Is it all in the eye of the beholder? Benefits of living in mixed-income neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles.

Is it all in the eye of the beholder? Benefits of living in mixed-income neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles, by Elena Vesselinov, Mary Clare Lennon & Renaud Le Goix, appears in Volume 40, Issue 2 of the Jorunal of Urban Affairs and is currently available for free access.

By Elena Vesselinov

I am very enthusiastic about this article, because it is the first published article related to my latest project on organic mixed-income neighborhoods. In this article, we discuss the differences between “design-politics” and “organic” mixed-income neighborhoods. Design-politics neighborhoods are communities influenced by the federal housing policies in integrating former public housing residents with higher income groups. It is believed that such income integration will be beneficial to lower-income groups, where through better housing conditions and role-modeling they will create better lives. The question is do policy intentions correspond to reality, thus the title of the paper, “Is it all in the eye of the beholder?” Is this policy a wishful thinking or a reality?

The research evidence about design-politics communities, most notably established in Robert Chaskin and Mark Joseph’s book “Integrating the Inner City,” is rather controversial, or as the saying goes, the jury is still out on whether or not there is actual neighborhood integration. It seems that impenetrable social boundaries remain around issues both of class and race. Lower-income residents still tend to be more connected to each other, with little to no interactions with higher income group members.

Even though we at least have a growing body of work on outcomes in design-politics neighborhoods, not much is known about benefits of real-life mixed-income communities. In cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and many others, we can find hundreds of neighborhoods, where people from diverse economic backgrounds live. What I would like to do is find out more about the naturally occurring mixed-income communities, formed without explicit government intervention. Therefore, these naturally formed communities I called “organic mixed-income neighborhoods.”

In this paper we present evidence of the association between mixed-income communities and the mortgage foreclosure crisis for two metropolitan areas: New York and Los Angeles.  In both cities, mixed-income neighborhoods are characterized by a better socioeconomic context compared not only to lower-income neighborhoods but also to low-middle-income neighborhoods. This is reflected in a range of factors such as higher income, higher house prices, higher homeownership rates, higher educational levels, and lower levels of subprime loans. In addition, controlling for relevant neighborhood contextual factors, mixed-income neighborhoods are less likely to be found in foreclosure spatial clusters compared to lower-income and low-middle-income communities.

In our work, we applied two independently constructed neighborhood typologies, where mixed-income neighborhoods were identified, firstly, as a reflection of the metropolitan income composition and, secondly, based on the entropy score. Regardless of the method used, the selection of mixed-income tracts produced communities that also had a racial/ethnic composition comparable to the overall metropolitan racial/ethnic composition. Therefore, based on our findings as well as on prior research using various selection criteria, income diversity seems, at least to some degree, to correspond to racial/ethnic diversity.

I find that it is important to continue this line of research and study the specific context across metropolitan areas in the United States. If it is found that organic mixed-income communities are consistently associated with benefits and better socio-economic residential conditions, policies could be developed to incentivize already existing communities. It seems plausible to expect that creating incentives tailored to specific social, economic and political contexts should be more effective, efficient and less costly than engineering residential contexts with dubious results.

Elena Vesselinov is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College and The Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Special Issue on “Contributions of Community Psychology to Urban Research and Policy”

Special Issue of Journal of Urban Affairs on “Contributions of Community Psychology to Urban Research and Policy”

The Journal of Urban Affairs invites proposals for articles to be published in a special issue on “Contributions of Community Psychology to Urban Research and Policy,” guest edited by Jennifer Watling Neal (Michigan State University).

The field of community psychology focuses on solving social problems and encouraging wellbeing by examining transactions between individuals and larger social systems including organizations (e.g., schools, workplaces), local neighborhoods, and cities (for example definitions of community psychology, see Dalton et al., 2007; Rappaport, 1977; Seidman, 1988). Given this focus, community psychologists have a long history of contribution to understandings of metropolitan and community problems, urban social change, and urban policy. For example, community psychologists have focused their research on a range of urban topics including (but not limited to) homelessness and housing policy, community organizing, community development, neighborhood risk and protective factors for youth, neighborhood sense of community, neighborhood crime, and the delivery of community-based services. Papers in this special issue will focus on contributions of the field of community psychology to urban research and policy (broadly construed).

The special issue welcomes empirical, theoretical, and review papers as well as a variety of methodological approaches (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods).  To qualify for inclusion in the special issue, is not sufficient for research to simply be conducted within an urban area or community. Instead, all papers submitted for the special issue should (1) foreground the role of theory or methods from the field of community psychology in (2) addressing a particular metropolitan or community problem, and (3) should highlight implications for urban social change and/or policy. 

Interested authors should submit a detailed 500-750 word proposal to Jennifer Watling Neal by email (jneal@msu.edu) by April 15, 2018.  Proposals will be screened based on their fit to the special issue and their quality (i.e., potential for impact on the literature, sound methodology, and writing). Authors of selected proposals will be invited to upload their papers to Scholar One for peer review by August 31, 2018. Questions about this special issue or the suitability of a particular manuscript or idea can be directed to Jennifer Watling Neal  at jneal@msu.edu.

References

Dalton, J.H., Elias, M.J., & Wandersman, A. (2007). Community Psychology: Linking individuals and communities. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth Publishing.

Rappaport, J.  (1977).  Community psychology: Values, research, and action. New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Seidman, E.  (1988).  Back to the future, community psychology: Unfolding a theory of social intervention.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 3-24.

 

 

Special Issue: The Citizens in City-regions

Special Issue: The Citizens in City-regions

Guest editors: Anders Lidström and Linze Schaap

For the first time ever, a special collection of papers on the citizens in city-regions has been published in the Journal of Urban Affairs.

It has become increasingly relevant to develop knowledge about citizenship in a city-regional setting as more people all over the world now live in city-regions. Commuting on a daily basis is common in city-regions as places for housing, work, and leisure are usually separated. This tends to weaken the connection to the municipality of residence, and creates patterns of territorial identification and political activism that extend beyond the municipality. This broadens the role of being a citizen and challenges existing—usually fragmented—patterns of governance and democracy in the city-region. The articles in this special issue investigate how patterns of city-regional citizenship vary between individuals and contexts.

Table of Contents (articles are available for free access, for a limited time!)

1. The Citizens in the City-Regions: Patterns and Variations, by Anders Lidström and Linze Schaap.

2. Being metropolitan: the effects of individual and contextual factors on shaping metropolitan identity, by Joan-Josep Vallbé, Jaume Magre, Mariona Tomàs

3. Territorial political orientations in Swedish city-regions, by Anders Lidström

4. How Metropolitan can you go? Citizenship in Polish city-regions, by Marta Lackowska and Łukasz Mikuła

5. Citizenship in the fragmented metropolis: an individual-level analysis from Switzerland, by Daniel Kübler

6. Sharing fairly? Mobility, citizenship and gender relations in two Swedish city-regions, by Christine Hudson

7. Regional or Parochial? Support for Cross-Community Sharing within City-Regions, by Michael Leo Owens and Jane Lawrence Sumner

8. Citizens’ Views on Governance in Two Swedish City-Regions, by Niklas Eklund

9. What About Metropolitan Citizenship? Attitudinal Attachment of Residents to Their City-Region, by Melanie Walter-Rogg

Anders Lidström is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Umeå University.

Linze Schaap is an associate professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and at the Tilburg Center for Regional Law and Governance (TiREG), at Tilburg University.