Submit Your Paper for the 2016 UAA Best Conference Paper Award!

Deadline: July 15, 2016
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.
To be considered for the Best Conference Paper Award, submit your paper to:
For general guidance on preparing your manuscript for submission to the Journal please refer to:
Make sure to identify your paper as a conference paper and include the dates and location of the conference.



Call for Papers: JUA Special Issue on Central and South America

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 or to Lucia Capanema-Alvares at Please follow the author guidelines at the JUA website.

Review of papers will begin on August 31, 2016.

More Thoughts on Jerusalem

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts on the book Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis. Previous posts were written by Anne Shlay, Zachary Neal, and Deirdre Oakley.

By Rachel Garshick Kleit

Anne asked us to think about how the book helps us to think about the problem of Jerusalem’s future–does it help? I think so. I know it has provoked an emotional response that has moved me to think differently about Jerusalem.  This book has caused me to laugh, to cringe, to feel shame. It has made me take a step back to look at Jerusalem from an academic perspective, from a simultaneously inside and outside view. By inside I mean the dual perspective of Israelis and Palestinian Jerusalemites on the inside and the outside perspective of American and international policy towards Israel. It surfaces issues of social exclusion, of nationlessness, of economic and social segregation that I find difficult to confront.

While well written and evocative, I found this book hard to read. It was hard because it caused me to remember my own path to understanding Israel and Jerusalem, and my own identity as a Jew. For me, being Jewish is being a Zionist.  I was brought up to be a Zionist. I went to Hebrew school where we learned about Israel. I remember when the Western Wall was called the Wailing Wall, pre-1967. I remember my surprise when people I knew started to call it the Western Wall. I did not hear the term Kotel until I was an adult.

The first time I went to Israel and Jerusalem was in 1992. I was 27. I went on a mission where we went to Ma’ale Adumim–one of the strategic settlements that Anne and Gil talk about as part of a triangle of defensive neighborhoods around Jerusalem–to ulpanim where immigrants get a crash course in Hebrew, to refugee absorption centers, and I was elated.  It was the first time I had been to a country where I immediately felt like I was on the inside.  Rather than my Jewishness having me masquerade as a white person, I was welcomed.  I completely embraced the idea that Jews had a 3000-year claim on the land, that the Arabs had done little to the land, and that “we” were better stewards–this is one of the narratives that Anne and Gil relate and contrast to that of the Palenstinian Nakba–the tragedy.

Over the years, I have become a lot more nuanced about this story, and have come to understand this story as a classic colonization myth (eg:  Australia: the land was empty and the British colonized it; U.S.: manifest destiny means that North America was available by right).  So, as I read this book I re-experienced the progression of my own learning about Jerusalem and Israel.

I’ve also never thought about Jerusalem in the way that Anne and Gilad do.  For me, what is fascinating about this book is that it focuses on Jerusalem as one might try to focus on any other metropolitan area’s social and political identity and place.  The exposition of the Jerusalem from three theoretical perspectives:  from the perspective of political hegemony and cultural domination, from the perspective of Le Fevre’s right to the city, and from the perspective of Molotch’s growth machine brings home the more troubling aspects of Israel’s nationalist attempts to create a unified Jerusalem where Jews dominate.

At the same time, I felt as I read this that in order to focus on the production of space, the book sometimes feels like Jerusalem had been plucked out of history. To talk about cultural hegemony of Israel, of planners’ power overwhelming Palestinian rights to the city, without the historical context of consistent threats to Jews over the centuries felt incomplete.

The book walks a careful line as it tries to contain the story of Jerusalem within the bounds of metropolitan Jerusalem.  Anne and Gil made choices about separating the geosocial story of Jerusalem from the general Arab-Israeli conflict.  They try not to blame, but rather to present perspectives and actions.

