UNIT: Why Cities? The Importance of Cities
Why Cities Matter, Edward Glaeser, The New Republic, 2010
Why are cities important? Cities represent agglomerations of people and economic activity, pockets of density that facilitate interaction and spur commercial and industrial development. In his book review of Chicago: A Biography, Glaeser argues that cities provide the spaces in which technological innovation and entrepreneurship occur. Chicago's history as a port of immigration has also added to the city's diversity, a key to its entrepreneurial and cultural vitality.
The Metropolitan Moment, Bruce Katz, The Atlantic: Cities, 2011
Katz views metropolitan areas—cities and their suburbs—as the engines of national economic prosperity, the hubs in which technological advancement, public–private collaborations, and job growth occur. Katz argues for federal and state programs that will enable cities to continue to "grow jobs."
UNIT: The Contemporary Urban Situation: The Growth, Decline, and Renaissance of Cities
Then & Now: 1940–2010: How Has America Changed? United States Census Bureau, 2012
The 2010 U.S. Census underscores important changes in urban geography that have taken place over the last three-quarters of a century. Urban centers in the Northeast and the Midwest have declined as population has shifted to the Sunbelt, that is, to the South and the West. Immigration from Mexico, other countries in Latin America, and Asia, has added to the racial and ethnic diversity of cities and suburbs. The United States has become a post-industrial society, with growth occurring in knowledge-based industries. Can older manufacturing cities find new roles to play in a post-industrial economy?
Eds, Meds and Urban Revival, Rob Gurwitt, Governing, 2008
The loss of manufacturing jobs forced cities to undertake efforts to diversify their employment base. Large medical complexes and urban universities are major employers in the post-industrial city. Birmingham, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh have placed their new hopes on "Eds and Meds" to provide the research, talent, and competitive edge that will attract businesses and breathe new life into core urban areas.
Can They Save Youngstown? Brentin Mock, Next American City Magazine, 2008
A large number of once-important industrial cities are facing a harsh new urban reality: They have lost both jobs and population that cannot be recovered. The crisis in the housing finance sector of the early 2000s further burdened these cities with the costs of taking care of vacant properties. Youngstown—like Detroit, Cleveland, Dayton, and New Orleans—has responded with a creative policy of planned urban shrinkage, tearing down abandoned structures and attempting to repurpose vacant properties. Youngstown and numerous other cities have turned to greening the city, promoting community gardens, urban agriculture, and the enhancement of parks and bikeways that will help make the city more attractive to residents and prospective employers.
Predatory Lending: Redlining in Reverse, Gregory D. Squires, Shelterforce, 2005
What caused the crisis in the subprime housing market, the flood of foreclosures on housing loans that devastated communities across the United States in the early twenty-first century? Conservative commentators blame the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) with its requirements that lending institutions make loans in inner-city areas. But is it fair to place such blame on the CRA, which was in existence for a quarter of a century before the home foreclosure crisis occurred? Squires points out that many of the foreclosures involved condominiums and expensive homes, properties where lending was not subject to CRA regulation. Squires argues that Republican-era deregulation, the loosening of government rules, enabled more unscrupulous lenders to employ deceptive and predatory lending practices that saddled borrowers with added costs and balloon payments and other repayment conditions that home owners could not meet.
Out of Cash: The End of the Nation's Largest Redevelopment Program, Josh Stephens, Next American City, 2012
Cities in the United States in the early 2000s were caught in a fiscal vice: In the midst of a prolonged economic recession, they faced new service demands from citizens at a time when property tax revenues and intergovernmental assistance (state and federal aid) were receding. In California, various state constitutional amendments impeded budget making by making it virtually impossible for state and local governments to raise taxes, even in response to growing need. Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state had no real alternative but to make major cuts in urban aid programs. California eliminated state funding for local economic development programs that had previously served to promote the revitalization of troubled communities.
Bridge Blockade after Katrina Remains Divisive Issue, Chris Kirkham and Paul Purpura, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 2007
Patterns of residential segregation in U.S. cities have clearly decreased over the years. But has the United States moved beyond issues of "race"? Or does race continue to influence the shape of American urban development to a greater extent than is commonly perceived? What exactly happened when, in the midst of Hurricane Katrina, a group of African-American evacuees attempted to flee flood-ravaged New Orleans by walking across the bridge to safety in suburban Gretna?
