CALL FOR PAPERS: Special Issue on “Cities, Networks, & Urban Policy”

Special Issue of Journal of Urban Affairs on “Cities, Networks, & Urban Policy”

The Journal of Urban Affairs invites article submissions for a special issue on “Cities, Networks, & Urban Policy,” guest edited by Zachary Neal (Michigan State University) and Ben Derudder (Universiteit Gent). References to ‘urban networks’ in scientific books and articles have grown exponentially over the past years. Research on the topic now extends across many social and natural science disciplines and over many scales of analysis from the intra-urban formation of social networks among neighbours, to the regional formation of transportation networks between cities, to the formation of transnational economic networks between global cities. Papers in this special issue will explore the ways that research on cities and networks has, or can, inform urban policy (broadly construed).

We welcome empirical, theoretical, and review papers. Additionally, we welcome papers adopting quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods approaches. However, all papers submitted for this special issue should (a) foreground the role of networks (broadly construed) in cities and (b) should conclude with or discuss implications for urban policy (also broadly construed).

Interested authors should submit their manuscript first to the guest editors by email (zpneal@msu.edu & ben.derudder@ugent.be). Following an initial review to confirm the manuscript meets the aims of the special issue, instructions for formal submission to the journal will be provided. Initial submissions must be received by 15 March 2018.

Questions about the journal, special issue, or suitability of a particular manuscript or idea can be directed to Zachary Neal at zpneal@msu.edu.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: ANIMALS IN THE CITY

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: ANIMALS IN THE CITY
Symposium, Journal of Urban Affairs
Laura A. Reese, Editor
Global Urban Studies Program
Michigan State University

Public policies and other issues related to animals in the city have not been well explored; yet, issues of animal welfare have long been tied to municipal politics.  Historically, regulations designed to protect the urban populace and property from animals have existed as long as humans and animals have lived in close proximity in cities and, in the US, have been determined to be legitimate exercises of police powers on the parts of state and local governments.  Surveys have indicated that mayors ranked animal-related issues as the most common complaint to their offices.  The issue of companion animals in the city illustrates the complexity of conflicting public effort to cope with pets as objects of affection, economic value, respect, or abuse.  However, contemporary cities also include non-companion animals such live-stock and chickens as part of urban farming, wild animals whose shrinking habitats have caused them to part of the urban environment, stray and feral animals as the result of economic distress, and hybrids such as “coydogs” resulting from interactions between companion animals and wild animals.

This symposium will include papers that focus on the environmental, health, safety, ethical, and cultural implications of animals in the city and the human-animals interactions that result.  Global comparisons would be particularly welcome.  While certainly not exhaustive some potential topics are listed below:

  • What are the sources of stray and feral dogs and cats in urban areas? How can those sources be managed (etiology-human behavior change, economic conditions) through policy instead of managing the symptoms?
  • What are the health and regulatory implications of urban animal husbandry in dense urban areas?
  • How do urban animal issues intersect with cultural and sociological views and practices? Does such interaction help or hinder the development and implementation of animal welfare policy?
  • What are the potential health implications of the connections between urban environmental degradation (standing polluted water, lead paint and asbestos in buildings) and the health of animals and humans in cities?
  • What are the relationships between the human/animal bond, human and animal abuse, and other forms of criminality such as dog fighting? Is stray dog aggression a sentinel of a violent human community? How are different forms of animal cruelty in urban areas connected to other interpersonal problems?
  • What do model urban animal welfare ordinances look like and where have they been applied?
  • What types of models are there for cooperative service production related to animal welfare and animal control between NGOs and the public sector? How can awareness and engagement of community and stakeholders be raised?
  • What are the interactions between roaming companion animals and other urban wildlife?

Authors are encouraged to submit article proposals to Laura A. Reese (reesela@msu.edu.) by December 1, 2017.  These will be reviewed and specific papers selected by December 31, 2017.  The final articles will be due by June 30, 2018.  Please send proposals along with contact information and a curriculum vita via email to:

Laura A. Reese, Director, Global Urban Studies Program, Michigan State University, reesela@msu.edu.