My emotional response is to want to continue a larger tit-for-tat about the logic of why Israel acts to create “facts on the ground” and new neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that much of the rest of the world and international Law see as illegal. This means that when they recount the 6 day war (1967) or the Yom Kippur War (1973) or the first or second intifada, I want to add the 1972 Munich Olympics to the record (where Black September kidnapped 9 Israeli Athletes, all of whom with the kidnappers died by the end), 1976’s hijacking of the Air France airplane at Entebbe, I want to add the tragedy of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer who was murdered and thrown overboard the cruise ship of the Achille Lauro in 1985.

I have a historical filter that shapes my reactions.  And, my reaction reflects the continuing tit-for-tat record keeping that goes on for both Jews/Israelis and Palestinians.

As I was writing this, I learned that the leader of the raid that freed the Entebbe hostages was killed during the operation–he was Bibi’s (Benjamin Netanyahu’s) older brother.

I say this to remind us all how deeply personal this all is. That while the city is being shaped and we have to interact with it (as Anne and Gilad demonstrate in their conclusion where they guide us on a 24-hour tour of the city) there are intensely personal histories that shape the all the actors on both sides.

The most difficult part of the book for me was Chapter 3–What is Jerusalem? In it, Anne and Gilad recount the British Mandate and the plan for a unified Jerusalem under UN control, the division of Jerusalem and the construction of the Green Line after 1948, the subsequent settlements (I have cousins who live in a new neighborhood in East Jerusalem). I kept wanting to say, but wait a minute–yes Israel has settlements, and yes these create facts on the ground, but also remember that Jews had to leave Gaza and the Sinai for peace.

Chapter 4 is what one might call a guide to Jerusalem for the perplexed (yes a play on Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed). That is, in the U.S. being Jewish is a religion, but in Israel one can be Jewish without being religious, or religious without being a Zionist.  Identity and religiousity can be independent of each other. The statelessness of Palestinian Jersalemites casts a shadow over the marvelous complexities of what Gilad and Anne inventively call Jewish tribal groups–Ashkenazim, Mizrahim, Russians, Ethiopians, Haredi. In discussing this point, the book, I think, really speaks to American perspectives on religion.

I do think that the meaning of Jerusalem is understated. Anne and Gilad emphasize the importance of Jerusalem to Jews with the mention that we say on Passover “next year in Jerusalem” and that Jews pray facing east—Jerusalem.  The tie is stronger–indeed, Jewish daily prayer evokes visions of the return to what the prayer calls the holy city of Jerusalem.

I am a scholar dedicated to poverty alleviation and social justice.  I am also a Jew with 4000 years of history of peoplehood and who has looked at the surprising continuation of my people, my tribe in the context of what my mother repeatedly tells me is the expectation that in every generation there rises up a leader who attempts to anniliate the Jews.  Thus, the focus is on survival.  The Palestinians have the Nakba–their tragedy of the founding of the state of Israel.  These two catastrophic truths shape the motivations for what has proven to behaviors that do not promote peace.  For now, both types of Jersulamites live among each other in their separate worlds.

Does the book help us to think about the problem of Jerusalem?  Yes.  My fear, however, is the both sides will see the focus on the metropolitan area as omitting important events that comprise a history that feeds the perspectives presented.

Rachel Kleit is Professor and head of the City and Regional Planning section at the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University.

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Toward a Community Paradigm for Socioeconomic Attainment

By David Imbroscio

Much of American urban policy focuses on the limited nature of economic opportunities for disadvantaged populations, something that impedes upward social mobility. In essence, while it often goes unacknowledged (or even recognized), it is the powerful principle of meritocracy that is violated by these blocked opportunities and barriers to social mobility; that is, the idea that one’s degree of social mobility and its accompanying rewards should be based on one’s merit — her or his abilities, skills, talents, intelligence, and efforts, rather than a host of morally arbitrary factors.

