Most previous American public housing research has concentrated either on the history of public housing or on the consequences of demolishing projects and relocating residents. Instead, Robert Chaskin and Mark Joseph focus Integrating the Inner City on how mixed-income public housing reform (HOPE VI) is actually playing out in three communities in Chicago.
Implementing HOPE VI has proven far more difficult to implement than expected. First, development teams at the three sites experienced substantial logistic, legal, and economic obstacles in recruiting low-income renters and middle-income homeowners. Although the CHA issued bold statements about its general screening policy including a work requirement, drug testing, criminal background checks, and credit checks, working groups at the three sites modified these requirements leading to the admission of “borderline” families with social problems. Second, “each of the efforts [to foster self-sufficiency] encountered substantial impediments in application and resident response, and most have fallen short of (often) modest expectations.” (p.123) Finally there was little social interaction across incomes and tenures. In fact because of the imposition of strict behavioral rules (e.g. with regard to playing loud music on the street and in cars), mixing actually increased racial and class tensions.
I agree with the authors that it is unrealistic to assume that middle income owners can serve as role models for poor renters. I disagree, however, with their assertion that the CHA’s Public Housing Transformation Plan failed because managers imposed overly stringent rules on former public housing residents. If we want the poor to successfully participate in the market economy and to achieve self-sufficiency, I believe that it is reasonable to expect former public housing residents to learn to follow the same types of rules in subsidized mixed-income developments that apply in market-rate low-income rental housing.
The preceding raises the question: can public housing transformation occur without social mixing? Larry Vale says (2015) “Yes,” based on his research on the Commonwealth Development in Boston. Commonwealth’s success, however, was due to a private management firm’s tight screening and their strict enforcement of behavioral rules, but it is questionable whether the Commonwealth model can be adopted and successfully replicated elsewhere.
Despite my differences with Chaskin and Josephs over their conclusions, I strongly endorse Integrating the Inner City. Six years of fieldwork have produced a stellar product.
A longer version of this book review appears in the Summer 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association.
Vale, Lawrence. 2015. “Myth #6 Mixed-income redevelopment is the only way to fix failed public housing.” Pp. 139-53 in Public Housing Myths: Perception, Reality and Social Policy, edited by Nicholas Dagen Bloom, Fritz Umbach, and Lawrence Vale. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
David Varady is Professor of Planning in the School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati. He is also Book Review Editor of the Journal of Urban Affairs.
Socio-Economic Segregation in European Cities: East Meets West constitutes the first major comparative analysis of socio-economic segregation in European cities and is based on quantitative and qualitative data from 13 major European cities: Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, Stockholm, Oslo, London, Vilnius, Tallinn, Prague, Madrid, Milan, Athens, and Riga.
Not surprisingly, the 13 case studies show that “the spatial gap between the more extreme socio-economic categories, those that ‘have’ and those that ‘have not’ is pretty much widening in Europe.” (p.365) I was surprised however, to learn that the type of welfare state and the characteristics of housing provision—were not clearly linked to the level of segregation. “In some countries with strong public involvement in the housing sector we find both low levels of segregation (Prague) and high levels of segregation (Stockholm and Vienna).” (p.375)
The book does a great job in comparing levels of segregation across European capitals and in portraying the results geographically. However, as the editors acknowledge, it falls short in explaining how and why families make particular segregative residential choices. Why, for example, 25 years after the fall of communism in Tallinn do Estonian managers live in separate neighborhoods from Russian speaking managers?
Unfortunately, the book largely overlooks the role of religion―in particular fundamentalist Islam—along with economic marginalization, and spatial separation―in threatening the future viability of European cities. The terms “Islam” and “Muslims” do not appear in the index and I do not think that they appear in the text either. Did you wonder, as I did in the wake of the 2015 Paris attacks and the attack on the Brussels airport, why the Molenbeek municipality in Brussels became a no-go area for police, where gang violence remains rampant, where Islamic radicalism feeds on the neighborhood’s marginalization, and where some of the terrorists responsible for the Paris and Brussels attacks were able to hide (Freytas-Tamura & Schreuer, 2015)? Unfortunately, you won’t find answers to these questions in this book. Sophisticated qualitative research is needed to answer these questions.
Despite these limitations, I learned a lot about segregation in European cities. However, the book’s high price of $170 prevents me from recommending it to JUA readers. I do encourage you to order a PDF version of the Introduction and Conclusion, available from Open-Access at www.Tandfebooks.com.
David P. Varady is Professor of Planning at the University of Cincinnati and is Book Review Editor for the Journal of Urban Affairs. He is the author of numerous books and articles about low-income housing policy, segregation, and neighborhood development.
