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Social Sciences > Sociology > Urban Sociology
Making Do in a City without Services
For ten years James Robertson walked the twenty-one-mile round-trip from his Detroit home to his factory job; when his story went viral, it brought him an outpouring of attention and support. But what of Robertson’s Detroit neighbors, likewise stuck in a blighted city without services as basic as a bus line? What they’re left with, after decades of disinvestment and decline, is DIY urbanism—sweeping their own streets, maintaining public parks, planting community gardens, boarding up empty buildings, even acting as real estate agents and landlords for abandoned homes.
DIY Detroit describes a phenomenon that, in our times of austerity measures and market-based governance, has become woefully routine as inhabitants of deteriorating cities “domesticate” public services in order to get by. The voices that animate this book humanize Detroit’s troubles—from a middle-class African American civic activist drawn back by a crisis of conscience; to a young Latina stay-at-home mom who has never left the city and whose husband works in construction; to a European woman with a mixed-race adopted family and a passion for social reform, who introduces a chicken coop, goat shed, and market garden into the neighborhood. These people show firsthand how living with disinvestment means getting organized to manage public works on a neighborhood scale, helping friends and family members solve logistical problems, and promoting creativity, compassion, and self-direction as an alternative to broken dreams and passive lifestyles.
Kimberley Kinder reveals how the efforts of these Detroiters and others like them create new urban logics and transform the expectations residents have about their environments. At the same time she cautions against romanticizing such acts, which are, after all, short-term solutions to a deep and spreading social injustice that demands comprehensive change.
The Sociospatial Exclusion of Homeless People
Drawing on fascinating ethnographic insights, von Mahs shows how homeless people in both cities face sociospatial exclusion-legal displacement for criminal activities, poor shelters in impoverished neighborhoods, as well as market barriers that restrict reintegration. Providing a necessary wake-up call, Down and Out in Los Angeles and Berlin addresses the critical public policy issues that can produce effective services to improve homeless people's chances for a lasting exit.
Geographies of Race in Black Liverpool
The port city of Liverpool, England, is home to one of the oldest Black communities in Britain. Its members proudly date their history back at least as far as the nineteenth century, with the global wanderings and eventual settlement of colonial African seamen. Jacqueline Nassy Brown analyzes how this worldly origin story supports an avowedly local Black politic and identity--a theme that becomes a window onto British politics of race, place, and nation, and Liverpool's own contentious origin story as a gloriously cosmopolitan port of world-historical import that was nonetheless central to British slave trading and imperialism.
This ethnography also examines the rise and consequent dilemmas of Black identity. It captures the contradictions of diaspora in postcolonial Liverpool, where African and Afro-Caribbean heritages and transnational linkages with Black America both contribute to and compete with the local as a basis for authentic racial identity. Crisscrossing historical periods, rhetorical modes, and academic genres, the book focuses singularly on "place," enabling its most radical move: its analysis of Black racial politics as enactments of English cultural premises. The insistent focus on English culture implies a further twist. Just as Blacks are racialized through appeals to their assumed Afro-Caribbean and African cultures, so too has Liverpool--an Irish, working-class city whose expansive port faces the world beyond Britain--long been beyond the pale of dominant notions of authentic Englishness. Dropping Anchor, Setting Sail studies "race" through clashing constructions of "Liverpool."
Restructuring New York
Have the last two decades produced a New York composed of two separate and unequal cities? As the contributors to Dual City reveal, the complexity of inequality in New York defies simple distinctions between black and white, the Yuppies and the homeless. The city's changing economic structure has intersected with an increasingly diversified population, providing upward mobility for some groups while isolating others. As race, gender, ethnicity, and class become ever more critical components of the postindustrial city, the New York experience illuminates not just one great city, or indeed all large cities, but the forces affecting most of the globe.
"The authors constitute an impressive assemblage of seasoned scholars, representing a wide array of pertinent disciplines. Their product is a pioneering volume in the social sciences and urban studies...the 20-page bibliography is a major research tool on its own." —Choice
Exposing local struggles over power and meaning in the making and representation of Dubai, Kanna examines the core questions of what gets built and for whom. His work, unique in its view of the interconnectedness of cultural identity, the built environment, and politics, offers an instructive picture of how different factions—from local and non-Arab residents and expatriate South Asians to the cultural and economic elites of the city—have all participated in the creation and marketing of Dubai. The result is an unparalleled account of the ways in which the built environment shapes and is shaped by the experience of globalization and neoliberalism in a diverse, multinational city.
Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai
In the center of Mumbai, next to the city’s newest and most expensive commercial developments, lies one of Asia’s largest slums, where as many as one million squatters live in makeshift housing on one square mile of government land. This is the notorious Dharavi district, best known from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. In recent years, cities from Delhi to Rio de Janeiro have demolished similar slums, at times violently evicting their residents, to make way for development. But Dharavi and its residents have endured for a century, holding on to what is now some of Mumbai’s most valuable land.
In The Durable Slum, Liza Weinstein draws on a decade of work, including more than a year of firsthand research in Dharavi, to explain how, despite innumerable threats, the slum has persisted for so long, achieving a precarious stability. She describes how economic globalization and rapid urban development are pressuring Indian authorities to eradicate and redevelop Dharavi—and how political conflict, bureaucratic fragmentation, and community resistance have kept the bulldozers at bay. Today the latest ambitious plan for Dharavi’s transformation has been stalled, yet the threat of eviction remains, and most residents and observers are simply waiting for the project to be revived or replaced by an even grander scheme.
Dharavi’s remarkable story presents important lessons for a world in which most population growth happens in urban slums even as brutal removals increase. From Nairobi’s Kibera to Manila’s Tondo, megaslums may be more durable than they appear, their residents retaining a fragile but hard-won right to stay put.
Placing Nostalgia, Desire, and Hope
Ecologies of Affect offers a synthetic introduction to the felt dynamics of cities and the character of places. The contributors capture the significance of affects including desire, nostalgia, memory, and hope in forming the identity and tone of places. The critical intervention this collection of essays makes is an active, consistent engagement with the virtualities that produce and refract our idealized attachments to place. Contributors show how place images, and attempts to build communities, are, rather than abstractions, fundamentally tied to and revolve around such intangibles. We understand nostalgia, desire, and hope as virtual; that is, even though they are not material, they are nevertheless real and must be accounted for. In this book, the authors take up affect, emotion, and emplacement and consider them in relation to one another and how they work to produce and are produced by certain temporal and spatial dimensions.
The aim of the book is to inspire readers to consider space and place beyond their material properties and attend to the imaginary places and ideals that underpin and produce material places and social spaces. This collection will be useful to practitioners and students seeking to understand the power of affect and the importance of virtualities within contemporary societies, where intangible goods have taken on an increasing value.
The Evolution of Religious Institutions
Ecologies of Faith in New York City examines patterns of interreligious cooperation and conflict in New York City. It explores how representative congregations in this religiously diverse city interact with their surroundings by competing for members, seeking out niches, or cooperating via coalitions and neighborhood organizations. Based on in-depth research in New York's ethnically mixed and rapidly changing neighborhoods, the essays in the volume describe how religious institutions shape and are shaped by their environments, what new roles they have assumed, and how they relate to other religious groups in the community.
The Pursuit of an Equity Agenda
Economic Development in American Cities addresses the roles of municipal leaders and civic partners in promoting social equity by examining the experiences of five American cities in the 1990s—Austin, Cleveland, Rochester, Savannah, and Seattle. These five cities were chosen for their activist municipal administrations, robust policy agendas, and viable partnerships. Contributors familiar with each city evaluate the impact of equity investments and extract lessons for municipal leaders and policy agendas. Building on the past experiences of progressive cities, each case study city offers fresh perspectives and examples, told through a rigorous analysis of socioeconomic data and program outcomes combined with engaging stories about specific municipal administrations and policy agendas.
Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Urban Politics
Focusing on four medium-sized northeastern cities with strong political traditions, Electoral Politics Is Not Enough analyzes conditions under which white leaders respond to and understand minority interests. Peter F. Burns argues that conventional explanations, including the size of the minority electorate, the socioeconomic status of the citizenry, and the percentage of minority elected officials do not account for variations in white leaders’ understanding of and receptiveness toward African American and Latino interests. Drawing upon interviews with more than 200 white and minority local leaders, and through analysis of local education and public safety policies, he finds that unconventional channels, namely neighborhood groups and community-based organizations, strongly influence the representation of minority interests.