In my recent article in the Journal of Urban Affairs, I identify and critique what I call a “Meritocratic Paradigm” that underlies much of urban policy, as it is prescribed from the liberal political perspective that dominates most of academia and related institutions.  While at first glance this Meritocratic Paradigm seems morally compelling, when deconstructed and carefully examined it turns out to be quite pernicious.  What is needed instead as the basis for a progressive-populist urban policy is (what might be called) a Community Paradigm, which focuses on the uplifting of whole urban communities rather than the individual social mobility so prized by meritocrats.

A short preview of my article appears on Rooflines: The Shelterforce Blog. The full article, Urban Policy as Meritocracy: A Critique, along with responses by Robert Mark Silverman and Susan J. Popkin, appears in Volume 38, Issue 1 of JUA.

David Imbroscio, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Political Science and Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville.

Some Relections on Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis

This is the third in a series of blog posts evolving from a panel at UAA 2016. In Part 1, Anne Shlay introduced her book Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis, co-written with Gillad Rosen. In Part 2, Zachary Neal shared his thoughts on the book.

By Deirdre Oakley

I’ll begin by saying that I think this is a great book addressing some very complex and challenging issues of a truly divided city and I’d like to share a few reflections on the book.

But first I’d like to share a little anecdote. When I got to page 102 of the book, I came upon the paragraph about the 1960 epic film Exodus staring Paul Newman as Ari and Eva Marie Saint as Kitty. During my early teenage years in the 1970s I had been big fan of Leon Uris who authored the book Exodus on which the movie was based. In my 13-year-old head Ari was tall, dark and handsome, brooding, complex but fighting for a just cause with a faintly European accent. The kind of character any 13-year-old girl would have an imaginary crush on. So I decided to watch Exodus not only because I had never seen it but because on page 201 the authors state that the movie didn’t really accurately portray Israelis. I know I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was really disappointed in the blonde Paul Newman with a heavy New York City accent as Ari, as this was so unlike my image of Ari from the book. Of course Newman did a great job in the role, but he just wasn’t my Ari. In fact one of the only characters in the movie that seemed true to the book was Kitty – the stereo typical non-Jewish pretty blond.

In a way this very point is made in the book: few Israelis have heavy New York accents and the country is very diverse in the terms of race, ethnicity and religion. So in this sense Jerusalem sets the record straight and this is important because for most of us what we know about Jerusalem is what we read in the papers and watch on television – all of which focuses on the seemingly endless conflicts and violence.

The book also very skillfully demonstrates that Jerusalem is the ultimate city of contested development – not only between the Israelis and Palestinians but also between and among the secular, ultra-orthodox Jewish citizens as well as the Zionists. So who controls what land and how development is shaped is intricately tied to various National identities and ultimately who controls Jerusalem.  Therefore in the Jerusalem context urban development and growth are not secularized processes as illustrated in John Logan and Harvey Molotch’s treatment of the growth machine in the United States context (1987).  Indeed, unlike the growth machine evoked by Logan and Molotch – one that is always in search of greater exchange values at the expense of use values – i.e. value-free – in Jerusalem’s case such processes are value-laden because the goals are about geo-political control.

However, in both the U.S. and Israel, government matters in terms of how urban development is shaped and who wins and who loses from it. So while the growth machine manifests itself very differently in Jerusalem as the authors argue, we can also see some similarities in terms of the role of government. Perhaps U.S. cities don’t have a wall like Jerusalem, but they do, because of the 1950 and 1960s urban renewal policies, have massive highway systems that have divided cities and destroyed once vibrant and economically prosperous Black communities.  I would argue that such urban renewal was just as blatantly geo-political containment efforts as how development has occurred in Jerusalem, only in the U.S. case it’s continually about containing poor Blacks or invading their neighborhoods for redevelopment, which most of the time means displacement.  Thus, while the U.S. case might not be directly linked to the dominance of one political party, it is indeed racialized – for example in Atlanta it may not be between the Jewish and Palestinian factions, but between Blacks and whites, with (like Jerusalem) the poor minorities being most vulnerable to lose the most.