There is a serious gap between the problems faced by 21st century cities and their proposed solutions, which are often small-scale, siloed and unsustainable. Paradoxically, as cities face the pressures of poverty, unemployment, social and physical infrastructure degradation, and pollution, they are being lauded by other scales of government for their resilience and innovation in solving wicked problems. Critical urban theory and study highlights the failures and inadequacies of current neoliberal urban policy and austerity programs. The tension between problems, solutions, and expectations in status quo urban policy making begs the question: is there a progressive alternative for cities that promotes equity, democracy, sustainability, and justice? It is now time for scholars to move beyond critiques of neoliberalism to offer a better future for those who live and work in the city.
In this special issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs, we welcome both conceptual and case-focused submissions that examine how to define, build, and action a progressive city in the 21st century. We recognize that the experience of cities in the global south as well as the north offer theoretical insights and practical policy solutions that may move a progressive city agenda forward. We welcome papers that focus on:
the values and principles that define a progressive city;
how to support progressive leadership, movements, and coalitions to become full-fledged political alternatives;
progressive policy visions, agendas, and action plans; and
the institutional arrangements required to anchor or nurture a progressive city.
To be considered for publication in this special issue, papers should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will go through the regular journal review process. Please follow the JUA Author Guidelines which can be found at:
What do the Pope, the President of the United States and the head of the IMF have in common? They have all recently spoken out against rising inequality which has now become a widely recognised global trend over the last thirty years (OECD, 2011; The Economist, 2012). With Oxfam (2016) reporting that the richest 62 people in the world had accumulated wealth equal to that of the poorest half of the world’s population put together, and the top 1% being worth more than the rest of the world’s population combined, the emergence of levels of inequality not seen since before the 1st World War has clearly started to penetrate political discourse. Thomas Piketty (2014) has driven the point home even among hard-nosed economists. Suddenly, inequality is back with a vengeance. What has been discovered, of course, is the outcome of 30 years of neo-liberalism, which has more or less explicitly favoured those with capital and disadvantaged many of the rest. Especially in the advanced economies, politicians across the globe are having to come to terms with increasingly restless populations who are showing their collective displeasure with this state of affairs at the polling booth.
But as urbanists know, social inequality has a spatial dimension. Brenner and Theodore (2002) have argued that the impacts of neo-liberalism are arguably most evident in our cities where urban processes have been characterised by a distinctive shift in the locale of key socio-economic drivers. The “Great Inversion” (Ehrenhalt, 2013) has reorientated the focus of economic growth back towards the centre of major cities as the emergent ‘knowledge economy’ has transformed the fortunes of once failing inner cities, often stimulated by major public policy intervention. But the urban poor who were once concentrated in inner city areas have not simply disappeared. They have found themselves increasingly displaced into older and more marginal suburbs beyond the inner city, many of which were developed in the period shortly before or in the three decades after the Second World War.
This shift has changed the nature of the debates on urban socio-spatial inequality, especially in the United States, where the emergence of suburban poverty (Kneebone & Berube, 2013; Semuels, 2015) has been associated with a strong local political response from the “First Suburb” coalition of financially challenged suburban local authorities in many American cities (Lucy & Phillips, 2000; Puentes & Orfield, 2002). But similar trends have been identified in Canada (Hulchanski et al., 2010) and the UK (Lupton, 2011; Hunter, 2014).
Australia has not escaped this process. The recent Oxfam report referred to above showed Australia to be only second to America in terms of the percentage increase in the share of national income received by the richest 1% of its citizens. As a result, rising inequality is also a fact of life in Australia. Our analysis of the spatial impact of these tends is based on a comparison of data for Sydney, Australia’s largest city, for 1986 and 2006 using the well-established Index of Socio-Economic Disadvantage produced by the Australia Bureau of Statistics for each Census. The analysis confirms conclusively that there was a clear tendency for disadvantage to become increasingly suburbanised during this period, a period synonymous with the introduction of neo-liberal principles in the economic reforms of mid-1980’s and succeeding policy directions. While the number of suburbs containing at least one census tract deemed to be highly disadvantaged had fallen marginally, suburbs with high concentrations of disadvantage (those where disadvantaged tracts accounted for 80% or more of that suburb’s population) increased significantly in number, indicating an increase in the geographic concentration of disadvantage. Accompanying these changes was a dramatic reversal of the earlier geographical patterns of income distribution across the city with the almost total disappearance of the concentration of disadvantaged tracts evident in Sydney’s inner city in the 1980s. There was also clear evidence of a widening gap between the wealthiest and poorest households in the city. In the process, the income differential across the city deepened, with a loss of “middling” incomes across much of the city as the income profile has stretched both upwards and downwards.
