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Bike Lanes Are White Lanes

Bicycle Advocacy and Urban Planning

Melody L Hoffmann

The number of bicyclists is increasing in the United States, especially among the working class and people of color. In contrast to the demographics of bicyclists in the United States, advocacy for bicycling has focused mainly on the interests of white upwardly mobile bicyclists, leading to neighborhood conflicts and accusations of racist planning.

In Bike Lanes Are White Lanes, scholar Melody L. Hoffmann argues that the bicycle has varied cultural meaning as a “rolling signifier.” That is, the bicycle’s meaning changes in different spaces, with different people, and in different cultures. The rolling signification of the bicycle contributes to building community, influences gentrifying urban planning, and upholds systemic race and class barriers.

In this study of three prominent U.S. cities—Milwaukee, Portland, and Minneapolis—Hoffmann examines how the burgeoning popularity of urban bicycling is trailed by systemic issues of racism, classism, and displacement. From a pro-cycling perspective, Bike Lanes Are White Lanes highlights many problematic aspects of urban bicycling culture and its advocacy as well as positive examples of people trying earnestly to bring their community together through bicycling.

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Blockbusting in Baltimore

The Edmondson Village Story

W. Edward Orser

This innovative study of racial upheaval and urban transformation in Baltimore, Maryland investigates the impact of "blockbusting" -- a practice in which real estate agents would sell a house on an all-white block to an African American family with the aim of igniting a panic among the other residents. These homeowners would often sell at a loss to move away, and the real estate agents would promote the properties at a drastic markup to African American buyers.

In this groundbreaking book, W. Edward Orser examines Edmondson Village, a west Baltimore rowhouse community where an especially acute instance of blockbusting triggered white flight and racial change on a dramatic scale. Between 1955 and 1965, nearly twenty thousand white residents, who saw their secure world changing drastically, were replaced by blacks in search of the American dream. By buying low and selling high, playing on the fears of whites and the needs of African Americans, blockbusters set off a series of events that Orser calls "a collective trauma whose significance for recent American social and cultural history is still insufficiently appreciated and understood."

Blockbusting in Baltimore describes a widely experienced but little analyzed phenomenon of recent social history. Orser makes an important contribution to community and urban studies, race relations, and records of the African American experience.

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Bloomberg's New York

Class and Governance in the Luxury City

Julian Brash

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg claims to run the city like a business. In Bloomberg’s New York, Julian Brash applies methods from anthropology, geography, and other social science disciplines to examine what that means. He describes the mayor’s attitude toward governance as the Bloomberg Way—a philosophy that holds up the mayor as CEO, government as a private corporation, desirable residents and businesses as customers and clients, and the city itself as a product to be branded and marketed as a luxury good.
Commonly represented as pragmatic and nonideological, the Bloomberg Way, Brash argues, is in fact an ambitious reformulation of neoliberal governance that advances specific class interests. He considers the implications of this in a blow-by-blow account of the debate over the Hudson Yards plan, which aimed to transform Manhattan’s far west side into the city’s next great high-end district. Bringing this plan to fruition proved surprisingly difficult as activists and entrenched interests pushed back against the Bloomberg administration, suggesting that despite Bloomberg’s success in redrawing the rules of urban governance, older political arrangements—and opportunities for social justice—remain.

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Bombay Cinema

An Archive of the City

Ranjani Mazumdar

Cinema is not only a major industry in India, it is a powerful cultural force. But until now, no one has undertaken a major examination of the ways in which films made in Bombay mediate the urban experience in India. In Bombay Cinema, Ranjani Mazumdar takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding Bombay cinema as the unofficial archive of the city in India.

In this analysis of the cinematic city, Mazumdar reveals a complex postnationalist world, convulsed by the social crisis of the 1970s and transformed by the experience of globalization in the 1990s. She argues that the upheaval of postcolonial nationalism led to Bombay cinema’s articulation of urban life in entirely new terms. Specifically, the place of the village in the imaginary constitution of anticolonial nationalism gave way to a greater acknowledgment, even centrality, of urban space. Bombay Cinema takes the reader on an inventive journey through a cinematic city of mass crowds, violence, fashion, architectural fantasies, and subcultural identities. Moving through the world of gangsters and vamps, families and drifters, and heroes and villains, Bombay Cinema explores an urban landscape marked by industrial decline, civic crisis, working-class disenchantment, and diverse street life.Combining the anecdotal with the theoretical, the philosophical with the political, and the textual with the historical, Bombay Cinema leads the reader into the heart of the urban labyrinth in India, revising and deepening our understanding of both the city and the cinema.

