Book Review Preview: Planetary Gentrification

By Dennis E. Gale

Loretta Lees, Hyun Bang Shin and Ernesto Lopez-Morales. Planetary Gentrification. (Cambridge, England and Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press, 2016)

This book argues that gentrification is not limited to advanced nations in the English-speaking world or in Western Europe. It appears in parts of South America, Africa and South Asia, taking on many variations from place to place. Informative  case studies, ranging from Santiago and Rio de Janeiro to Hong Kong and Shanghai to Cape Town and Soweto, are presented. Gentrification, a term coined by Ruth Glass in the 1960s, referred to the renovation of older urban housing by artists and middle-income newcomers in London. Unlike government clearance-and rebuilding projects, gentrification was largely a private market phenomenon. As this process spread, commercial interests and state actors interceded and fanned the flames of reinvestment. Gradually, poor and working class households (often minorities) were supplanted by middle- and upper-income households.

Early studies of gentrification in the more economically advanced countries generally observed Glass’s original definition. By the 1990s however, the G-word was being misapplied by some scholars to almost any form of urban reinvestment. Planetary Gentrification too, takes the concept well beyond its “Glassian” origins. As their study progresses however, the authors grow more doubtful about their use of the G-word. Not surprisingly then, the book concludes referring to “planetary urbanization,” a phenomenon encompassing not only building renovation and reuse but demolition and rebuilding, too.

The book shines in its discussion of several examples of urban development across the globe. The authors deftly disentangle the roots of commercial and state intervention and the erasure of favelas, barrios, or clandestinos. These communities were replaced by mega-projects largely targeted at middle- and upper-income home-seekers or investors. Where subsidized housing for original residents was included, demand far outstripped supply and prices and rents frequently exceeded the means of original residents. Some of the worst aspects of the slums — predatory gangs, drugs, and life-threatening health conditions — were vanquished but the poor were often disenfranchised. Consequently, social justice goals were subservient to the interests of affluent people.

The full version of this book review will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Dennis E. Gale
Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
Lecturer, Stanford University
Dennis.Gale@fulbrightmail.org

Book Review Preview: The Mutual Housing Experiment

By Rachel G. Bratt

Kristin M. Szylvian, The Mutual Housing Experiment (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2015).

In the early and mid-1940s about 167,700 units of housing for civilian defense workers were constructed. At the end of World War II, some 50 of these developments were sold to the residents under a cooperative ownership scheme known as the Mutual Home Ownership Plan.  Although the creators of the model had hoped that the mutual housing idea would be widely embraced, the post-war housing agenda instead focused on expanding traditional homeownership opportunities.

Following the notion of “community modernism,” the goal of the mutual housing plan was to create relatively small, private clustered dwellings, within the context of more generous public facilities and spaces, while providing residents with considerable control over their living environment. The model was presented as a hybrid between homeownership and renting.

Advocates of the mutual housing idea repeatedly found that trying to create an innovative housing product was an easy target for the private real estate and banking industries, with complaints about how it would threaten their business interests and result in declining real estate values.

The book is at its best when it reveals nuggets of information that have been lost over the decades and that have contemporary relevance. Also of particular interest is Chapter 7, which includes discussions about various legislative initiatives that would have provided direct federal financing for cooperative housing. However, for most readers, the level of detail here and throughout the book is likely more than what is desired.

The major drawback of the book is that it does not place the mutual housing story in the context of the larger movement of the second half of the 20th century to support the range of housing types built by nonprofit organizations, as well as the broader issue of non-market housing.

We will never know whether the premise of the book – that a broad-based federal lending program for cooperative housing in the 1940s and 1950s—could have significantly altered the present-day housing landscape.  Would such an initiative have stimulated a much greater federal role supporting non-speculative cooperative and other types of nonprofit-owned housing?

The full version of this book review will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Rachel G. Bratt is Professor Emerita in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University and a Senior Research Fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Job Opening: Associate Professor – Urban Futures Research – School of Planning, University of Cincinnati

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR – Tenured Faculty
Urban Futures Research Cluster Initiative
Focusing on Quality of Life in Disadvantaged Urban Communities
School of Planning
College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning
UNIVERSITY of CINCINNATI

The School of Planning in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati is actively seeking candidates to fill an interdisciplinary faculty position focused on research, teaching and service to improve the quality of life for residents of disadvantaged urban communities

The School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati has recently posted a search for an Associate Professor Focusing on Quality of Life in Disadvantaged Urban Communities. We are actively seeking candidates to fill a tenured faculty position focused on topics such as race or racism, social (in)justice, educational inequality or access, health disparities, housing, poverty, urban policing, or other topics relevant to American cities and urban living.   Please see the link to the job announcement for detailed information about the position: https://jobs.uc.edu/job/Cincinnati-Associate-Professor-School-of-Planning -OH-45201/361750100/.