That thirty years of “structural adjustment” in those countries at the forefront of the neo-liberal counterrevolution should have led to the deepening of social fault lines and the associated spatial restructuring of our cities in line with this should therefore not be surprising. What remains to be seen is how far these adjustments will continue or whether an emerging political reaction to the predicable outcomes of untrammelled markets and policy-induced inequality will lead to a new consensus that will seek to address these new geographies of suburban disadvantage in advanced neo-liberal economies.
Bill Randolph is a Professor and Director of the City Futures Research Centre in the Faculty of the Built Environment at The University of New South Wales, Australia.
Andrew Tice is a Senior Demographer in the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment.
Brenner, N.& Theodore, N. Eds. (2002). Spaces of neoliberalism: Urban restructuring in North America and Western Europe. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Economist.(2012). For richer, for poorer: Special report on inequality, 13 October.
Ehrenhalt, A. (2013). The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City. New York, New York: Vintage (Random House, Inc).
Hulchanski, J. D., with Bourne, L. S.Egan, R., Fair, M., Maaranen, R., Murdie, R. A., & Walks, R.A. (2010). The three cities within Toronto: Income polarization among Toronto’s neighbourhoods, 1970–2005. Toronto, Canada: Cities Centre and Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.
Hunter, P. (2014) Poverty in Suburbia: A Smith Institute study into the growth of poverty in the suburbs of England and Wales (London: The Smith Institute).
Kneebone, E., & Berube, A. (2013). Confronting suburban poverty in America. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Lucy, W. H., & Phillips, D. L. (2000). Confronting suburban decline: Strategic planning for metropolitan renewal. Washington, DC: Island Press.
It was a great privilege to participate in the Author Meets Critics panel about “Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis,” by Anne B. Shlay and Gillad Rosen, at the Urban Affairs Association meeting in San Diego. I enjoyed very much our discussion and am happy we have a chance to continue the conversation online, through this blog.
I would like to make three points here: one, as someone who has conducted comparative urban research, I would like to remind all of us that it takes real gumption to embark on a new territory – physically and intellectually. It is not easy being an outsider looking in, asking questions, always on the verge of offending someone just by being yourself.
Secondly, the book resonated with me on a very personal level, because one of the very strong messages is about the making of a place through the process of claiming it as your own. As an immigrant, I continue to struggle to find ways to fit in, often uncertain of my own rights to cities and places. After reading the book I now have a better understanding about why different groups make such vocal claims to Jerusalem as a place. The cognition of these claims is helped on theoretical level by Shlay and Rosen’s interrogation of the production of space through Lefebvre’s notion of the Rights to the City.
One prominent example of competing territorial claims in Jerusalem is The Kotel, also known as the “Wailing Wall.” This is the Western Wall (the HaKotel), a retaining wall of the temple built by Herod, located within the Old City. Between 1947-1967 it was a part of Jordan, and then Israel annexed it after the 1967 war. As one of the most significant religious and national symbols, access to The Kotel was secured by demolishing over a hundred Arab homes. “Each spatial expansion has been viewed as an incursion upon Palestinian territory, a form of Israeli imperialism akin to the occupation of the West Bank” argue Rosen and Shlay (2014).
In order to further legitimize the rights to this site, the Israeli government established a Heritage Foundation, registered as a non-profit organization in 1988. It is tasked to excavate tunnels underneath the Kotel, which tunnels are considered by some to be the holiest aspect of the Kotel. At the same time, the Israeli government left control of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif (where Islamic holy places are located, e.g. the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock) in the hands of the Wakf, the Islamic trust responsible for administering the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. This led to a divided sovereignty arrangement, although formally Israel controls the entire area. In practice, the Wakf controls the Temple Mount while the Western Wall and access to the Temple Mount is under rabbinical control. Therefore, this area appears to be a major contested ethno-national political space, claimed by Palestinians, Orthodox Jews, non-Orthodox Jews, as well as by newer organizations like Women of the Wall, seeking equality of access for men and women.
Even in this brief example, we can have a glimpse into the many competing claims – is the Kotel a historical site, operated by the Israeli government, where the national history is continuously remade with the help of archeological discoveries? Is it a religious holy site, with a determination to remain under rabbinical control? Is it a site, where perhaps new progressive claims are going to be made, of equal access to it by various social groups? Is it all of the above and more?
