Urban

How City Politics is Organized in Space in Chicago, Toronto, and London

January 22, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Zack Taylor (University of Western Toronto), Jan Doering (McGill University), and Dan Silver (University of Toronto) | Sociologists and geographers have long placed space and place at the center of their analyses. They have shown that people’s identities and attitudes are inflected by their social and physical contexts—who their neighbors are and what kind of place they live in—although they have not always extended this to politics. Studies of urban politics, on the other hand, have focused on individual characteristics such as race and gender rather than space or place. In their important study of exit polls in American big-city elections, Trounstine and Hajnal (2014) find that race overwhelms all other factors. Elections in large American cities are predominantly contests between cohesive groups defined by race. Read More

Welcome New Editorial Board Members

January 7, 2021 // 0 Comments

The Urban Affairs Review (UAR) editorial team is pleased to welcome the following people to our editorial board beginning in January 2021. We are grateful for their willingness to take on this important role and look forward to working with each of them over the next two years. Read More

Neighborhoods and Felony Disenfranchisement: The Case of New York City

December 21, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Kevin Morris (NYU) | Many of the negative effects of mass incarceration on neighborhoods have been well documented by scholars in recent years. The incarceration of community members has been shown to cause negative health outcomes, to disrupt labor markets, and to make residents less trustful of their local government. Residents who live in neighborhoods touched by mass incarceration exhibit symptoms of trauma and are more likely to suffer from anxiety than others. One aspect of incarceration’s effects on neighborhoods, however, remains less studied: felony disenfranchisement, or the suspension of voting rights. Nearly everywhere in the United States, the political rights of individuals convicted of felony offenses are severely curtailed. This project shows that the disenfranchisement of community members has serious impacts on neighborhood turnout in local elections. Read More

When Voters Matter: The Limits of Local Government Responsiveness

December 16, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Michael W. Sances (Temple University) | V.O. Key famously wrote, “Unless mass views have some place in the shaping of policy, all the talk about democracy is nonsense.” While formally democratic, governed as they are by elected representatives, whether local governments meet Key’s standard of democratic responsiveness is unclear. In recent years, several scholars have found correlations between the policy outputs of large cities and the views of their publics, with more liberal cities producing more liberal policies. Yet these patterns could emerge even if cities were not democratically responsive. Additionally, local government is much more than large cities; yet we know little about how the thousands of smaller municipal, township, and special district governments represent their voters. In a recent article in Urban Affairs Review, I find evidence that local governments are indeed responsive in some areas, but not at all responsive in others. Read More

Sanctuary Policy Adoptions: Assessing the Effects of Ideology and Access to Labor and Housing Markets

November 19, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Donald Vandegrift (College of New Jersey) and Zachary Weyand (College of New Jersey) | Liberal metro areas are known for their staunch defense of cultural and racial diversity. These defenses are often cast in moral terms as a conflict between cosmopolitan desires for openness and insular impulses that seek to preserve cultural homogeneity. A December 2016 opinion piece by the editors of The New York Times (“Proud to Be a Sanctuary City”) offers a typical statement of this view: “The word "sanctuary" as Mr. Trump deploys it -- a place where immigrant criminals run amok, shielded from the long arm of federal law -- is grossly misleading, because cities with "sanctuary" policies cannot obstruct federal enforcement and do not try to. Instead, they do what they can to welcome and support immigrants, including the unauthorized, and choose not to participate in deportation crackdowns they see as unjust, self-defeating and harmful to public safety." Read More

Incentives and Austerity: How Did the Great Recession Affect Municipal Economic Development Policy?

October 29, 2020 // 1 Comment

By Sara Hinkley (University of California, Berkeley) and Rachel Weber (University of Illinois at Chicago) | After the Great Recession of 2007-2009, cities across the country were hit by a perfect storm of revenue declines, inadequate federal stimulus monies, and state efforts to displace budget cuts onto local governments. As a result, local governments found themselves making unprecedented cuts to public services and jobs. Libraries and schools were closed, social work caseloads rose exponentially, and even “sacred cows” like police and fire services were put on the chopping block as decision-makers pushed austerity responses. In most parts of the country, those cuts were never restored, even long after population and economic growth recovered. 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

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