December 2017

Artists, Temporality, and the Governance of Collaborative Place-making

December 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

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

Picking Winners: How Political Organizations Influence Local Elections

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

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