Articles by urbanaffairseditor

Gendered Gentrification in Hong Kong: The Role of Women in Shaping One of the Most Unaffordable Urban Housing Markets

August 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

Minting Ye and Igor Vojnovic | In a recent Urban Affairs Review article we explore how women have been impacting the social and physical upgrading of neighborhoods in one of the most competitive property markets in the world. In 2016, the most expensive apartment in Asia sold in Hong Kong for US$117 million, breaking the old record that was set in that city a year earlier. At the other end of the market spectrum, purchasing an entry-level apartment is also costly, with units as small as 163 square feet selling for $500,000. Being one of the most expensive global real estate markets ensures that space is at a premium. Micro-apartments ranging between 28 square feet to 40 square feet—a fraction of the size of a parking spot—are available across the city. Read More

Light-rail Investment in Seattle: Gentrification Pressures and Trends in Neighborhood Ethnoracial Composition

July 31, 2018 // 0 Comments

Chris Hess | Public infrastructure has always shaped patterns of metropolitan growth and residential segregation. Street-car lines, followed by highways, created important corridors from cities out into the so-called “Crabgrass Frontier” (Jackson 1985). New access to undeveloped suburban areas combined with government-insured mortgages with low down-payments generated vast opportunities for housing construction. However, through much of the 20th century “redlining”, discriminatory housing covenants, and exclusionary zoning maintained a system of residential stratification preventing racial and ethnic minorities from moving outward to burgeoning suburbs. Consequently, many urban neighborhoods became racially-segregated, faced disinvestment due to housing policy favoring lending to suburban contexts, and experienced increasing “mismatch” from suburban employment growth. Read More

Order out of Chaos: The Case for a New Conceptualization of the Cross-Boundary Instruments of American Regionalism

July 25, 2018 // 0 Comments

David Miller and Jen Nelles | American regions are made up of interdependent local governments. Their interdependencies stem from the fact that many problems, opportunities, and issues routinely ignore and transcend the clear jurisdictional boundaries between neighboring cities, counties, and towns. Figuring out how to work across those boundaries has proved both elusive and a challenging.  That said, state and local governments have, over time, awkwardly, and with much experimenting, developed mechanisms of regional governance.   Read More

Sanctuary Cities: Attitudes Towards Collaboration Between Local Law Enforcement and Federal Immigration Authorities

July 16, 2018 // 0 Comments

Jason P. Casellas and Sophia J. Wallace | Due to the stall in immigration reform at the federal level, there has been a rapid increase in state-level immigration policies over the last 15 years. Some states pursued restrictionist policies aimed at limiting immigrants’ rights and increasing immigration enforcement, such as Arizona through SB 1070, while others have sought to expand and protect immigrant rights, such as California in declaring the entire state a sanctuary. During the 2016 campaign and in his presidency, Donald Trump repeatedly promised increasing restrictive immigration policies aimed at reducing the number of undocumented immigrants, massive deportations, building a wall on the U.S-Mexico border, and imposing harsh penalties on immigrants. Read More

Fiscal Secession (or How Local Special Assessments are Exacerbating Service Inequality)

July 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

Mathew D. McCubbins and Ellen C. Seljan | Local governments across the United States often find themselves needing to seek out new revenue sources, particularly in the face of state limitations on taxation.  Our research examines the usage of special assessments, a particularly popular, but understudied source of local revenues, in the state of California. Today, special assessments are commonly used to back local infrastructure projects and provide growing number of public services, from local fire and police protection to street maintenance and repair. Read More

Shifting Agendas: Private Consultants and Public Planning Policy

June 27, 2018 // 0 Comments

Orly Linovski | Urban planning is often thought of as a public sector activity, despite the increasing role and influence of private-sector consultants. Consultants are involved in many stages of the planning process, including undertaking policy reviews; creating long-range plans and strategies; and, designing and implementing public engagement strategies. Planning consultants often straddle the private and public spheres, working for both government and private clients. This raises questions about how private-sector planners balance competing goals, as well as the democratic legitimacy and accountability of the planning processes they undertake. While consultants have been involved in planning since the early days of the profession, the reduced capacity that many municipalities currently face makes it critical to examine the impacts that outsourcing and privatization may have on planning processes. For local governments that have traditionally seen planning as a public-sector activity, these changes can undermine both the public interest and the relationship between citizens and decision-makers. Read More

Running Local: Gender Stereotyping & Female Candidates in Local Elections

June 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

Nichole Bauer | The 2018 mid-term elections will be a banner year for women in politics. In fact, as many as 421 women could launch a campaign for a seat in the U.S. House. Even more women will run for office at the local level. In research recently published in Urban Affairs Review, I examined whether female candidates running in local elections will face a gender bias or a gender advantage among voters. Using two original survey experiments, I find that female candidates do not necessarily have an automatic advantage in a local election. Female candidates, however, will have an advantage when they emphasize positive masculine traits that voters value in political leaders. Read More

Public Housing Participation in Superstorm Sandy Recovery

June 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

Leigh Graham | In February in New York City, the Citywide Council of Presidents, an elected body representing over 400,000 tenants of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), took the unprecedented step of suing the agency. Resident leaders sought an independent monitor for the Authority, pointing to high-profile health and safety failures including a lapse in lead paint inspections with fraudulent reports to the contrary from the Chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, and sporadic heat and hot water during a frigid winter.   Read More

Urban Gathering Addresses Bottom-Up Politics

May 21, 2018 // 0 Comments

By Hilary Silver, Gregory Squires, and Clarence Stone | Partisan polarization and gridlock at the federal level have effectively obstructed the path to positive solutions to the everyday problems of ordinary people.  One consequence of this has been a proliferation of local initiatives, many percolating upwards from the very community residents experiencing these problems.  To collect, analyze, and advance such "bottom-up" innovations, the Woodrow Wilson Center's Urban Sustainability Laboratory, with the University Seminar on Bottom-Up Politics at the George Washington  University and the Metropolitan Policy Center of the School of Public Affairs at American University, held a a symposium on April 12, 2018, in Washington D.C.  The symposium grew out of a grant from George Washington University.   Under it a team of D.C. area scholars including Clarence Stone, Gregory Squires, Hilary Silver (all from GWU’s faculty), Blair Ruble and Allison Garland of the Wilson Center, and Derek Hyra of American University provided the planning and made the arrangements.  Before his failing health forced him to withdraw, the late Thomas Kingsley of the Urban Institute was an integral part of the early planning. Read More

Economy or Justice? How Urban Actors Respond to Diversity

May 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

Michalis Moutselos, Christian Jacobs, Julia Martínez-Ariño, Maria Schiller, Karen Schönwälder, Alexandre Tandé | In many European countries, "diversity" has become a common term in political and public life. In Germany, for instance, thousands of companies, administrations, and other civil society actors have signed a diversity charter. Recent governments have run campaigns announcing the diversity is good for German society (Schönwälder and Triadafilopoulos 2016). But what exactly is meant by "diversity"? Is this just a slogan that suits economic interests and obscures inequalities, as some critics fear? Or is "diversity" associated with more equality? And how widely do important actors in German society actually share the positive appreciation of diversity? The arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees has also been accompanied by more vocal anti-immigration mobilization. Read More