In closing, I would like to mention that I assigned my graduate Urban Sociology class Jerusalem as one of the readings and it significantly contributed to a very dynamic and engaged semester.  I highly recommend the book.

John Logan and Harvey Molotch 1987. Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Deirdre Oakley is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. She is also one of the Managing Editors of the Journal of Urban Affairs. Her research focuses primarily on how urban social disadvantage is often compounded by geographic space and place-based social policies.

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Blog Exclusive Book Review: Ghetto

By Deirdre Oakley and Clinton Boyd, Jr., Georgia State University.ghetto

Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea. By Mitchell Duneier: New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.

In this new, very timely and well-written book, Sociologist Mitchell Duneier takes on the complex challenge of documenting the history and ever-changing meaning of the now highly stigmatized word “Ghetto.” The term has always referred to the spatial containment of a particular population – first, as Duneier points out, in early 16th Century Venice where the local government required all of its Jewish citizens to reside on a close-by island surrounded by a wall—and then in other Italian and European cities. While such communities were separated from the non-Jewish citizenry, Duneier argues that these were cohesive and self-sustaining neighborhoods and that the Jewish citizenry interacted in positive ways with those outside their walls. We interpret Duneier’s argument here as such: Jews had full citizenry even if they were forced to live separately unlike African-Americans during the Jim Crow era – even though in the latter context there were ‘prosperous’ but ‘separate’ African American communities. However, by the time Hitler began his ascendance in the 1930s, the Nazi propaganda machine began enclosing the European Jewish ghettos both physically and symbolically – physically with razor wire and symbolically with negative public discourse and, of course, subsequent genocide.

In the American Post World War Two context, Duneier contends that the word Ghetto was used to describe inner-city African-American neighborhoods implying all the social problems of such areas. In Chapters Two through Four, he provides a comprehensive review of the scholarly works of three highly esteemed and influential social scientists: Horace Cayton, Kenneth Clark, and William Julius Wilson – all of whom discussed the challenges of African-American life in relation to their spatially-contained urban neighborhoods. Taken together these three scholars, as well as St. Clair Drake who co-authored with Horace Cayton the seminal book Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945) set the stage for future social scientists as well as those in policy circles to research and provide commentary on America’s ‘Black Ghettos’.

While the three scholars Duneier writes about focused on the structural causes of the blight which affected these neighborhoods, in policy circles the emphasis shifted towards the residents. In other words, it was not the environment but the people themselves who were to blame for all the social problems associated with ‘the ghetto’. One of the most damaging critiques came from then-Senator Patrick Moynihan, who wrote The Negro Family: The Case for National Action for the United States Department of Labor released in 1965. A year later Oscar Lewis, a prominent Anthropologist had a book published entitled La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty—San Juan and New York. Therefore, inner-city “Ghettos” became racialized in very stigmatizing ways and, consequently, became known as ‘no-go zones’ and places in need of routine social control.

Ultimately Duneier concludes that American inner-city ghettos can no longer be defined solely by spatial segregation and the containment of Black and Brown subpopulations, but should be reinterpreted as places of invasive policing and social control. He comes to this conclusion after Chapter Six where he documents the implementation and challenges facing the Harlem’s Children’s Zone (HCZ), a project that was the brain-child of Dr. Geoffrey Canada, an African American educator and social activist. As Duneier illustrates, some of the significant challenges for the HCZ include the issues of scale and whether or not such an intervention can be successfully implemented in other poor inner-city areas without a charismatic leader like Dr. Canada. The HCZ provides comprehensive wrap-around educational and social service programs to families and children in the neighborhood. However, only a small percentage of the neighborhood kids and their families can be part of this program due to limited enrollment, which is based on a lottery system. Yet, for many of the children and families who are fortunate enough to enroll into the HCZ, there are positive outcomes – a solid education for the children and a household opportunity for upward mobility.