This new position is part of a $4 million University investment to fund five faculty members in different units (Urban Planning; Education; Criminal Justice; Sociology; and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies) who will work together to comprise an Urban Futures Research Cluster. Each of the new faculty members will be provided graduate and undergraduate research assistant in addition to start-up funds and relocation benefits.

If you have colleagues or former students, or if you have in mind faculty in other universities who you feel would be a good fit for the position and may be interested in applying, please forward this announcement to them.

Application Process:  Complete an Applicant Profile and upload your CV/Resume.  Then under Requisition # 13690, upload your Cover Letter of Interest and the names and contact information for three academic references in the ‘Additional Documents’ section.

Danilo Pallazo and Chris Auffrey will be at the ACSP Conference in Portland next week, and will be available to discuss the position if you are interested.

Call for Papers: JUA Special Issue on Promoting Social Justice and Equity in Shrinking Cities

Special Issue: Promoting Social Justice and Equity in Shrinking Cities

Guest Editor: Robert Mark Silverman

Submission Deadlines:

Abstracts – December 19, 2016

Full Manuscripts – May 15, 2017

There is an expanding body of scholarship focusing on shrinking cities. The phenomenon is global, with notable examples in Europe, North America, Asia, and other parts of the world. Past research has examined shrinking cities in reference to spatial patterns, demographic shifts, deindustrialization, governance, and urban policy. There is also growing literature focused on the theoretical underpinnings of shrinking cities which questions the salience of existing urban growth paradigms. A common, but underdeveloped, thread in the literature on shrinking cities involves the challenges of promoting social justice and equity. Paradoxically, there is a tendency for society’s most vulnerable groups to be concentrated in shrinking cities, while many policies adopted to promote revitalization in these places fail to address the pressing needs of the poor, aging, and dispossessed. Instead, efforts to revitalize shrinking cities mirror societal trends toward increased social and class polarization that have come to characterize urbanization in the neoliberal era.

The goal of this special issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs (JUA), is to reframe the discussion of shrinking cities, placing an emphasis on the analysis of policies to promote social justice and equity. The special issue will include a mix of manuscripts that appeal to the JUA’s growing global readership. Submissions that critically examine urban policy and governance in shrinking cities with a particular focus on approaches to urban revitalization that embrace redistributive justice are sought. Within this framework, empirical and theoretical papers are welcome that focus on challenges shrinking cities face related to:

  • affordable housing
  • education
  • social welfare policy
  • public safety and policing
  • environment and public health
  • neighborhood revitalization
  • community organizing and empowerment
  • race and ethnic relations

To be considered for publication in this special issue, abstracts (150 words) should be submitted to juashrinkingcities@gmail.com by December 19, 2016. Include a proposed title and contact information for the corresponding author with the abstract. Manuscripts invited for submission are due by May 15, 2017. All manuscripts invited for submission will go through the regular journal review process. Please follow the JUA Author Guidelines: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-9906/homepage/ForAuthors.html.

Call for Participation: Urban Network Research

THE FUTURE OF URBAN NETWORK RESEARCH, September 18 – 20, 2017 at Ghent University (Belgium)

References to ‘urban networks’ in academic books and articles have grown dramatically since the 1950s, and research on the topic of urban networks now extends across many social and natural science disciplines (e.g. geography, sociology, engineering, physics) and over many scales of analysis from the local formation of social networks among neighbours in cities, to the regional formation of inter-city transportation networks, to the global formation of transnational urban-economic networks. This rapid growth in the size, scope, and scale of urban network research has left the area invigorated, but without a clear agenda for future work.

The goal of the 3-day symposium on “The Future of Urban Network Research,” to be hosted at Ghent University (Belgium) on September 18-20, 2017, is to take stock of the current state of research on urban networks, share new methods and data, develop an agenda for moving urban network research forward, and facilitate the formation of collaborative teams to do so. We are now accepting applications to participate from all scholars whose work is urban-focused and includes a network component, as well as those whose work is network science-focused and examines cities or urban contexts. Scholars from all disciplines are welcome to apply. We especially encourage applications from early-career scholars, scholars from under-represented groups, and scholars from developing countries. We envisage honouring about 30-35 applications, and will pursue a mix of attendants in terms of focus, approaches, background, and career stage.