UNIT: Gentrification, Globalization, and the City
Movers & Shakers: How Immigrants Are Reviving Neighborhoods Given up for Dead, Joel Kotkin, Reason Magazine, 2000
Immigrants in Los Angeles and other cities are breathing new life into core neighborhoods that were suffering decline. Immigrant entrepreneurs are important assets in contemporary urban economies, providing just one illustration of how globalization affects cities.
Swoons Over Miami, Saskia Sassen, interview by Christina Larson, Foreign Policy, 2010
Saskia Sassen is one of the foremost writers on the subject of globalization and its impact on urban economies. Sassen identifies a number of the distinguishing features of a global city. She observes how Miami, once a rather provincial southern city, has been energized by many facets of globalization. Sassen further explains why, despite their giant size, she does not consider Lagos (Nigeria) and a number of megacities to be true global cities.
Outsourcing: Beyond Bangalore, Rachael King, Bloomberg Businessweek Special Report, 2006
Bangalore is the computer and information technology center of India. In his book The World is Flat (2005), Thomas Friedman describes how digital technology facilitates outsourcing, how corporations have been able to shift back-office jobs and other clerical work to low-cost sites overseas. Bangalore became a city of call centers, where English-speaking service representatives answered questions from consumers in the United States and other English-speaking nations. U.S. cities increasingly face economic competition not just from cities in India but also from even lower-wage sites in other countries.
China Makes, the World Takes, James Fallows, The Atlantic Magazine, 2007
China has become the world's factory, with low-wage city factories turning out goods that were once manufactured in more developed countries. Shenzhen has been transformed by policies in China that have emphasized rapid industrialization and urbanization. Once a rural area outside of Hong Kong, Shenzhen is now a city of 10 million people, a major center of manufacturing, port activity, and international finance. Fallows describes the forces of a competitive global marketplace and the policy steps that China has taken that have made it easy for manufacturers to shift production to China.
The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida, Perseus Books, 2002
Economist Richard Florida argues that the most successful cities often owe their dynamism to their ability to attract young, talented, and creative professionals, a group he labels the creative class. He argues that knowledge workers seek living environments that offer not only access to good jobs but also a surfeit of lifestyle amenities and recreational activities. Successful cities are places of tolerance, with an openness that attracts creative individuals. Success in attracting creative professionals, in turn, helps to make a city more attractive to new knowledge-based firms.
Studies: Gentrification a Boost for Everyone, Rick Hampson, USA Today, 2005
Gentrification—the "discovery" and resettlement of inner-city neighborhoods by urban professionals—is often criticized for displacement, for generating pressures that force out racial minorities and the poor who can no longer afford the rents in newly fashionable areas. Urban planning professor Lance Freeman, however, argues that the ills attributed to gentrification are often exaggerated. Freeman further argues that neighborhood upgrading brings new opportunities, including improved public safety and upgraded municipal services that benefit the poor who continue to reside in the area. Freeman's perspective is hotly contested. Freemans' critics charge that his analysis understates the extent of displacement while overstating the benefits that gentrification brings to the poor.
UNIT: Competitive Pressures and Economic Development
Stop the Subsidy-Sucking Sports Stadiums, Neil deMause, The Nation, 2011
Business leaders often argue that a new sports stadium can be the key to a city's rebirth. Yet, other studies reveal that public investment in a new sports stadium is likely to have only a minimal economic impact on a city's economy. Sports-related investment may even divert public funding and customer activity away from other sections of the city. Still, franchise owners raise the specter of relocation as part of their campaign to leverage substantial tax breaks and other public concessions for stadium projects. DeMause points to how a city's growth coalition—the real estate developers, downtown business owners, and labor unions that stand to benefit from downtown growth projects—have been able to influence public decisions relating to stadium development.