While Duneier’s book is certainly ground-breaking in his approach and painstaking documentation and theorizing regarding how the term Ghetto has evolved overtime, our main critique is that the word “Slum” existed in the American urban lexicon long before World War Two. And, like the word Ghetto would ultimately become to mean in the American context, the term slum evoked the negative aspects of poor, inner city Black and Brown communities. Indeed, much of the rhetoric was the same in terms of both structural and individual factors. This link to earlier works concerning the word slum is not something that Duneier addresses thoroughly in his book. Yet the social problems associated with what were then called American inner-city slums emerged in the late 19th century. The word slum originated in the early 19th century European city context as a geographic designation where poor or ‘low’ people resided. Jacob Riis wrote How the Other Half Lives about the slum housing on New York City’s Lower Eastside in 1890. Perhaps even more important was Sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois work – in particular the 1899 publication of The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. This book was written during an era when eugenics functioned as a bastion for white superiority – a theory of the biological inferiority of African Americans that Du Bois used rigorous empirical research to disprove. The irony here is that eugenics would subsequently be taken up by the Nazis to justify the sequestering and genocide of the European Jews.

Duneier does point out that Du Bois did not use the word ghetto in this groundbreaking work but instead the word slum, particularly in the book’s section on what Du Bois called “the Submerged Tenth”. In Chapter One, Duneier discusses how Du Bois had visited Warsaw and experienced the spatial sequestering of the Jewish ghetto, something that Duneier notes Du Bois would later write about during the 1950s in his article The Negro and The Warsaw Ghetto. This could be why Du Bois did not use the term ghetto in The Philadelphia Negro. Another reason may be that while ghetto was in the American lexicon in reference to Black urban neighborhoods as early as the 1930s, it was not used in a derogatory sense. For example, Langston Hughes’ 1931 poem The Negro Ghetto evoked pride and black authenticity rather than bringing attention to the social problems associated with the slum.

We acknowledge that no book can cover everything and decisions must be made by the author in terms of time frames. However, we thought this worthy to note in this review. In sum, Duneier has adroitly focused on the changing meaning of the word ghetto through very careful historical analyses culminating with a modern-day case study of a program attempting to ameliorate the structural barriers of a poor inner city neighborhood through education. We highly recommend this book for scholars, policymakers, and students interested in the challenges facing poor and segregated communities.


Drake, St. Clair and Horace Cayton. 1945. Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace and Company.

Du Bois, W.E.B. 1952. “The Negro and the Warsaw Ghetto.” Jewish Life 6(7):14-15.

Du Bois, W.E.B. 1899. The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Lewis, Oscar. 1966. La vida: A Puerto Rican family in the culture of poverty—San Juan and New York. New York: Random House.

Moynihan, Patrick. 1965. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. Washington, DC: Office of Policy Planning and Research, United States Department of Labor.

Riis, Jacob. 1890. How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins.

Deirdre Oakley is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. She is also one of the Managing Editors of the Journal of Urban Affairs. Her research focuses primarily on how urban social disadvantage is often compounded by geographic space and place-based social policies.

Clinton Boyd, Jr. is a Doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University. He is also a 2016-2018 Doris Duke Fellow for the Promotion of Child Well-Being awarded through Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. His research interests include neighborhood and spatial inequality, criminal justice, father involvement, child well-being, and social policy.  

Jerusalem: Response #1

This is the second in a series of blog posts evolving from a panel at UAA 2016. In Part 1, Anne Shlay introduced her book Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis, co-written with Gillad Rosen.

By Zachary Neal

In March, I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussing Anne Shlay and Gillad Rosen’s new book, Jerusalem: The Spatial Politics of a Divided Metropolis. I was reluctant to join the panel at first because I know so little about Jerusalem, but reading their book offered an excellent introduction to the issues in the region. It also raised a number of questions for me, which were the focus of my comments on the panel.

Zero Sum Games
Early in the book, Anne and Gillad argue that “The struggle for Jerusalem is viewed as a zero-sum game, in which there are only winners and losers” (p. 7). But as they explain through the book, there are actually multiple “games” being played in Jerusalem, and I wondered, are all of them zero-sum?

