Articles by urbanaffairseditor

The Liberal Arts Action Lab: Community-Initiated Urban Research in Hartford, Connecticut

November 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

Megan Brown | At traditional academic research centers, faculty and graduate students make decisions on what topics to study. The Liberal Arts Action Lab reverses roles by empowering local residents of Hartford, Connecticut to drive this process. Prospective community partners from different neighborhood groups and non-profit organizations submit one-page proposals about real-world problems they wish to solve. All must agree to share their proposals on a public web page, designed to share -- rather than hide -- what different organizations are planning to work on. Read More

2018 Dennis Judd Best Book Award

October 24, 2019 // 0 Comments

Editor’s Note (Jered Carr): We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight three important books published last year on urban politics. Michael Craw of Evergreen State College chaired the committee responsible for selecting the recipient of the Dennis Judd Best Book Award given by the Urban and Local Politics Section of the American Political Science Association in August 2019. In this post, he briefly describes the committee’s top three choices for best book published on 2018. Read More

Recidivism and Neighborhood Governance

October 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

Michael Craw and Tusty ten Bensel | Prisoner re-entry and recidivism pose significant challenges for many of our most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ex-offenders face such disadvantages as weakened family and social relationships, outdated skills, stigma in the labor market, and psychological trauma from prison experience. The social isolation and economic vulnerability that ex-offenders face spills over into their neighborhoods, reinforcing neighborhood poverty and weakening local social institutions. At the same time, neighborhood poverty and other forms of disadvantage create barriers to successful re-entry and make it more likely that an ex-prisoner will re-offend. These findings lead many researchers to conclude that cycles of incarceration and re-entry reinforce neighborhood disadvantage in many communities. Read More

Right Cause, Wrong Method? Examining the Politics of State Takeover in Georgia

September 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

Richard O. Welsh, Sheneka Williams, Shafiqua Little, and Jerome Graham | There is widespread agreement among educational stakeholders on the urgency of school improvement. Educational actors ranging from policymakers, educators, parents to non-profit organizations and corporations insist that the public school system has failed too many underprivileged children and improving struggling schools is a central challenge in public education. Read More

Concentrated Foreclosure Activity and Distressed Properties in New York City

September 20, 2019 // 0 Comments

Kristin L. Perkins | Since the mid-2000s millions of Americans have had personal experiences with foreclosure. Both homeowners and renters were affected by the surge in foreclosures over the last decade and neighborhoods of all types nationwide were exposed to risky mortgage lending, foreclosure sales, and vacant properties. Many studies have shown that foreclosures have negative effects on individuals and neighborhoods. Much of this research has focused on the effects of foreclosures on sales prices of neighboring homes and on neighborhood conditions like crime and neglected and poorly maintained properties. Read More

Mayors, Accomplishments, and Advancement

September 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

Eric Heberlig (UNC) | It seems straightforward that political advancement would be based on politicians’ accomplishments in office. Voters should want to reward politicians who have demonstrated their competence in office. Apart from the effects of the economy and war on presidential campaigns, there has been little direct examination of whether, and if so how, specific performance in office is related to politicians’ career decisions. Part of the reason for this dearth of research is that voters are generally thought to have very little knowledge, beyond party identification and name recognition, about most politicians. This is particularly true for local offices which typically do not focus on divisive issues that draw intense media coverage and typically do not involve substantial campaign spending. Read More

UAR Best Paper Award at APSA 2019

August 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

Urban Affairs Review is sponsoring a $250 award for the Best Paper in Urban or Regional Politics presented at the 2019 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.

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No Right to Rest: Police Enforcement Patterns and Quality of Life Consequences of the Criminalization of Homelessness

August 22, 2019 // 0 Comments

Tony Robinson | In response to a persistently high number of people experiencing homelessness, concerns have grown among many local officials that the urban environment is being undermined by the presence of unsheltered homeless people, living in public places. An associated concern is that when homeless people are allowed to conduct acts of living in public spaces (such as sleeping or panhandling), they fall into unhealthy behavioral patterns that lengthen their spell of homelessness and undermine their long-term prospects. As a response, an increasing number of cities are criminalizing activities common to homeless people, passing laws that prohibit such things as sleeping, sitting, eating, panhandling, or sheltering in public spaces. Read More

Localism is Not Good For Spatial Equity

July 29, 2019 // 0 Comments

Daniel Kübler and Philippe E. Rochat | Across the world, city-regions are characterized by fragmented systems of governance. As they have sprawled independently from institutional boundaries, areas of urban settlement span across large numbers of local jurisdictions. In some countries, governmental fragmentation has been reduced via territorial reforms. In other countries, such as the United States, or Switzerland - which is in the focus of our study - governmental fragmentation of metropolitan areas is very high. Many studies have shown that this situation impedes the ability of city-regions to implement policies that would be beneficial to the region as a whole. Read More

Preserving Education as a Public Good: Commentaries on ‘The Fight For America’s Schools’

July 23, 2019 // 2 Comments

Barbara Ferman | On October 19, 2017, Bill Gates announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would invest $1.7 billion in education with 60% going for curricula development and network building among schools, 15% for charter schools, and 25% for “big bets that have the potential to change the trajectory of public education over the next 10 to 15 years.” (quoted in L. Camera, 2017) Less than one month later, on November 16, 2017, the School Reform Commission (SRC), the body set up by the Pennsylvania legislature to govern the Philadelphia School District, voted to dissolve itself, returning school governance to Philadelphia[1] This vote was the result of intense grassroots activism involving thousands of teachers, nurses, school aides, students, parents, and other activists. Read More