"A Lot of Hooey": Heywood Sanders on Convention Center Economics, Neil deMause, Field of Schemes, 2004
In city after city, seemingly impressive studies prepared by consultants and financial experts have helped convince city officials to invest in new sports arenas, convention centers, and other growth projects. These studies often argue that a facility like a convention center will "pay for itself." Critics, however, point to the partiality of studies that have been prepared by the hired guns of the growth coalition. Convention centers rarely attract the full range of shows and the levels of attendance that the consultants predict. The taxpayer winds up contributing annual subsidies to keep the facilities open, a policy that Sanders labels hotel socialism, as governments are asked to fund activities that private investors are unwilling to pay for themselves.
Eminent Domain Revisited, Mark Berkey-Gerard, Gotham Gazette, 2005
Governments have the power of eminent domain, the authority to "take" private property for a "public purpose," paying fair compensation to a property owner. But can government take one person's property in order to give it to a different private owner or developer who promises that a new project will bring jobs to a city? The U.S. Supreme Court, in its Kelo decision, declared that such a government taking of property is indeed constitutional, as municipalities perform a legitimate public purpose when they promote local investment and job creation. Yet, the justices also pointed out that each state may limit the eminent domain takings of its cities as, in terms of constitutional law, cities are the administrative subunits of the state. Since the Court's Kelo decision, the overwhelming majority of the states have enacted new restrictions on property takings by local governments.
From Metropolitans to Megapolitans, Robert Lang and Christina Nicholas, Citiwire, 2012
In a competitive economic world, how does a city "win" the competition for new jobs? Lang and Nicholas argue that Americans need to move beyond their focus on only their hometown or even their immediate metropolitan area. The authors contend that American cities will only reach their full economic potential when the necessary steps are taken to enhance the productive capacity of megapolitan areas and regions—the interconnected networks of cities, suburbs, and more far-flung communities that comprise an economic region. Lang and Nicholas further argue that a high-speed rail system will increase the interaction among a region's managers, scientists, financiers, and knowledge workers, making cities throughout the megapolitan region more attractive to outside investors.
What California Can Learn from Spain's High-Speed Rail, Tim Sheehan, The Fresno Bee, 2012
Spain built a high-speed rail (HSR) system as part of the country's effort to link cities that were hosting the Olympic Games and other important international events. What can California and other states learn from Spain's HSR experience? What are the key design factors that attract HSR ridership? What are the mistakes that California should try to avoid in its efforts to establish an HSR system?
UNIT: Citizen Participation
Jane Jacobs' Radical Legacy, Peter Dreier, Shelterforce, 2006
Jane Jacobs was a citizen-activist who changed the field of urban planning. Starting in New York in the 1950s and 1960s and continuing over the decades in her adopted home of Toronto, Jacobs fought to protect neighborhoods threatened by new development. She led protests against the "urban bulldozer," the urban renewal and urban highway projects that tore the heart out of residential neighborhoods. Such projects ruptured the social fabric of family ties and community networks that held poor and working-class communities together. Jacobs fought to preserve low-rise communities where residents get to know and care for one another and where residents and shopkeepers provided the eyes on the street that helped prevent crime. Jacobs's critique led to a new recognition of the critical importance of participatory processes, the need to involve residents in the making of decisions that have such a direct impact on their lives.
Where Do We Fit in? CDCs and the Emerging Shrinking City Movement, Alan Mallach, Shelter Force, 2011
In recent decades, community development corporations (CDCs) have been seen as the "good news" in urban affairs. CDCs serve as advocates of disadvantaged communities, helping to forge partnerships with private corporations, banks, and government agencies in order to finance the construction of new units of affordable housing, health clinics, supermarkets, and other important neighborhood facilities. But the early 2000s, however, found CDCs operating in a new and more difficult environment. In times of resource scarcity and amid plans that call for the "shrinking" of cities, CDCs have had to rethink their roles in order to find new ways to be of service to core-city neighborhoods.
UNIT: School Choice and School Reform
Charter Schools, Gail Robinson, Gotham Gazette, 2005
Cities across the nation continue to expand the number of charter schools, a popular education reform measure. Advocates argue that the creation of charter schools gives students (and their parents) new choices, liberating them from their dependence on underperforming conventional public schools. Advocates further argue that the rise of innovative charter academies will lead to a new sense of competition that will spur more conventional city schools to shake up their usual ways of doing things. Yet, critics worry that public funding of charter academies may drain the resources available for the education of students who are left behind in a city's conventional public schools.