"A landmark study—carefully researched, well organized and offering refreshingly uncondescending and strikingly insightful discussions of mainstream films—that deserves to be read by anyone interested in India's popular cinema or its contemporary urban life." —Journal of Asian Studies

"Bombay Cinema is an exciting and important contribution to a field that has, to date, been under researched and under theorized. Lively, provocative and richly suggestive, it will also serve as a surefire incentive to watch those films all over again." —Screen

"Here, at last, is a book length study on Cinema in India that does not get locked into a dance of hermetic closure between what transpires on screen and a set of stock off screen textual and cultural references, but more importantly, walks the streets where the films are set, looks at shop windows, publicity material, costumes, fashion, architecture, telecommunications and the concrete materiality that surrounds the film object." —Seminar

"Bombay Cinema is lucid, provocative, stylish and substantial. It is an illuminating scholarly study that spares no effort to bring Bombay cinema out of the academic closet." —The Book Review India

"Departing from the obsession that Film Studies in India has displayed with the idea of cinema as a national allegory, the book convincingly argues for the need to examine the city's hidden archive as one that cannot be subsumed within the sign of the national." —Biblio

"Mazumdar has a great capacity to discuss Indian cinema, with a brilliant grasp of its political, historical, and aesthetic developments, but equally she is well attuned to the interests and ruptures in the academic discourse of film and cinema studies."—Film International

"Mazumdar's experience as a filmmaker allowed her to offer significant readings of not just the narratives and character development in the films, but of the cinematography, mise-en-scene, and other technical and performance aspects of production." —Journal of Popular Culture

"At once about Hindi films, spatial practices, urban modernity and globalization . . . the strength of Bombay Cinema lies in bringing all of them together in a productive conversation.” —Economic and Political Weekly

"Bombay Cinema is methodologically challenging in its deployment of moments rather than discursive formations of film as text. The book also refuses to read film alone, but interprets the medium alongside the detailed insights of people involved in making them, and with the recent history of Bombay, within which the film industry is located. In Mazumdar's evocative reading of the films she engages with, the cinematic city becomes the space of critique of the nation, the site of the ruin of the modern nationalist project." —Contemporary South Asia

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The Rise of America's Accidental Cities

Robert E. Lang and Jennifer B. LeFurgy

A glance at a list of America's fastest growing "cities" reveals quite a surprise: most are really overgrown suburbs. Places such as Anaheim, California, Coral Springs, Florida, Naperville, Illinois, North Las Vegas, Nevada, and Plano, Texas, have swelled to big-city size with few people really noticing —including many of their ten million residents. These "boomburbs" are large, rapidly growing, incorporated communities of more than 100,000 residents that are not the biggest city in their region. Here, Robert E. Lang and Jennifer B. LeFurgy explain who lives in them, what they look like, how they are governed, and why their rise calls into question the definition of urban.

Located in over twenty-five major metro areas throughout the United States, numerous boomburbs have doubled, tripled, even quadrupled in size between census reports. Some are now more populated than traditional big cities. The population of the biggest boomburb —Mesa, Arizona —recently surpassed that of Minneapolis and Miami.

Typically large and sprawling, boomburbs are "accidental cities," but not because they lack planning. Many are made up of master-planned communities that have grown into one another. Few anticipated becoming big cities and unintentionally arrived at their status. Although boomburbs possess elements found in cities such as housing, retailing, offices, and entertainment, they lack large downtowns. But they can contain high-profile industries and entertainment venues: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Arizona Cardinals are among over a dozen major-league sports teams who play in the boomburbs.

Urban in fact but not in feel, these drive-by cities of highways, office parks, and shopping malls are much more horizontally built and less pedestrian friendly than most older suburbs. And, contrary to common perceptions of suburbia, they are not rich and elitist. Poverty is often seen in boomburb communities of small single-family homes, neighborhoods that once represented the American dream.