The growth machine framework, as also employed by Shlay and Rosen, gives us some further insight into the intense and powerful production of space in Jerusalem. And this is my third point, because in the final count most claims to places, sacred or not, are driven by a combination of political and economic interests. In the specific case of Jerusalem, the political and economic interests in urban development are interwoven with the building of the Israeli nation-state. Thus, unlike the more local presence of the urban growth coalitions in the U.S., in Israel the national government is actively involved in the redevelopment of urban and supra-urban areas. The interplay of private interests in urban growth is further transformed into ethno-national coalitions. The specificity of spatial politics notwithstanding, Shlay and Rosen also show that many common urban processes envelop everyday residential lives: urban sprawl, housing shortages, infrastructure investments, gentrification, securitization of place, which has taken place along two major pathways: through the building of security wall/barrier, as well as the proliferation of fortified, gated communities (Rosen and Grant, 2011). The book accomplishes a very important goal in revealing the constant interaction between the uniqueness of the historical ethno-national conflicts on the one hand, and the universal urban processes, on the other.
In conclusion, let me briefly recount another example from the book, the Safdie Plan, tying it back to the Rights to the City. As Shlay and Rosen point out, the Safdie plan set an urban agenda of expanding Jerusalem westward, towards lands already part of Israel, by way of new housing construction, commercial and industrial development. Undoubtedly, this decade-long urban strategizing had gone through various stages, with many political actors and groups being involved. But what stood out for me was the fact that over 16,000 objections were filed against the plan. While several environmental groups worked against the project, it also seems that in 2007 the project was cancelled because of the sustained public opposition to it. It is hard to write about Jerusalem without recognizing the increasing violence in the Middle East, related to ISIS, the threats against the Israeli state, and the continuous state of warfare. While the book does not deal with the larger quite grim geo-political context, it does provide, I think, a glimmer of hope, that in such mundane, everyday actions, as in the Safdie plan, successful peaceful coalitions could be formed – coalitions that can, perhaps only on a small scale, cut across ethnic, national and religious boundaries.
Elena Vesselinov is Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College, City University of New York
Rosen, G. and J. Grant. 2011. “Reproducing difference: Gated communities in Canada and Israel.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35(4):778-793.
Rosen, G. and A. Shlay. 2014. “Whose Right to Jerusalem?” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38(3):935-950.
Shlay, A. and G. Rosen. 2015. Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis. Polity Press.
This award is presented to the author(s) of the paper judged to be the best paper presented at the most recent Urban Affairs Association conference. Recipients are given a $1000 honorarium and a complimentary registration to the subsequent conference where the achievement is officially recognized, including the presentation of a plaque that describes the award.
All conference papers submitted for review to the Journal of Urban Affairs are eligible for the award. Papers are subjected to the normal JUA review process, and finalists are determined by composite review comments. The award winner is selected by an ad hoc committee designated by the chair of the Governing Board. The committee reports its decision to the Executive Director and the Chairperson of the Board. The Executive Director informs the award recipient of the outcome.
Papers that are accepted for publication through the review process will appear in a subsequent issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs.
Central and South America, along with the Caribbean Islands, face unique urban challenges. From being “economic miracles” in the 1950s through the so-called “lost decade” in the 1980s, this global region has also been the laboratory for testing radical neoliberal policies since the mid 1970s and is now a focal point of a worldwide economic dispute over market-led globalization and state-led development. Politically, it has faced many challenges, from mainly dictator regimes mid last century to more democratic regimes at the beginning of the twenty-first century, to a current mix of right-wing uprisings as well as left-led regimes. Regional political instability is still an issue, though some progress is observed regarding democratic processes. Severe poverty has been a persistent concern as well as unequal income distribution. Urbanization patterns have exacerbated these problems. As primate, mega cities grow, low-income settlements multiply on the urban fringes, making evident the divided lives that modernization has fostered among urban populations. Severe inequalities in basic infrastructure, access to education and health, gender and sexual orientation ongoing discrimination, and institutional instability are among the most critical barriers hindering urban development.
In response to these challenges, innovative policies have been launched in metropolitan governance, coordinated urban-rural development, regional planning, micro financing and economic development, sustainable and carbon-neutral urbanization, and other proposed solutions to ongoing urban problems. At the same time some inadequate policies have taken place bringing about more inequalities and human rights offenses. The lessons and outcomes of these initiatives are of critical importance to the people and leaders of this region, but equally of interest and concern to the rest of the global policy community. Government officials, policy makers, planners, and NGOs have encountered political, fiscal, social and cultural barriers in the struggle to improve living conditions for the majority within urban areas.
A special issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs will be dedicated to this geographic region. Focusing on urban research and policy analysis, the Journal of Urban Affairs is among the most widely cited journals in the field. Published for the Urban Affairs Association, the journal provides a multidisciplinary perspective on issues of relevance to both scholars and practitioners.
We are calling for papers preferably but not limited to those presented at the last UAA national conferences within the Central and South American Special Track for this special issue.
If you are interested, please send your paper to Cecilia Giusti at email@example.com or to Lucia Capanema-Alvares at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow the author guidelines at the JUA website.