Special Issue: Urban Transformations and Spectacles in Brazil

Guest editor: Xuefei Ren

This special issue presents a set of articles that critically examine the changing urban governance, politics, and rights to the city in Brazil in the wake of two mega-events: the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. To date, much of the critical geography scholarship on mega-events has been framed in the narrative of accumulation by dispossession, by focusing on the negative consequences of mega-events such as displacement and gentrification. The articles in this special issue build on but also move beyond the dispossession literature, by situating Brazil’s experience with urban structuring in complex layers of historical and institutional contexts. Based on fresh fieldwork and the latest data, the articles collectively examine emerging trends in urban governance in Brazil, through examples such as the launching of major infrastructure projects, evolution of favela housing policies, mobilization led by housing rights activists against removal, the June 2013 protests, and the “rights to the city” movement across major urban centers in the country. One comparative article contrasts Rio 2016 with the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and highlights how global city ambitions have played out differently in China and Brazil, two emerging economies that operate under different political regimes.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Aspirational urbanism from Beijing to Rio de Janeiro: Olympic cities in the Global South and contradictions, by Xuefei Ren

2. Neoliberalization and mega-events: The transition of Rio de Janeiro’’s hybrid urban order, by Luiz Cesar de Queiroz Ribeiro & Orlando Alves dos Santos Junior

3. Rio de Janeiro’’s Olympic dispossessions, by Daniel Bin

4. Evictions and housing policy evolution in Rio de Janeiro: An ANT perspective, by Hector Becerril

5. Undoing the right to the city: World Cup investments and informal settlements in Fortaleza, Brazil, by Clarissa F. Sampaio Freitas

6. Removal, resistance and the right to the olympic city: The case of Vila Autodromo in Rio de Janeiro, by Sukari Ivester

7. Community resistance and the inclusive city: Devising strategies in São Paulo, by Maureen M. Donaghy

8. The politics of contested urban space: The 2013 protest movement in Brazil, by Thomas J. Vicino & Anjuli Fahlberg

Xuefei Ren is an Associate Professor of Global Urban Studies & Sociology at Michigan State University and a Managing Editor of the Journal of Urban Affairs

Does spatial assimilation lead to reproduction of gentrification in the global city?

By Richard J. Smith

My thinking about gentrification formed as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan at church. After a weekend service trip on Detroit’s west side with Habitat for Humanity, I casually mentioned to our associate pastor how great it was to see all the new investment in downtown Detroit. He responded, “But it’s displacing the poor.” This message stuck with me when I became a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

My personal experience living in gentrifying cities paralleled my professional career. When I worked for HUD in the Office of Community Renewal, we administered the Federal Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community program as well as the Renewal Community program. We often wondered if the program, which was designed to direct both public and private resources to high poverty neighborhoods, would really benefit the residents by bringing jobs, or just bring gentrification and force people to move. Many of our grantees, desperate for tax revenues, wanted gentrification and this challenged HUD’s simultaneous mission to both develop cities and provide fair housing protections.

One of my responsibilities in the office was to work with scholars doing research on EZs. I met Marc Wallace just as he was finishing. I helped Kil Huh, now of Pew Charitable Trusts, print out all the strategic plans. I sent Patrick Kline, now an economist at Berkeley, copies of the winning and losing EZ/EC census tracts so he could do a natural experiment. Watching these scholars, I decided to do my own dissertation work and decided to focus on immigrant and minority entrepreneurship. Having published two articles about EZs, I learned that reviewers don’t want to review articles about these programs. When Jeffrey Zak attended one presentation I gave at APPAM, he told me it was a waste time for anyone to study them because incentives would be too small to have an impact, or too large that they just got capitalized in land rents (i.e., gentrified the neighborhood).

It is only fitting that I co-wrote this paper in Detroit, after spending 15 years outside of Michigan. When I came to Wayne State University, I bought the 10th of 76 condo units in a former Jeep showroom using down payment assistance from the state. This condo development was a risky move–it would be several years to get the 15th unit sold. Fallout from the 2008 recession froze many of in the development pipeline, so gentrification looked like an impossible fantasy. Since Federal regulations required random assignment of appraisals, and the only comparable properties were foreclosure sales, banks in Detroit could not lend at the price the developer asked. Further, the Fire Department set a “let it burn” policy for abandoned buildings and each mayor pledged to accelerate demolitions. We are now demolishing over 3500 abandoned buildings a year, a rate that surpasses that of most states.

