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Social Sciences > Sociology > Urban Sociology
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.
For decades, a succession of military regimes and democratic governments in Brazil sought to shape the future of their society through the manipulation of urban spaces. Planned cities were built that reflected the ideals of high modernism, and urban designers and planners created clean-cut minimalist spaces that reflected the hope for an idyllic future in a still-developing nation. But these cities were criticized as "utopian dreams" in a country plagued with the urban realities of rampant sprawl and the infamous slums known as favelas.
In this international collection of essays, architects, urban planners, and scholars assess the legacy of Brazilian urbanism to date. They evaluate the country's experiments with modernism and examine how Brazilian cities are regenerating themselves within a democratic political framework that meets market and social demands, and respects place, culture, and history.
The Politics of Recovery in New York City
Few public projects have ever dealt with economic and emotional issues as large as those surrounding the rebuilding of lower Manhattan following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Picking up the pieces involved substantial challenges: deciding how to memorialize one of America's greatest tragedies, how to balance the legal claim of landowners against the moral claim of survivors who want a say in the future of Ground Zero, and how to rebuild the Trade Center site while preserving the sacredness and solemnity that Americans now attribute to the area. All the while, the governor, the mayor, the Port Authority, and the leaseholder competed with one another to advance their own interests and visions of the redevelopment, while at least leaving the impression that the decisions were the public's to make. In Contentious City, editor John Mollenkopf and a team of leading scholars analyze the wide-ranging political dimensions of the recovery process.
Contentious City takes an in-depth look at the competing interests and demands of the numerous stakeholders who have sought to influence the direction of the recovery process. Lynne Sagalyn addresses the complicated institutional politics behind the rebuilding, which involve a newly formed development commission seeking legitimacy, a two-state transportation agency whose brief venture into land ownership puts it in control of the world's most famous 16 acres of land, and a private business group whose affiliation with the World Trade Center places it squarely in a fight for billions of dollars in insurance funds. Arielle Goldberg profiles five civic associations that sprouted up to voice public opinion about the redevelopment process. While the groups did not gain much leverage over policy outcomes, Goldberg argues that they were influential in steering the agenda of decision-makers and establishing what values would be prioritized in the development plans. James Young, a member of the jury that selected the design for the World Trade Center site memorial, discusses the challenge of trying to simultaneously memorialize a tragic event, while helping those who suffered find renewal and move on with their lives. Editor John Mollenkopf contributes a chapter on how the September 11 terrorist attacks altered the course of politics in New York, and how politicians at the city and state level adapted to the new political climate after 9/11 to win elected office.
Moving forward after the destruction of the Twin Towers was a daunting task, made more difficult by the numerous competing claims on the site, and the varied opinions on how it should be used in the future. Contentious City brings together the voices surrounding this intense debate, and helps make sense of the rival interests vying for control over one of the most controversial urban development programs in history.
A Russell Sage Foundation September 11 Initiative Volume
Contestations of Memory in Southeast Asia applies a new theoretical literature on social memory to remembered eveents in Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Highlighting connections between theorizing based on European examples and unresolved memory issues in East and Southeast Asia, the authors show how comparative study of the interpenetration of politics and lived bodily experience, of communal and personal memories, and of dominant and suppressed narratives, can yield insights into the human potential to become either perpetrators, victims or bystanders. The memories found within different groups in any society are open to negotiation, suppression, contestation, or revision in the ever-evolving politics of the present. The searching and close-grained analyses of contemporary issues found in the volume vividly illustrate the essentially plural and multivocal nature of social memories, and demonstrate the intricate connection between transnational, national and sub-national politics. Readers seeking a more nuanced and complex understanding of the past and of its continued relevance to the present and future, will find here much food for thought.
The Limits and Potential of Local Organizing
What do community organizations and organizers do, and what should they do? Contesting Community addresses one of the vital issues of our day-the role and meaning of community in people's lives and in the larger political economy. It paints a more critical picture of community work which, according to the authors-in both theory and practice-has amounted to less than the sum of its parts. Their comparative study of efforts in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada describes and analyzes the limits and potential of this work.
A Comparative Study of Life in Poor Urban Neighborhoods in Gary, Indiana
While the negative effects of urban poverty are well documented, the everyday experiences of urban residents are often absent or secondary in urban studies research. The Cost of Being Poor rectifies this problem by examining both the noneconomic and the often-overlooked economic costs faced by residents of poor urban neighborhoods in Gary, Indiana. Using census, regional, and local data, and in-depth interviews with the residents of Gary, Sandra L. Barnes argues that many people incur costs resulting from the dual dilemma of being poor and residing in a poor urban area. She explores how factors such as race/ethnicity, neighborhood type, and location influence residents’ views, coping strategies, and unconventional approaches toward making ends meet. Well written and accessible, this study of Gary’s poor urban neighborhoods offers broad findings that apply to other similarly impoverished Rust Belt cities.