Rather than the more traditional approach to symposia where attendants mainly present their research, we will seek innovative ways to exchange, learn and cooperate. In particular, the format of the symposium will facilitate frame-switching between urban scholars using network analysis and network scientists focusing on cities. Different important research foci will be supported by the presence of international experts in the field, including Aura Reggiani (Bologna), Marc Barthélémy (CEA – Paris), Jurgen Pfeffer (Munich) and David O’Sullivan (UC-Berkeley). With support from the Urban Studies Foundation, Ghent University, and Michigan State University, we are able to offer 4 nights of accommodation and meals during the symposium. In addition, a limited number of travel awards will be available for early-career participants. Participation in the symposium will not only provide opportunities to interact with leading urban network scholars, learn about new analysis methods, and shape the next stage of research on urban networks, but we also expect the symposium to lead to opportunities to publish in one or more books or journal special issues.

Interested scholars should send a single file containing a current CV and a 2-page statement of urban network research interests to zpneal@msu.edu and ben.derudder@ugent.be. Applications to participate are due no later than December 8, 2016 and invitations to participate will be announced by January 15, 2017, after which more details about format and participation will be provided. Early-career scholars (PhD researchers or post-docs with

Sincerely,

Ben Derudder, Ghent University

Zachary Neal, Michigan State University

Renaud Lambiotte, University of Namur

JUA Virtual Issue Available: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Race in the City

Immigration, ethnicity, and race continue to leave a major imprint on the culture, politics, and economy of cities and their suburbs. Rapid sociodemographic change—which especially impacts urban regions—has once again thrust immigration, ethnicity, and race to the forefront of policy and politics throughout North America and Europe. The articles in this virtual issue explore cutting-edge research on the resiliency of immigrants and ethnic and racial groups, who despite their considerable challenges and struggles, continue to shape and reshape urban and suburban landscapes within cities across the West.

The following, previously published JUA articles are included in this virtual issue and can be accessed without a subscription for a limited time.

Intercultural Gardens: The Use of Space by Migrants and the Practice of Respect
Claire Moulin-Doos

The Impact of Ethnic Concentration on Prejudice: The Role of Cultural and Socioeconomic Differences Among Ethnic Neighborhood Residents
Esther Havekes, Marcel Coenders, Karien Dekker, Tanja Van Der Lippe

Geographies of Whiteness and Wealth: White, Middle Class Discourses on Segregation and Social Mix in Flanders, Belgium
Nick Schuermans, Bruno Meeus, Pascal De Decker

Metropolitan Secession and the Space of Color-Blind Racism in Atlanta
Michan Andrew Connor

The Economic Integration of Immigrants and Regional Resilience
T. William Lester, Mai Thi Nguyen

Ethnicity in an Immigrant Gateway City: The Asian Condition in Houston
Anthony Knapp and Igor Vojnovic

Ethnic segregation and xenophobic party preference: Exploring the influence of the presence of visible minorities on local electoral support for the Sweden Democrats
Per Strömblad and Bo Malmberg

Call for Papers: JUA Special Issue on Refugees and the City

By 2030 more than 60% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas. The urbanized world of the future promises to be more diverse but also more unequal both in terms of population distribution as well as the distribution of resources and opportunities.  In addition to the rural-to-urban migration that is shaping the spatial distribution of cities, political upheavals, armed conflicts and climate change are adding a new stream of migrants to cities as they try to escape the danger and deprivations of home communities. Some cities welcome newcomers and see them as potential resources for future development. Others see them as a threat and try to limit their access to city services and opportunities.

A special issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs will deal with challenges and opportunities created by the “refugee crisis.” We are calling for papers that address city government responses to refugee presence as well as the responses by other actors such as, business, civic, ethnic, and religious leaders and organizations, including social service agencies, neighborhood groups and ordinary citizens. Also, we are looking for papers that address issues about how the arrival of refugees affects the education, economy, and culture and consumption of cities. If you are interested in submitting to this special issue, please contact Gordana Rabrenovic at g.rabrenovic@northeastern.edu or Nihad Bunar at nihad.bunar@buv.su.se.

Deadline March 31, 2017