The Cass Corridor was not the first gentrifying neighborhood I lived in. I thought I was saving the city by contributing to the tax base. But I am also saving someone else money by paying a mortgage by contributing to shareholder value. In Washington, DC, I lived a few blocks from Derek Hyra where he wrote his book about the Shaw Neighborhood. I saw Rev. Fauntroy speak about how he piloted the model cities program in our neighborhood 30 years prior by strategically placing affordable housing, a new library, and other amenities. The last time I visited the neighborhood, I saw my rent controlled house undergoing renovation—presumably being converted to market rate. In Oakland California, I lived behind Novella Carpenter, author of Ghost Town Farms, a book about how she navigated a chop shop, Buddhist temple and local bureaucracy to grow vegetables on a brownfield site. I woke up to the sound of her goats. Her house was Pepto Bismol pink and she would sometimes feed her chickens in the backyard. In one year, I saw each of the four crack houses on the block get shut down as the Friday night art crawls only grew bigger. Artists’ lofts across the street and the Black Muslim Barber Shop down the street held the block together. I can share these anecdotes in a blog.  For two decades now, I’ve lived in places where you can see capital investment advance one block at a time. When I return to these places, I look for vestiges of continuity of place like flyers of resistance. Sometimes those have moved on to the next neighborhood as well.

One puzzle I noticed when putting together descriptive statistics from my dissertation was that the immigrant population increased dramatically from 1990 to 2010 in the EZ/ECs and RCs. The population decline would have been much greater had it not been for immigration. I wondered what local governments were doing to encourage immigration to cities generally, not just in EZ/ECs and RCs. As a follow-up for my dissertation research, I wanted to see if urban neighborhoods were increasing or decreasing immigrant populations. I was able to obtain some internal funding to purchase the new Geolytics Time Series Research Database and a graduate student assistant.

I hired Catherine Schmitt-Sands, a computer scientist turned political scientist, and we spent a year and a half data mining 13,000 local government websites to categorize local government initiatives. She also did the analysis and wrote up the first draft of this paper. At that time, I met Theodore Pride, a sociologist, when he was doing some work on the United Way’s Neighborhood Network program evaluation. He asked me to serve on his dissertation committee because he was interested in gentrification in a working-class neighborhood on the west side of Detroit. He had grown up in a public housing development nearby and he returned from studying out of state, he did not recognize the neighborhood that he had grown up in. I hired him as a part-time research assistant to work on this project. This experienced showed me the benefits of putting together an interdisciplinary team whose personal histories lead them to approach the research in different ways.

Ted wasted no time being provocative. He argued that any kind of immigrant welcoming initiative would be a form of gentrification. He suggested that gentrification was a by-product of spatial assimilation (i.e., people of color moving into privileged white neighborhoods in suburbs) He argued that Whites would be more comfortable moving to inner city neighborhoods if they lived in suburban that were experiencing spatial assimilation. It turns out that the two processes are correlated at the level of the metropolitan area, but Ted was wrong about the Whites—in 2010 on average they are still leaving gentrifying neighborhoods.

Our big take away was that the number of gentrifying neighborhoods has doubled since 1980, and it appears to be accelerating. Spatial assimilation, on the other hand, has plateaued. Upon reflection, the mechanism is very complex, and reviewers were quick to point this out. By using a color-blind definition of gentrification, we might actually be seeing capital flows in other ways—incumbent upgrading, funds transfers to residents to fix up homes, or empty nesters returning to the neighborhood they grew up in. In Ted’s dissertation research, he found that in one low-income neighborhood, property values doubled in one year after an aggressive marketing campaign by the local community organization. We both agree that gentrification research could look very different in 2020, if we still have Census data to analyze.

These are the sorts of personal reflections I can say in a blog, but don’t come from our data per say. Ted challenged me to think critically as I look outside my window and see the new kind of development partially block my skyline view of my luxury apartment I learned how fast the phases of gentrification can flow when excess capital has too little desirable places to chase after. Detroit and is currently planning a fourth publicly financed stadium for soccer. The financing for Little Caesars Arena, new home to the Red Wings and Pistons, came in the form of a loan taken from the local school budget during emergency management. Michigan places localities and school districts under emergency management if they do not have a balanced budget. The law authorizes EMs to sell anything, break any contract except repayment of bonds. After some regulatory changes and the world’s largest municipal bankruptcy, Wall Street was more or less forced by the courts to dump capital into the city. Bondholders were given land in exchange for a “haircut” with the condition that they develop the land, rather than hold it. One development is a new basketball and hockey arena gentrifying the neighborhood between Wayne State and downtown Detroit. This development triggered an intense community benefits movement in the city. As part of negotiation with local residents, Chris Illich agreed to restore the Historic Park hotel, hire city residents, care for local Cass Park, set aside retail space for local businesses, and create an internship program with the public schools. When making these commitments publicly, he said that he did so because he knew that his company was the custodian of a sacred legacy and that the Tigers and Red Wings belonged to all of us. Consequently, the City of Detroit became the first city to codify a community benefits process in an ordinance, a process that is still contested.

