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Looking Back to See Forward
New Urban Development traces how locally induced housing cost increases led federal policy-makers to toss out the safeguards against lending excesses that had been put in place during the 1930s. But the story begins much earlier, during the colonial era, continuing up through the mortgage collapse that ushered in the recession of 2008. This history of these issues considers gentrification, environmentalism, sprawl, anti-sprawl movements, and more, and specifies thirteen changes to policies at the federal, state, and local levels to provide better and less expensive urban housing, desirable neighborhoods, and thriving workplaces across the country.
Inner-Ring Suburbs of the Metropolitan United States
How Local Congregations Support Quality of Life in Urban America
For people living in U.S. cities, social services come not only from the government but increasingly also from local religious communities. Ever since the Clinton administration's welfare reform, faith-based institutions, and especially congregations, have been allowed to bid for federal funds for their programs. In The Other Philadelphia Story, drawing on the first-ever census of congregations in any American city, Ram Cnaan and his colleagues provide an authoritative account of the functioning of congregations, their involvement in social services, and their support of other charitable organizations.
An in-depth study of 1,392 congregations in Philadelphia, the book illuminates how these groups function as community hubs where members and neighbors alike gather throughout the week. Cnaan's findings show that almost every assembly of parishioners emphasizes caring for others, even if the help is modest. Thus American congregations uphold an implicit but strong norm of social responsibility and work to improve the quality of life for members and nonmembers alike.
Many of the problems associated with urban life persist in the face of governmental inaction, and the burden of responsibility cannot be shouldered entirely by congregations. However, in a city such as Philadelphia, where half the residents are regular attenders of religious congregations, hopes for urban improvement are largely to be found in these local groups.
Special focus is given in the book to kinds of care that often go unnoticed: volunteerism, provision of refuge, and informal assistance to community members in need. All told, Cnaan asserts, congregations are an essential component of Philadelphia's civil society. Without them, the quality of life would deteriorate immeasurably.
A James Boggs Reader
Born in the rural American south, James Boggs lived nearly his entire adult life in Detroit and worked as a factory worker for twenty-eight years while immersing himself in the political struggles of the industrial urban north. During and after the years he spent in the auto industry, Boggs wrote two books, co-authored two others, and penned dozens of essays, pamphlets, reviews, manifestos, and newspaper columns to become known as a pioneering revolutionary theorist and community organizer. In Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook: A James Boggs Reader, editor Stephen M. Ward collects a diverse sampling of pieces by Boggs, spanning the entire length of his career from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook is arranged in four chronological parts that document Boggs’s activism and writing. Part 1 presents columns from Correspondence newspaper written during the 1950s and early 1960s. Part 2 presents the complete text of Boggs’s first book, The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook, his most widely known work. In part 3, “Black Power—Promise, Pitfalls, and Legacies,” Ward collects essays, pamphlets, and speeches that reflect Boggs’s participation in and analysis of the origins, growth, and demise of the Black Power movement. Part 4 comprises pieces written in the last decade of Boggs’s life, during the 1980s through the early 1990s. An introduction by Ward provides a detailed overview of Boggs’s life and career, and an afterword by Grace Lee Boggs, James Boggs’s wife and political partner, concludes this volume. Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook documents Boggs’s personal trajectory of political engagement and offers a unique perspective on radical social movements and the African American struggle for civil rights in the post–World War II years. Readers interested in political and ideological struggles of the twentieth century will find Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook to be fascinating reading.
How Cyclists are Changing American Cities
In a world of increasing traffic congestion, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on city streets. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities. explores the growing bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities, suburbs, and small towns across North America.
From traffic-dodging bike messengers to tattooed teenagers on battered bikes, from riders in spandex to well-dressed executives, ordinary citizens are becoming transportation revolutionaries. Jeff Mapes traces the growth of bicycle advocacy and explores the environmental, safety, and health aspects of bicycling. He rides with bicycle advocates who are taming the streets of New York City, joins the street circus that is Critical Mass in San Francisco, and gets inspired by the everyday folk pedaling in Amsterdam, the nirvana of American bike activists. Chapters focused on big cities, college towns, and America’s most successful bike city, Portland, show how cyclists, with the encouragement of local officials, are claiming a share of the valuable streetscape
A Social Study
In 1897 the promising young sociologist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868-1963) was given a temporary post as Assistant in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in order to conduct in-depth studies of the Negro community in Philadelphia. The product of those studies was the first great empirical book on the Negro in American society.
