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Urban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up
The Target Cities Experience
During the 1990s, in response to the multi-faceted phenomenon of substance abuse, the federal government’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment funded the Target Cities project in nineteen U.S. cities. This volume evaluates how the Target Cities project affected both treatment systems and individuals with drug and alcohol problems. In each city, programs were established to evaluate the impact of these substances on an individual’s mental and physical health, housing, family relationships, and involvement with the criminal justice system. A brief summary of the evolution of national perceptions of drug and alcohol problems is followed by a description of the project, its participants, the process of entering treatment, an organizational analysis of the project’s many components, participant satisfaction and adjustment, and the implications of the research findings for policy makers and treatment personnel.
Talking (and Not Talking) About Race at Work
Since the 1960s, the dominant model for fostering diversity and inclusion in the United States has been the “color blind” approach, which emphasizes similarity and assimilation and insists that people should be understood as individuals, not as members of racial or cultural groups. This approach is especially prevalent in the workplace, where discussions about race and ethnicity are considered taboo. Yet, as widespread as “color blindness” has become, many studies show that the practice has damaging repercussions, including reinforcing the existing racial hierarchy by ignoring the significance of racism and discrimination. In The Color Bind, workplace experts Erica Foldy and Tamara Buckley investigate race relations in office settings, looking at how both color blindness and what they call “color cognizance” have profound effects on the ways coworkers think and interact with each other.
Based on an intensive two-and-a-half-year study of employees at a child welfare agency, The Color Bind shows how color cognizance—the practice of recognizing the profound impact of race and ethnicity on life experiences while affirming the importance of racial diversity—can help workers move beyond silence on the issue of race toward more inclusive workplace practices. Drawing from existing psychological and sociological research that demonstrates the success of color-cognizant approaches in dyads, workgroups and organizations, Foldy and Buckley analyzed the behavior of work teams within a child protection agency. The behaviors of three teams in particular reveal the factors that enable color cognizance to flourish. While two of the teams largely avoided explicitly discussing race, one group, “Team North,” openly talked about race and ethnicity in team meetings. By acknowledging these differences when discussing how to work with their clients and with each other, the members of Team North were able to dig into challenges related to race and culture instead of avoiding them. The key to achieving color cognizance within the group was twofold: It required both the presence of at least a few members who were already color cognizant, as well as an environment in which all team members felt relatively safe and behaved in ways that strengthened learning, including productively resolving conflict and reflecting on their practice.
The Color Bind provides a useful lens for policy makers, researchers and practitioners pursuing in a wide variety of goals, from addressing racial disparities in health and education to creating diverse and inclusive organizations to providing culturally competent services to clients and customers. By foregrounding open conversations about race and ethnicity, Foldy and Buckley show that institutions can transcend the color bind in order to better acknowledge and reflect the diverse populations they serve.
The Changing World of Boxing in Gleason's Gym
Gleason's Gym is the last remaining institution of New York's Golden Age of boxing. Jake LaMotta, Muhammad Ali, Hector Camacho, Mike Tyson--the alumni of Gleason's are a roster of boxing greats. Founded in the Bronx in 1937, Gleason's moved in the mid-1980s to what has since become one of New York's wealthiest residential areas--Brooklyn's DUMBO. Gleason's has also transformed, opening its doors to new members, particularly women and white-collar men. Come Out Swinging is Lucia Trimbur's nuanced insider's account of a place that was once the domain of poor and working-class men of color but is now shared by rich and poor, male and female, black and white, and young and old.
Come Out Swinging chronicles the everyday world of the gym. Its diverse members train, fight, talk, and socialize together. We meet amateurs for whom boxing is a full-time, unpaid job. We get to know the trainers who act as their father figures and mentors. We are introduced to women who empower themselves physically and mentally. And we encounter the male urban professionals who pay handsomely to learn to box, and to access a form of masculinity missing from their office-bound lives. Ultimately, Come Out Swinging reveals how Gleason's meets the needs of a variety of people who, despite their differences, are connected through discipline and sport.
In the 1980s the failure of corporate strategies and trickle-down economics led to gross inequalities among many U.S. neighborhoods and cities. By examining and comparing a gentrifying and a low-income neighborhood in two medium-sized cities, Gordana Rabrenovic shows how the problems they faced are typical of a number of neighborhoods nationwide. In particular, Rabrenovic focuses on the relationship between neighborhood associations and urban restructuring, arguing persuasively that the success of neighborhood associations depends more on the city in which the neighborhood is located than on the neighborhood itself. Her tale discusses two very different cities with distinct political economies: Albany, a healthy service sector city, and Schenectady, a declining manufacturing city. Acknowledging both the value and limits of collective action, Rabrenovic addresses issues of particular relevance in urban areas, such as land use and crime, as well as the need for neighborhood organizations to forge links with local elites and other neighborhoods, and to engage and bring together poor and minority residents. Her analysis of neighborhood-based mobilization, preservation, and revitalization illuminates the ways in which grassroots issues intersect with prevailing political agendas and the national economy, as well as how issues such as race and class affect daily community politics.
Landscape, Power, and Working-Class Communities
Jewish and Arab Workers in Mandatory Palestine
An interdisciplinary study discussing the impact of the national crisis in Mandatory Palestine on relations between Jewish and Arab workers and their respective labor movements. Constructing Boundaries examines the competition, interaction, and impact among Jewish and Arab workers in the labor market of Mandatory Palestine. It is both a labor market study, based on the Split Labor Market Theory, and a case study of the labor market of Haifa, the center of economic development in Mandatory Palestine. Bernstein demonstrates the impact of the pervasive national conflict on the relations between the workers of the two nationalities and between their labor movements. She analyzes the attempts of Jewish workers to construct boundaries between themselves and the Arab workers, and also highlights cases of cooperation between Jewish and Arab workers and of joint class struggle.
Women's Spaces and Women's Rights in the American City
In Constructive Feminism, Daphne Spain examines the deliberate and unintended spatial consequences of feminism's second wave, a social movement dedicated to reconfiguring power relations between women and men. Placing the women's movement of the 1970s in the context of other social movements that have changed the use of urban space, Spain argues that reform feminists used the legal system to end the mandatory segregation of women and men in public institutions, while radical activists created small-scale places that gave women the confidence to claim their rights to the public sphere.
Women’s centers, bookstores, health clinics, and domestic violence shelters established feminist places for women’s liberation in Boston, Los Angeles, and many other cities. Unable to afford their own buildings, radicals adapted existing structures to serve as women’s centers that fostered autonomy, health clinics that promoted reproductive rights, bookstores that connected women to feminist thought, and domestic violence shelters that protected their bodily integrity. Legal equal opportunity reforms and daily practices of liberation enhanced women’s choices in education and occupations. Once the majority of wives and mothers had joined the labor force, by the mid-1980s, new buildings began to emerge that substituted for the unpaid domestic tasks once performed in the home. Fast food franchises, childcare facilities, adult day centers, and hospices were among the inadvertent spatial consequences of the second wave.