All Forum Posts

A Note from the Editors

June 18, 2020 // 0 Comments

We have all been rocked by the murder of George Floyd. Transformational change to policing in cities throughout the world has been demanded for decades, but the racism, excessive force, and unaccountable behavior have persisted alongside discriminatory practices in other areas of urban life - work, housing, health, education - that have long denied life and livelihoods to Black and Indigenous people of color. This time must be different. As we know better than most, truly transformational change is not achieved without a real understanding of the problem or potential solutions. Our community of urban scholars has long been engaged in the work needed to make clear how these issues harm our society, and most especially people of color. From time to time, we will highlight research from UAR to help your efforts to push our knowledge forward and make this time different. Read More

Positively Resilient? How Framing Local Action Affects Public Opinion

October 21, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Sara Meerow (Arizona State University) and Fabian Neuner (Arizona State University | Cities face a variety of hazards, from rising temperatures, to increasingly intense storms, to sea-level rise. Addressing these challenges will require local governments to enact ambitious plans and policies. Historically, such efforts have been framed in terms of sustainability, adaptation, or reducing vulnerability. More recently, resilience has become the buzzword. For example, many cities, such as Boston and Miami, have developed resilience plans and high-profile funding initiatives have purported to build resilience. Read More

Information Sharing, Smartness and Megacities: Some Lessons

October 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

By J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (University at Albany, SUNY), Theresa A. Pardo (University at Albany, SUNY), and Manuel De Tuya (University at Albany, SUNY) | Megacities, metropolitan areas that concentrate more than 10 million people comprised of one or more cities plus their suburbs (UN 2006), showcase the advantages and richness, as well as the challenges and struggles, of large, diverse, and complex urban settlements. The continuous­­­­ growth of metropolitan areas is creating a myriad of problems whose complexity often outpaces the ability of the city’s government to respond. In such situations, city governments are looking for new and innovative ways to solve problems and provide services. Megalopolises like Mexico City and New York City (NYC), in particular, are working to understand this new complexity and to address it in innovative ways that make it possible to respond to the increasing demand for current services and in many cases, for new kinds of services. In essence, they are looking for ways to make their cities smarter. Read More

Rebuilding the Cultural Sector in a Post-Pandemic World Requires Understanding the ‘Ecology’ of the Cultural City

October 6, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Hyesun Jeong (University of Texas at Arlington) and Matt Patterson (University of Calgary) | As cities around the world have shut down due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the cultural sector has been particularly hard hit. Even as some jurisdictions begin to ease public health restrictions, tourism and crowded events such as concerts and festivals are unlikely to return while we are still vulnerable to the coronavirus. Public subsidies for cultural organizations are also at risk as governments have shifted to prioritize public health. Lockdowns and social distancing have limited our participation in public spaces. In sum, the cultural landscape of cities looks extremely uncertain in the immediate future and it is likely that many cultural establishments will not survive. Read More

Understanding the Adoption and Implementation of Body-Worn Cameras among U.S. Local Police Departments

October 1, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Sunyoung Pyo (Korean National Police University) | Police use of deadly force against racial minority residents is a major concern of U.S. policing. The several high-profile police-involved deaths of racial minority residents, such as the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the death of Eric Garner in New York City, along with the acquittal of police officers involved in those incidents, led to minority residents’ riots and looting in protest of police brutality. These incidents and the resulting public outcry brought major national debate on officers’ discriminatory treatment toward Black people and pressured the governments to devise a way to control officers’ discretionary decision to use of deadly force. Read More

Political Consequences of the Endangered Local Watchdog: Newspaper Decline and Mayoral Elections in the United States

September 23, 2020 // 1 Comment

By Meghan E. Rubado (Cleveland State University) and Jay T. Jennings (The University of Texas at Austin) | The prolonged and ongoing struggle of city newspapers to stay afloat and maintain full newsrooms made us curious about potential fallout for local politics. Our new article in UAR leverages 20 years of data to examine the relationship between newspaper staffing cuts and measures of political competition and voter engagement in mayoral elections. Read More

UAR Best Paper Award at APSA 2020

September 9, 2020 // 0 Comments

Urban Affairs Review is sponsoring a $250 award for the Best Paper in Urban or Regional Politics presented at the 2020 (Virtual) 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

STATE OF THE FIELD – American Regionalism and the Constellation of Mechanisms for Cross-Boundary Cooperation

September 4, 2020 // 0 Comments

Call for Contributions: Urban Affairs Forum Colloquium | Guest Editors: Jen Nelles and Jay Rickabaugh | The question of how local governments coordinate policies and projects across jurisdictional boundaries fascinates a small subset of scholars across a broad range of disciplines. In the social sciences, research focuses on (among other things) governance, institutions, the consequences of political fragmentation, collective action, and the practicalities of service and infrastructure provision. Much of the literature questions the suitability of the institutions that have emerged in response to multiplying cross-boundary problems and highlights concerns of effectiveness, equity, and accountability. Most scholars active in this field are aware of the range of instruments available to tackle regional issues and grasp collective opportunities; the existing literature, however, reveals a field rife with both explicit and unconscious biases. Read More

Getting STIF[ed]: Louisville’s Yum! Center, Sales-Tax Increment Financing, and Megaproject Underperformance

September 2, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Robert Sroka (University of Michigan) | Cities getting fleeced by professional sports teams on stadium and arena deals is nothing new. Nor is the underperformance of infrastructure megaprojects, which frequently go over budget, take longer than expected, or fail to meet revenue targets. Despite sports facilities representing some of the most financially significant and visible megaprojects that many cities will contemplate, there is often a disconnect between discussions of sports venues and the larger suite of infrastructure megaprojects. Read More

Culture Wars and City Politics, Revisited: Local Councils and the Australia Day Controversy

August 5, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Rachel Busbridge (Australian Catholic University) and Mark Chou (Australian Catholic University) | The so-called ‘culture wars’ – conflicts between progressives and conservatives over morality, values and identity – are often considered purely national in scope. When James Davison Hunter first popularized the concept in the early 1990s, he had in mind a clear vision of an all-encompassing conflict between the forces of orthodoxy and progressivism over the ‘meaning of America’. Yet the fiercest manifestations of culture war conflicts very often occur in localities, turning ostensibly national debates into issues that cities and towns have to deal with. Indeed, recent events – the murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests, the COVID-19 pandemic – have only served to underscore the increasingly localized dimensions of culture war skirmishes and the challenges they present for local and municipal governance. Read More