The Performance of Charter Schools in Wisconsin, John Witte et al., La Follette Public Policy Report, University of Wisconsin, 2007
School choice programs offer parents and students an alternative to the traditional public schools. But do choice programs produce the educational gains that their backers widely promise? John Witte examines the evidence on the educational impacts of Wisconsin's charter schools, noting both their successes and limitations.
‘Why Don't We Have Any White Kids?' N. R. Kleinfield, The New York Times, 2012
What effect does school choice have on the racial composition of school populations? School choice advocates argue that programs like charter schools will lead to higher levels of racial integration, as parents of all races will willingly send their children to a quality school where all enrollees share a common interest. Yet, the experience of New York City shows that much depends on local circumstances. A troubling number of charter schools exhibit severe racial isolation, adding to the resegregation of the local public schools.
Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools, Stephanie Saul, The New York Times, 2012
Reform advocates argue that school choice programs will increase the options available to racial minorities and the poor. Yet, critics point to publicly funded educational scholarships and tax credits for education programs that have wound up aiding religiously oriented schools and subsidizing the choices of more affluent families while doing relatively little to assist racial minorities and the poor.
Here Comes the Neighborhood, Damien Jackson, In These Times, 2002
Charlotte, North Carolina, was once a national leader in the effort to dismantle the racial segregation of public schools. But in more recent years, the national commitment to desegregation has largely faded. Statistical evidence points to the resegregation of schools, both in Charlotte and metropolitan areas across the nation. U.S. Supreme Court decisions, beginning with the 1974 Millikin v. Bradley decision, have imposed severe limits on the ability of cities to desegregate the public schools. In Charlotte, African-American parents have come to accept the continuing reality of school segregation and have turned their attention to improving the condition of inner-city schools.
Schools Seek New Diversity Answers after Court Rejects Race as Tiebreaker, Jessica Blanchard and Christine Frey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2007
Americans have little enthusiasm for mandatory school desegregation efforts. With the virtual end of forced school busing, local school leaders turned to the creation of magnet schools, with the expectation that a number of parents would voluntarily send their children to racially integrated schools that offered a high-quality, specialized curriculum. But parents of white children cried reverse discrimination in cities where their sons and daughters had a difficult time gaining admittance to such special schools as a result of policies designed to maintain a racially diverse student body. The Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that a child's race cannot be a major factor when educational officials decide on a child's school assignment.
Integrating Suburban Schools: How to Benefit from Growing Diversity and Avoid Segregation, The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, UCLA, 2011
The Civil Rights Project's "Fact Sheet" provides statistical evidence that documents the resegregation of the nation's public schools. The problem of racially isolated classrooms is increasingly found in suburban—not just in central-city—schools. Although Supreme Court decisions have imposed severe limits on the use of magnet schools for racial integration, the Civil Rights Project argues that the Court's rulings still permit local school districts to initiate narrowly tailored magnet school programs and other pro-integration measures.
UNIT: Policing and Crime
Broken Windows, James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, The Atlantic, 1982
How can a city reduce crime? James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling developed a strategy known as broken-windows policing. They argue that the small things count. When the police emphasize order maintenance, cracking down on such minor matters as graffiti and turnstile jumping in the subway, they win the public's confidence and send a clear message to miscreants: Violations of the law will not be tolerated!
How an Idea Drew People Back to Urban Life, James Q. Wilson, The New York Sun, 2002
Wilson argues that law enforcement officials should not focus solely on major crimes; rather, police departments need to devote disproportionate attention to the small incidents of disorder that detract from the quality of urban life. Wilson was one of the original theorists behind broken-windows policing, the approach to order maintenance that brought great renown to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the city's police chiefs. Wilson argues that the broken-windows approach resulted in a noteworthy drop in the city's crime rate, generating a new sense of public safety that laid the groundwork for New York's economic revival.
California Cities Gang Prevention Network Promising Developments for Sustainability of Local Efforts, Andrew Moore, National League of Cities, 2012
The early evidence from Los Angeles, Sacramento, Salinas, and other California cities shows the promise inherent in targeted gang reduction strategies, including supervised recreation, drug education programs, literacy efforts, and other interventions aimed at deterring youth from joining gangs. The programs also seek to increase the sense of trust that low-income youth and their families have in the police.
