Articles by urbanaffairseditor

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

Building the Eviction Economy: Speculation, Precarity, and Eviction in Detroit

July 8, 2019 // 2 Comments

Eric Seymour and Joshua Akers | Evictions have recently gained national attention, in large part through the publication of Matthew Desmond's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Evicted. According to subsequent work from Desmond and colleagues at Princeton University's Eviction Lab, we now know that roughly 1 in 40 renter households were evicted between 2000 and 2016, with nearly one million renter households facing eviction each year. While eviction is certainly more likely for low-income renters, Desmond's work shows how families experiencing eviction fall even further into poverty as a result. After eviction, it becomes even more costly and difficult for already vulnerable families to find housing, hold jobs, and stay healthy. Read More

Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities

June 24, 2019 // 0 Comments

Jessica Trounstine has recently published Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities (Cambridge). A fascinating empirical examination of how local governments have used the distribution of public goods and land use control to increase the wealth of white property owners at the expense of people of color and the poor. This post by Trounstine discusses the core argument of the book and some potential solutions. Her post is followed by several reactions to the book from notable scholars of local and urban politics. Read More

The Politics of Refuge

June 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

Benjamin Gonzalez-O'Brien, Loren Collingwood, and Stephen El-Khatib| The July 1st, 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant, reignited the debate over sanctuary policies in the United States. Lopez-Sanchez had been deported seven times and had been arrested on a marijuana possession charge in San Francisco, but was subsequently released when the city chose not to prosecute him despite a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that he be held so he could be taken into custody for deportation. Then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump seized on the shooting as an example of the crime encouraged by sanctuary city policies throughout the United States and promised to strip funding from these localities if he became president. As president, Trump followed through with this promise, signing an executive order titled, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” on January 25th, 2017, just days after his inauguration. Read More

Flipping a Small Classroom: Engaging Students in the Learning Process

June 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

Staci M. Zavattaro| I knew I was in trouble. I was teaching my new elective Public Sector Communications for the first time. I meticulously planned assignments – group work, active discussions, a comprehensive project. That first night, there were four people in the room – myself and three (eek!) master of public administration students. I went home and realized almost everything I had planned would not work. I went back the next week and asked the students for their help. I said I wanted to flip the classroom – something I had never tried before – and would do it only if they agreed and were willing to work with me along the way. We gave it a try. Read More

Urban Politics is the Best Politics of American Politics

May 21, 2019 // 0 Comments

Emily Farris| As a political scientist trained in American Politics with a focus on urban politics, Introduction to American Politics is not usually my favorite class to teach. It’s not the students, it’s not Trump… it is the material. Intro textbooks rarely cover local politics, and I grow tired of talking about Congress or the Presidency, as if they are the only politics that matter. So, this semester I approached my Introduction to American Politics class differently, thanks to the timing of our local election in Fort Worth and a small honors section of the course. Read More