Welcome to the Urban Affairs Forum

By Jered Carr (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Scott Minkoff  (SUNY New Paltz)

This is an important time for the people who live and work in urban communities.  We are seeing decreasing public confidence in the ability of traditional political and civic institutions to solve the most important problems in urban communities.  At the same time, many major cities are experiencing a revival in their fortunes: redeveloping, desegregating, repopulating, and technology is revolutionizing the way residents interact with one another and the various local institutions involved in service delivery and regional governance.  Some communities are finding innovative ways to solve contemporary urban problems while others are struggling cope with changing economies, demographics, and natural environments.  More than ever, we need informed assessment and critiques of these activities. This is why Urban Affairs Review is launching a new website: The Urban Affairs Forum.

The Forum is UAR’s effort to create a place where leading scholars of urban issues can share their research, ideas, and experiences with each other and the broader public.  We seek to use UAR’s position as a central actor in the community of urban affairs scholarship – and social science research more broadly — to create a forum for discussion of research on critical issues.  We hope that this website becomes a regular destination for everyone seeking insights on local and regional politics, urban governance, and public policy that are based in the research findings of this community of scholars.

Urban Affairs Review has been a leading outlet for scholarship on urban politics and policy for more than fifty years with essential theoretical and empirical contributions to the field.  Jon Pierre’s work on urban governance has greatly influenced our understanding of the rise and role of non-governmental actors on cities around the globe.  Peter Eisinger’s research on building cities for the visitor class remains as relevant today as when it was published 16 years ago.  Rick Feiock’s early work on Institutional Collective Action was published in UAR.  And UAR has been a critical outlet for authors studying race, gentrification, and urban regimes including Clarence Stone, Susan Fainstein, Karen Mossberger and Gerry Stoker.  And the contributions have not let up.  Recent issues of UAR have included research on African American business ownership’s impact on crime, tolerance in cities, the responsiveness of municipal government, new measures of urban sprawl, and the persistence of concentrated poverty (to name just a few).

We believe that the Forum is going to give the intellectually and methodologically diverse UAR community of scholars (a community that includes people spread over many disciplines in and out of the academy) a new opportunity to share their contributions with a broad audience.  Authors of articles published in UAR will have the opportunity to explain and contextualize their research here and everyone will all be able to come to the site for thoughtful and accessible discussions of research and events.  However, the Forum won’t merely be a place for authors to discuss their research recently published in UAR.  If your work speaks to a contemporary issue in urban or local politics and policy, the Forum is a place for you to share your ideas.  We will also be seeking people willing to engage in forum-based discussions of recently published work as well as roundtables on ideas and issues.  We will be previewing in-progress research and linking to (and discussing) articles and posts on other sites that will be interesting to our readership.

In the coming days and weeks you can look forward to posts from Todd Swanstrom and others about the impact of Place Matters.  We also have upcoming posts from Carolyn Loh about the Flint water crisis, Els de Graauw on immigrant integration, Jeffrey Timberlake and Elaina Johns-Wolfe on gentrification in New York City and Chicago, and Hank Savitch on the political consequences of metropolitan fragmentation.

We believe this website gives the journal, the people who contribute to it, and anyone who spends time thinking seriously about urban and local issues a critical new outlet to share and discuss ideas and research. Be sure to check back here regularly and visit UAR’s  Facebook page (for links to all Forum posts and other UAR news). If you are interested in contributing, contact Scott Minkoff at minkoffs@newpaltz.edu.

Jered Carr, University of Illinois at Chicago
Managing Editor, Urban Affairs Review

Scott Minkoff, SUNY New Paltz
Associate Editor and Forum Editor, Urban Affairs Review  

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