. Yet it also presents profound challenges for academic institutions, both in terms of changing expectations and functions of higher education and where in the world – and the city – university adaptions need to unfold.  Read More

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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.”

    Read More
  • 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

Forum Podcasts

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 Scott Minkoff at minkoffs@newpaltz.edu.

 

Join the Urban Affairs Email List for occasional email updates from us about what is going on at Urban Affairs Review and the Urban Affairs Forum.  We won’t email you too often and it is easy to unsubscribe if you need to.  Sign-up here.