Articles by urbanaffairseditor

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

Racial/Ethnic Transition and Hierarchy Among Ascending Neighborhoods

May 1, 2018 // 0 Comments

Ann Owens and Jennifer Candipan | When neighborhoods’ socioeconomic status (SES) improves, does their racial/ethnic composition change? Is socioeconomic change also a process of racial/ethnic transition from minority to white? Often when minority neighborhoods are experiencing socioeconomic increases, residents and anti-gentrification activists perceive such a threat—that higher-income, mainly white newcomers will “invade” the neighborhood, potentially displacing residents and altering the neighborhood’s racial/ethnic makeup. Read More

Race and Legislative Responsiveness in City Council Meetings

April 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

Bai Linh Hoang | The local council is one important institution that provides opportunities for constituents to directly interact with their legislators.  In holding public hearings on specific policy proposals and reserving time for the public to comment on more general matters, city council meetings enable constituents to voice their concerns about community and municipal-related matters to elected officials.  However, we know little of the potential disparities in how legislators treat different racial and ethnic groups in these meetings.  Are there racial differences in the propensity of legislators to respond to and acknowledge a constituent’s concern?   Read More

Opening Universities as Global Urban Actors

April 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

Jean-Paul D. Addie | The relationship between the university and the city is evolving in an era of global urbanization. It is now a well-worn adage that we have entered an ‘urban age’ with more than half the world’s population living in cities. This epochal transition raises unprecedented opportunities for universities to mobilize their expertise, influence policy agendas, and assume critical roles as urban leaders on the global stage. Yet it also presents profound challenges for academic institutions, both in terms of changing expectations and functions of higher education and where in the world – and the city – university adaptions need to unfold.  Read More

Putting Culture On The Map: Media Discourse and the Urban Growth Machine in Koreatown, Los Angeles

March 29, 2018 // 0 Comments

Brady Collins | Over the last decades, culture has become an essential ingredient in the economic development strategies of cities around the world. In this context, the development and promotion of ethnic neighborhoods—e.g. Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Harlem—is a strategy for revitalizing diverse urban areas. The local newspaper is a key actor in this process: it represents and promotes a city’s cultural assets, and in doing so shapes the way readers perceive of different communities. Given the tastes and preferences of today’s young urban professionals, “hipsters”, and tourists--urban environments characterized by ethnic diversity, authentic cuisine, and unique cultural experiences--these representations have the power to attract new capital and residents to immigrant communities.  Read More

Taking a Risk: Explaining the Use of Complex Debt Finance by the Chicago Public Schools

March 21, 2018 // 0 Comments

Amanda Kass, Martin J. Luby, and Rachel Weber | For most of the 20th century, the municipal securities market was a sleepy backwater where governments went to raise money for roads, bridges, and wastewater systems. Most cities financed their infrastructure with debt that relied on conservative or well-seasoned market structures.  At the end of the century, however, local governments entered a period of “entrepreneurial” finance as federal support for urban development declined. In the years leading up to the global financial crisis, many US governments began utilizing new bond structures and riskier financial instruments to, potentially, lower borrowing costs. Read More

Nonprofit Organizations and the Local Politics of Immigrant Rights

March 2, 2018 // 0 Comments

Els de Graauw's new book Making Immigrant Rights Real: Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco unpacks the puzzle of how immigrant-serving nonprofits successfully navigate the many constraints on their advocacy to influence the local governance of immigrant integration. It focuses on nonprofit advocacy for immigrant rights in San Francisco, a traditional immigrant-receiving city with over 200 active immigrant-serving nonprofits, along with similar nonprofits in Houston, New Haven, New York City, Oakland, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. Read More