Boomburbs are a quintessential American landscape, embodying much of the nation's complexity, expansiveness, and ambiguity. This fascinating look at the often contradictory world of boomburbs examines why America's suburbs are thriving and how they are shaping the lives of millions of residents.

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Boston Renaissance, The

Race, Space, and Economic Change in an American Metropolis

This volume documents metropolitan Boston's metamorphosis from a casualty of manufacturing decline in the 1970s to a paragon of the high-tech and service industries in the 1990s. The city's rebound has been part of a wider regional renaissance, as new commercial centers have sprung up outside the city limits. A stream of immigrants have flowed into the area, redrawing the map of ethnic relations in the city. While Boston's vaunted mind-based economy rewards the highly educated, many unskilled workers have also found opportunities servicing the city's growing health and education industries.

Boston's renaissance remains uneven, and the authors identify a variety of handicaps (low education, unstable employment, single parenthood) that still hold minorities back. Nonetheless this book presents Boston as a hopeful example of how America's older cities can reinvent themselves in the wake of suburbanization and deindustrialization.

A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality

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Bounding the Mekong

The Asian Development Bank, China, and Thailand

Jim Glassman

Transnational economic integration has been described by globalization boosters as a rising tide that will lift all boats, an opportunity for all participants to achieve greater prosperity through a combination of political cooperation and capitalist economic competition. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has championed such rhetoric in promoting the integration of China, Southeast Asia’s formerly socialist states, and Thailand into a regional project called the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). But while the GMS project is in fact hastening regional economic integration, Jim Glassman shows that the approach belies the ADB’s idealized description of "win-win" outcomes. The process of "actually existing globalization" in the GMS does provide varied opportunities for different actors, but it is less a rising tide that lifts all boats than an uneven flood of transnational capitalist development whose outcomes are determined by intense class struggles, market competition, and regulatory battles.

Glassman makes the case for adopting a class-based approach to analysis of GMS development, regionalization, and actually existing globalization. First he analyzes the interests and actions of various Thai participants in GMS development, then the roles of different Chinese actors in GMS integration. He next provides two cases illustrating the serious limits of any notion that GMS integration is a relatively egalitarian process—Laos’ participation in GMS development and the role of migrant Burmese workers in the production of the GMS. He finds that Burmese migrant workers, dam-displaced Chinese and Laotian villagers, and economically-stressed Thai farmers and small businesses are relative "losers" compared to the powerful business interests that shape GMS integration from locations like Bangkok and Kunming, as well as key sites outside the GMS like Beijing, Singapore, and Tokyo. The final chapter blends geographical-historical analysis with an assessment of uneven development and actually existing globalization in the GMS.

Cogent and persuasive, Bounding the Mekong will attract attention from the growing number of scholars analyzing globalization, neoliberalism, regionalization, and multiple scales of governance. It is suitable for graduate courses in geography, political science, and sociology as well as courses with a regional focus.

17 illus., 7 maps

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Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs

2000 - 2009

Designed to reach a wide audience of scholars and policymakers, Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs provides accessible research on urban areas and issues, including studies on urban sprawl, crime, taxes, education, poverty, and related subjects.

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Bubbling Cauldron

Race, Ethnicity, and the Urban Crisis

Michael Smith

“This is a first-class collection of readings. The Bubbling Cauldron makes a significant contribution because it confronts many of the current dimensions of the debate over race, ethnicity, and class. There is no other collection that does this in such a provocative and useful way.” --Raymond S. Franklin, director of the Michael Harrington Center, Queens College, CUNY, and author of Shadows of Race and Class

Cities in the United States and around the world continue to struggle with the tensions of racial and ethnic power conflicts. Urban centers have found themselves squeezed between global economics and global media on the one hand and the ever-changing daily practices of their citizens on the other. These essays by prominent writers on racial issues provide a telling background for ongoing discussions about multiculturalism, cultural politics, and urban crises.

The Bubbling Cauldron illustrates why race is still a central source of meaning, identity, and power-and why it is not just enduring but intensifying as a category with ever more fluid economic, cultural, and social borders.

Michael Peter Smith is professor of community studies and development at the University of California, Davis. Joe R. Feagin is graduate research professor in sociology at the University of Florida.

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