I would like to thank the UAA Awards Committee and chair Kirk McClure for their hard work. I would also like to thank George Galster for not submitting a paper for the conference award that year as well as serving as a faculty mentor. I went to San Diego with Ted to accept the award. Catherine couldn’t make it, but she is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Mike Illich School of Business, soon to open at the Little Caesars Arena with a new sports management concentration.

Our study does not test any hypotheses about the impact of gentrification on residents. For that you’ll have to see some of my other work co-authored with Amanda Lehning and Kyeongmo Kim. We look at age old question: Does gentrification make us sick, or are we just sick of gentrification?

Richard J. Smith, MFA, MSW, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Wayne State University
smithrichardj@wayne.edu

The article “Does spatial assimilation lead to reproduction of gentrification in the global city?” by Richard J. Smith, Theodore Thomas Pride & Catherine E. Schmitt-Sands, was published in Volume 39, Issue 6 of the Journal of Urban Affairs. It is currently available to read for free without a subscription. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review Preview: The New Brooklyn

By Tony Filipovitch

Kay S. Hymowitz, The New Brooklyn: What It Takes to Bring Back a City (Lanham, MD:  Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). 

Kay Hymowitz offers a nuanced defense of gentrification as a process of creative destruction, one that results in winners and losers (although sometimes in unanticipated ways).  As she says in her conclusion, “…expensive, gentrifying cities like Brooklyn are far better off than their cheap-rent counterparts” (p. 156).  In the introduction, she sets out to explore how a “left-for-dead city” became “just about the coolest place on earth and the paragon of the postindustrial creative city” (p. 3).  She chooses Brooklyn to study this process because it is a “… microcosm [of] the economic, demographic, and social forces behind the perplexing creative destruction of the more successful urban centers in today’s advanced economies” (p. 10).  Along the way, she lays out her case in colorful, breezy prose told as a tale of seven neighborhoods.

Kay Hymowitz is a contributing editor at City Journal, the house organ for the Manhattan Institute.  She was trained in English literature rather than social science, and this book is better taken as journalism or an opinion piece rather than scholarly research (although she does relate a lively story).  Her idiosyncratic selection of neighborhoods should be seen as illustrative, but not demonstrative.  And, while the work is heavily footnoted, the notes are often to journalistic and other online sources.  Finally, her conclusions are only loosely supported by the data she presents.  That said, I really enjoyed this book.  She tells a good story, one that cannot be ignored, even if I don’t particularly agree with the conclusions she draws from her story.  She has given me a lot to think about, and offered some interesting hypotheses to pursue more rigorously.

Tony Filipovitch, Minnesota State University Mankato
Anthony.Filipovitch@mnsu.edu

Reflections on Neighborhoods and Collective Efficacy

By Charlie Collins

Transforming social cohesion into informal social control: Deconstructing collective efficacy and the moderating role of neighborhood racial homogeneity, by Charles R. Collins, Zachary P. Neal, and Jennifer Watling Neal, was published in Volume 39, Issue 3 of the Journal of Urban Affairs and is currently available for free access for a limited time.

As I reflect on this paper, which examines the neighborhood role in collective efficacy factors, I can’t help but place myself in the various neighborhoods I’ve lived in throughout my life and think about those neighborhood dynamics that influenced me. The neighborhood as a space brings with it social, cultural, and economic influences that can have huge effects on the residents within them. The schools, institutions, organizations, and even demographic make-up of a neighborhood can have profound effects on individual and collective outcomes. Quality social, economic, and cultural institutions may positively impact residents; poor institutions may have negative impacts.

In the neighborhood that possibly made the largest effect on my adolescent development – the Lanksershim neighborhood of San Bernardino, California, located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles – I remember a rich tapestry of cultures, faiths, and ethnicities. My closest friends were first generation Cambodian, Mexican, Laotian, and Guatemalan. We ran around the neighborhood as a cohesive group along with my African-American and White friends. Convenience stores, restaurants, and laundromats, owned and operated by Samoans and Pilipino families lined our streets. The current demographics still reflect my lived experience.

This diversity also brought with it tribal conflict. In the 1990’s, off-shoots of L.A.’s Bloods and Crips engaged in battle. More recently, it’s been the Norteños and Sereños. Beyond gang wars, racial tensions always seemed palpable – even for my diverse and cohesive group of friends. A store owner accosting a customer, an angry stare between adolescents, or a school-yard fight was a common occurrence between people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.