First and foremost there is the game, or competition, over physical space. Because physical space is finite and can only be used by a limited number of people at any given moment, this game is almost by necessity zero-sum. But, there is also a competition over place, that is, over the emotional and sentimental bonds that people and groups attach to physical spaces. It is much less clear that this game is zero-sum; the fact that Muslims attach meaning to the Temple Mount does not diminish the ability of Jews to also attach meaning to the Temple Mount. While space may be finite, place is not. In the game for place, perhaps it is possible for there to be only winners and no losers. Conversely, there is also a competition for social services. As Anne and Gillad explain, poverty in the region is widespread, and found among both Jews and non-Jews. If poverty and limited access to social services is widespread, this may be a case where there are only losers and no winners.

It is easy to claim that a competition is zero-sum, and it is an appealing claim to make because zero-sum competitions are easy to understand since participants can be cleanly divided into winners and losers. But, I wonder whether the situation in Jerusalem is simply too complex for this kind of dichotomy.

Growth Machines
Anne and Gillad also use the notion of “Growth Machines” to help understand development in Jerusalem. This gets complicated because the vast majority of theorizing about growth machines, and the vast majority of empirical evidence behind this theory’s predictions, come from cities in the United States. Jerusalem, as they note in multiple places throughout the book, is different and unique. To what extent, then, can the theory of growth machines be stretched to work in that context?

They explain that unlike in many U.S. cities, in Jerusalem “metropolitan growth is managed extensively by members of the public sector and, in particular, it is orchestrated by the national government” (p. 35). However, while “For Israelis, the growth of Jerusalem represents the normal expansion of a thriving metropolis, For Palestinians, Jerusalem’s development is nothing short of imperialism” (p. 45). This left me wondering, what is the relationship between growth machines and imperialism?

Anne and Gillad seem to argue that imperialism is a special type of growth machine in which the machine is driven entirely by state actors. But, I’m not sure that imperialism and growth machines can be so easily collapsed. Instead, it may be useful to distinguish these two mechanisms of urban growth because the state differs from traditional growth machine actors in important ways. First, the state has a monopoly on the use of force, while traditional growth machine actors may use force, but only illegitimately. Thus, while traditional growth machine actors may attempt to force individuals out of their homes, perhaps through eminent domain, they cannot threaten those individuals with death for lack of compliance…the state can. Second, the state has final and sovereign legal authority, while traditional actors are subjects of the state (e.g. corporations are chartered by the state). Thus, while traditional actors can use the law and exploit loopholes to their advantage, the state can make, remake, and reinterpret the laws themselves to its advantage.

Given these differences, I wonder whether imperialism and growth machines are simply different, or whether one is merely a special case of the other.

Now what?
During the panel, Anne admitted to struggling with articulating the purpose of the book. It is challenging not only because it deals with complex issues for which much is at stake, but also because the authors themselves have a significant personal and emotional connection to the region and to those issues. Nonetheless, they offer some hint about their goals toward the end of the book, noting that “The credo of science is to provide facts, not to tell people what to do with those facts” (p. 188).

Maybe this has been the credo of science, and maybe is hasn’t. But, I felt like I wanted to challenge Anne and Gillad with a harder question: should it be the credo of science, and should it be the goal of their book? Certainly there are risks to telling people what do to, to making proscriptions: they may be annoyed, offended, angered. However, there are also risks to going to the great lengths Anne and Gillad have to collect and present the facts, but then not telling people what to do with them. The facts may simply be ignored and go unused by anyone, calling into question the purpose of having collected and presented them in the first place. Or, more dangerously, the facts may be misunderstood or purposefully distorted to justify inappropriate actions.

Telling people what to do about Jerusalem is, no doubt, an eggshell-walking feat. But, if (social) science can’t provide a guide for action, what can it do?

Zachary Neal ( is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University.

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