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It’s Time for a Change: Rethinking Urban Policy in the Age of Trump

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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  • Accomplishing Agonism in Urban Governance

    March 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

    Last year, Urban Affairs Review ran a Mini-Symposium on Urban Governance that featured by articles by Allison Bramwell and Jon Pierre (New Community Spaces), Susan Clarke (Local Place Based Urban Governance), and Jill Simone Gross (Hybridization and Urban Governance). We are now fortunate to have a set of follow-up pieces on Urban Governance written by the same authors to share with you on the Forum. Today we will be posting our second follow-up piece to the series from Jill Simone Gross.

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  • Local Place-Based Collaborative Governance

    March 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

    Last year, Urban Affairs Review ran a Mini-Symposium on Urban Governance that featured by articles by Allison Bramwell and Jon Pierre (New Community Spaces), Susan Clarke (Local Place Based Urban Governance), and Jill Simone Gross (Hybridization and Urban Governance). We are now fortunate to have a set of follow-up pieces on Urban Governance written by the same authors to share with you on the Forum. Today we will be posting our second follow-up piece to the series from Susan E. Clarke.

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  • New Community Spaces

    February 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

    Last year, Urban Affairs Review ran a Mini-Symposium on Urban Governance that featured by articles by Allison Bramwell and Jon Pierre (New Community Spaces), Susan Clarke (Local Place Based Urban Governance), and Jill Simone Gross (Hybridization and Urban Governance). We are now fortunate to have a set of follow-up pieces on Urban Governance written by the same authors to share with you on the Forum. Today we will be posting our first follow-up piece to the series from Allison Barmwell and John Pierre. [...]
  • Cities as Nodes of Resistance to the Trump Agenda

    February 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

    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 Carla M. Flink and Angel Luis Molina, Jr. | Strike up a conversation about politics with a friend, relative, or colleague, and you’d be hard pressed to surprise them by noting the increasing diversity in the demographic face of the United States. You might also argue that this population shift is important because it is changing the political landscape—the presence of demographic change in America is well noted by political pundits and casual observers alike. The American public now finds itself inundated with a flood of election media coverage and, almost inescapably, claims about how the electoral prospects of one candidate or another hinge upon the voting choices of historically underrepresented groups. On the governance side, these claims are important because many believe (or certainly hope) that some policymakers, be they aspiring or incumbent, are more likely to support policies that can improve the outcomes of which minorities care about the most.

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  • Trump and Urbanism: Defending the Unwalled City

    February 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

    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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  • Infrastructure, Taxes, and Sanctuary Cities

    February 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

    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. [...]
  • Race and State in the Urban Regime

    February 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

    By Domingo Morel | In most U.S. cities, local authorities are responsible for governance of the local public schools and managing the local water supply, among other things. However, in many U.S. cities, local residents and their local elected officials do not have decision-making authority over traditional local government functions. In cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and Newark, states control the local schools. In Flint, the state of Michigan has governance authority over the city’s water supply. These cities have experienced state takeovers of their local governments. [...]
  • The Promise and Perils of Education Reform

    January 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

    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. [...]
  • By Michael Manville and Daniel Kuhlmann | Most big cities grow, but a handful of once-large American cities continuously shrink. Twenty-one of the 110 largest central cities in the US have lost population every decade since 1980. Once centers of wealth and industry, these places are shadows of their former selves. In 1950, 1.8 million people lived in Detroit; in 2013, 700,000 did. Since 1950 Buffalo, New York has lost 55 percent of its population. Cleveland, Ohio has lost 56 percent, and Youngstown, Ohio has lost 61 percent. [...]
  • 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: [...]
  • 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. [...]
  • What Affects Our Sense of Security?

    January 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

    By Kimihiro Hino, Masaya Uesugi, and Yasushi Asami | Japan has a lower crime rate (number of recorded crimes per 100,000 people) for homicide and theft than France, Germany, the UK and the US. The theft rate in Japan is less than one-third that of the US, while the homicide rate is around one-sixth. However, the nation’s sense of security with regard to crime remains low. Our recent study showed that crime rates affect residents’ sense of security in their neighborhoods, and that these effects differ by the type of crime and spatial scale. [...]
  • The Politics of Urban Climate Change

    January 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

    By Sara Hughes | Cities are becoming an important focal point for climate change policy: they are responsible for a large portion of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and have shown tremendous leadership in committing to GHG emissions reductions, even as many national governments fail to do so. Indeed, Scientific American recently claimed that, “Climate Change Will be Solved in Cities – Or Not at All” and more than one thousand city leaders attended the recent international climate change negotiations in Paris. But, despite the growth in policy attention to climate change in cities, we have a relatively poor understanding of the political dynamics that underpin urban climate change solutions. [...]
  • By Sarah Reckhow (Michigan State University), Jeffrey R. Henig (Columbia University), Rebecca Jacobsen (Michigan State University), Jamie Alter Litt (Columbia University) School board elections have a reputation for being sleepy affairs—low voter turnout, minimal campaigning, and little media attention. But recent news coverage of school board elections in cities like Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and New Orleans seems to indicate heightened interest in these races: [...]
  • By Yuki Kato (Georgetown University), Scarlett Andrews Martin (Southside Quality of Life Plan, Indianapolis), and Cate Irvin (Tulane University) Like other post-industrial or legacy cities in the United States, such as Detroit and Cleveland, New Orleans has garnered attention for its boom in urban agriculture over the past few years. While the city has historically boasted a backyard gardening culture, along with a surge of community gardening movement in the 1990s, commercial and non-profit [...]
  • By Eric Joseph van Holm (Georgia Institute of Technology) In 2013, El Paso, Texas took the sacrifices cities make in building sports facilities to new symbolic heights when it demolished its 34-year-old city hall in order to clear the land for a new minor league baseball stadium. El Paso committed to the project, not for the love of the game, but in order to anchor their downtown redevelopment, which included 85 projects receiving nearly $500 million in total from municipal bonds. Cities have [...]
  • Understanding Globalizing Cities in India

    October 24, 2016 // 0 Comments

    By Tathagata Chatterji (School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada India) Globalizing cities in the emerging Asian economies are increasingly facing tough competition from cities within their countries to attract global investments. In this competitive national scenario, some cities are more successful than others in attracting global capital, even though they operate under similar macroeconomic and regulatory environment. This spurred me to examine the roles played by the local political [...]
  • Power in Russian Communities

    October 17, 2016 // 0 Comments

    By Valeri Ledyaev (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow) & Alla Chirikova (Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) Power is always difficult to study, especially in the countries with strong authoritarian tendencies. The most accessible to political sociologists are power practices in local communities where it is possible to get information from those who are directly involved in the governmental process and well aware of the real [...]
  • By Aaron Deslatte (Northern Illinois University) Metropolitan sprawl is a well-studied, multidimensional phenomenon. Sprawling development patterns play a substantial role in taxing the resources and infrastructure of local governments, as well as contributing to global environmental externalities like climate change. Counties have become increasingly tasked with municipal-style public service delivery, including land-use planning. But how are they likely to perform this task, particularly in [...]

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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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