The richness of this cultural melting pot was often undercut by the desperate poverty we experienced. The Norton Air Force Base, an economic powerhouse for San Bernardino, was about 6 blocks from my home. When it shutdown,  homes became ignored and dilapidated, broken cars sat on cinder blocks in yards, and stray cats moved about unmolested. Our schools were financially broke. Liquor stores out-numbered grocery stores. A lack of educational after-school programs left adolescents up to their own devices. To add insult to injury, the 10’ fence encompassing my high school created the ominous feeling of a prison yard.

It is through the lens of my personal lived experiences in neighborhoods such as Lankership that I conduct my research and contribute to my science. I strive to see communities that are both diverse and cohesive. Unfortunately, the scientific literature on this question is not in my favor. Thus far, much of the urban science shows that racial diversity often undercuts neighborhood outcomes, such as social capital and collective efficacy. Even this paper, which seeks to understand how racial/ethnic homogeneity influences the relationship between two collective efficacy factors – social cohesion and informal social control, does not give evidence on my behalf. These factors are important because they provide residents the collective capacity to address neighborhood needs, such as crime, for example.

In this paper, my co-authors and I found three important results that may inform neighborhood structure and processes, particularly regarding neighborhood racial make-up. First, we found that within more racially homogeneous neighborhoods, residents tend to report higher levels of informal social control. Meaning, in these neighborhoods, residents are more likely to indicate that their neighbors will intervene on behalf of the neighborhood, such as breaking up a fight between two adolescents, for example. Second, we found that when residents report greater levels of social cohesion they also report elevated levels of informal social control regardless of neighborhood diversity. In other words, when residents perceive their neighbors as willing to help each other,  they also report greater informal social control. Third we found that within racially homogeneous (i.e. less diverse) neighborhoods, the relationship between social cohesion and informal social control was reduced. Meaning, that racially homogeneous neighborhoods tend to have a stronger relationship between social cohesion and informal social control. In these neighborhoods, residents tend to enact greater informal social control mechanisms if they have strong social bonds (i.e. social cohesion) with their neighbors.

Given the rich diversity that I experienced as an adolescent growing up in San Bernardino, these results have important implications. Our results indicate that although racial diversity may have a negative effect on the relationship between social cohesion and informal social control, the power between social cohesion and informal social control is undeniable. I’d argue that for growing and maintaining the extent to which residents feel a push toward contributing to the social order of the neighborhood, building social bonds are important – those similar bonds that I experienced, regardless of race or country or origin.

As an academic, I’ve now taken these very personal and real stories and abstracted them into numbers, data, and statistics, which have no direct impact or meaning for those families still struggling to make ends meet in San Bernardino. I am physically far removed from that time and space now, but I am cognitively tied to it for eternity. It will always impact my research and the way I go about asking scientific questions. My only hope is that one day my body of research will be pooled with those doing similar work so that collectively, I can have a real and immediate impact on places like San Bernardino.

Charlie Collins is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at University of Washington at Bothell.

Book Review Preview: The New Urban Crisis

By Jason Plummer

Florida, Richard, The New Urban Crisis: How our cities are increasing inequality, deepening segregation, and failing the middle class – and what we can do about it. (New York:  Basic Books, 2017)

Florida’s stated purpose for writing The New Urban Crisis to (1) define the new urban crisis, (2) identify the forces that led to this crisis, and (3) outline a pathway to achieve an inclusive urbanism.  He uses the first few pages of the preface to describe his childhood neighborhood, a mix of blue collar and middle class residents.  Ultimately, implementing the strategies outlined in his new book should recreate this type of mixed-income neighborhood, a “walkable, pedestrian-friendly streets, bike lanes, parks, exciting art and music scenes, and vibrant areas where people could gather in cafés, and restaurants” (p. xv).

The first three chapters expand on his first stated purpose.  In these chapters, Florida outlines how cultivating a nightlife, attracting start-ups, and tech firms without thinking about inclusion leads to inequality.  The next four chapters identify the forces that led to the new urban crisis and offer a fact-based discussion of gentrification.  In final chapter, Urbanism for All, Florida outlines a pathway to achieve an inclusive urbanism:  land value tax, tax increment local transfers, investments in mass transit, redirect the home mortgage tax credit from affluent homeowners to low income renters, index the minimum wage to a percentage of the prevailing median wage of the metropolitan area, invest in public education, and in terms of global affairs, transition foreign aid to place-based initiatives.

For those who embraced cultivating the creative class as an economic development strategy, The New Urban Crisis will provide guidance building a more inclusive city.  For those who rejected the creative class approach as fueling gentrification and racial stratification, since he does not provide details on how to implement his policies, it is hard to assess whether this revised approach is taming the negative externalities of development or a radical rethink of community development.

The full book review will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Jason A. Plummer
California State University, Los Angeles