More than one hundred years after its original publication by the University of Pennsylvania Press, The Philadelphia Negro remains a classic work. It is the first, and perhaps still the finest, example of engaged sociological scholarship—the kind of work that, in contemplating social reality, helps to change it.
In his introduction, Elijah Anderson examines how the neighborhood studied by Du Bois has changed over the years and compares the status of blacks today with their status when the book was initially published.
Gender, Race, and Justice in Syracuse
Faith holds up a photo of the boarded-up, vacant house: “It’s the first thing I see. And I just call it ‘the Homeless House’ cause it’s the house that nobody fixes up.” Faith is one of fourteen women living in Syracuse’s Southside, a predominantly African-American and low-income area, who took photographs of their environment and displayed their images to facilitate dialogues about how they viewed their community. A Place We Call Home chronicles this photography project and bears witness not only to the environmental injustice experienced by these women but also to the ways in which they maintain dignity and restore order in a community where they have traditionally had little control. To understand the present plight of these women, one must understand the historical and political context in which certain urban neighborhoods were formed: Black migration, urban renewal, white flight, capital expansion, and then bust. Ducre demonstrates how such political and economic forces created a landscape of abandoned housing within the Southside community. She shines a spotlight on the impact of this blight upon the female residents who survive in this crucible of neglect. A Place We Call Home is the first case study of the intersection of Black feminism and environmental justice, and it is also the first book-length presentation using Photovoice methodology, an innovative research strategy that utilizes photographic images taken by individuals with little money, power, or status to enhance community needs assessments and to empower participants. Through a cogent combination of words and images, this book illuminates how these women manage their daily survival in degraded environments, the tools that they deploy to do so, and how they act as agents of change to transform their communities.
Subsidized Housing in Chicago
Chicago seems an ideal environment for public housing because of the city’s relatively young age among major cities and well-deserved reputation for technology, innovation, and architecture. Yet The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago shows that the city’s experience on the whole has been a negative one, raising serious questions about the nature of subsidized housing and whether we should have it and, if so, in what form.
Bowly, a native of the city, provides a detailed examination of subsidized housing in the nation’s third-largest city. Now in its second edition, The Poorhouse looks at the history of public housing and subsidized housing in Chicago from 1895 to the present day. Five new chapters that cover the decline and federal takeover of the Chicago Housing Authority, and its more recent “transformation,” which involved the demolition of the CHA family high-rise buildings and in some cases their replacement with low-risemixed income housing on the same sites. Fifty new photos supplement this edition.
Environmental Activism in South Los Angeles
In the late 1990s, when California's deregulation of the production and sale of electric power created massive energy shortages a group of environmental justice activists, largely high school students, blocked construction of a power plant in their working-class Mexican and Central American neighborhoods. Power Politics is a study of a grassroots campaign where longtime labor and environmental allies found themselves on opposite sides of a conflict pitting good jobs against good air. Karen Brodkin analyzes how those issues came to be opposed and unpacks the racial and class dynamics that shape Americans' grasp of labor and environmental issues.
Gang and Non-Gang Families in East Los Angeles
The Pico Gardens housing development in East Los Angeles has a high percentage of resident families with a history of persistent poverty, gang involvement, and crime. In some families, members of three generations have belonged to gangs. Many other Pico Gardens families, however, have managed to avoid the cycle of gang involvement. In this work, Vigil adds to the tradition of poverty research and elaborates on the association of family dynamics and gang membership. The main objective of his research was to discover what factors make some families more vulnerable to gang membership, and why gang resistance was evidenced in similarly situated non-gang-involved families. Providing rich, in-depth interviews and observations, Vigil examines the wide variations in income and social capital that exist among the ostensibly poor, mostly Mexican American residents. Vigil documents how families connect and interact with social agencies in greater East Los Angeles to help chart the routines and rhythms of the lives of public housing residents. He presents family life histories to augment and provide texture to the quantitative information. By studying life in Pico Gardens, Vigil feels we can better understand how human agency interacts with structural factors to produce the reality that families living in all public housing developments must contend with daily.