UNIT: A Suburban Nation: Suburban Growth, Diversity, and the Possibilities of "New Urbanism" and "New Regionalism"
The Six Suburban Eras of the United States, Robert Lang, Jennifer LeFurgy, and Arthur C. Nelson, Opolis: An International Journal of Suburban and Metropolitan Studies, 2006
"Suburbia" cannot be stereotyped as a string of homogenous, affluent white communities. In the United States suburbia has evolved from the streetcar suburbs and bedroom communities of earlier eras to become the present-day New Metropolis with a diversity of population and landscapes. Suburbia includes immigrant communities, aging first-generation suburbs, and pockets of poverty as well as more affluent favored-quarter communities and the corporate office parks and shopping malls of edge cities.
Why Regions Fail: Zoning as an Extractive Institution, Jonathan Rothwell, Brookings Up Front, 2012
Zoning is an important tool that enables communities to prevent incompatible land uses. Zoning, for instance, enables communities to separate residential and industrial activities. More affluent suburbs, however, also use zoning to maintain their exclusivity. Large-lot zoning and other exclusionary land-use practices have destructive social effects. Such restriction acts to limit housing production, reinforce class stratification and racial segregation, lock families inside the more troubled portions of the metropolis, and deny working-class and poorer children the educational opportunities enjoyed by children who attend schools in wealthier communities.
Patio Man and the Sprawl People: America's Newest Suburbs, David Brooks, The Weekly Standard, 2002
Many suburbanites, especially in the sprinkler cities of the Southwest, find refuge in their homes and backyards. These suburbanites value independence and individualism. They resist government intervention, increases in taxation, and the efforts of social activists and public planners to build a better "community."
Affluent, but Needy (First Suburbs), Bruce Katz and Robert Puentes, Newsday, 2006
Suburbia is not uniformly prosperous. Many of the nation's first suburbs—older communities adjacent to central cities—are exhibiting new signs of weakness: deteriorating infrastructure, a glut of housing vacancies, a rise in joblessness due to plant closings, and a shrinking tax base. Declining suburbs need the help of supportive government policies. Katz explores the potential for coalition building among first suburbs and central cities.
Regional Coalition-Building and the Inner Suburbs, Myron Orfield, Shelterforce, 1998
Can cities and suburbs cooperate to solve problems? Advocates of the new regionalism seek to find ways by which cities and suburbs can effectively work together. Orfield observes the possibilities of creative coalition building. A region's core city, declining suburbs, and overburdened working-class communities can all benefit from changes in land-use policies and other programs that will redirect growth and investment away from a regions' favored quarter of more privileged communities. Environmentalists and faith-based and philanthropic organizations can also be expected to support policies that curb urban sprawl and direct new investment to existing communities.
Principles of New Urbanism, New Urbanism, 2008
Can we build better suburban communities? The New Urbanism movement seeks the development of compact communities characterized by walkability, reduced reliance on the automobile, green space protection, active town centers, and ecological sustainability. The practitioners of the New Urbanism seek to reestablish the sense of community that once characterized small-town life in the United States.
The New Urbanism: A Limited Revolution, Myron A. Levine, in Redefining Suburban Studies, Searching for New Paradigms, ed. Daniel Rubley, 2009
New Urbanism seeks to build ecologically sustainable and esthetically pleasing alternatives to conventional suburbs. But do most Americans want to live in such communities? Despite its popularity in planning circles, the New Urbanism is likely to have only a very limited impact on suburban development. The vast majority of Americans will continue to seek out the most home they can buy for their money, that is, a home in a conventional suburb rather than a New Urbanism community.
UNIT: Toward Sustainable Cities and Suburbs?
New German Community Models Car-Free Living, Isabelle de Pommereau, The Christian Science Monitor, 2006
Must urban development accept the dominance of the automobile? Freiburg, Germany, demonstrates an alternative, a community designed to promote a car-free style of living that emphasizes the quality of urban life and ecological sustainability. But are Americans willing to live in car-free cities?
Traffic: Why It's Getting Worse, What Government Can Do, Anthony Downs, Brookings Institution Policy Brief, 2004
Economist Anthony Downs explains why there is no easy answer to the problem of traffic congestion, why measures aimed at reducing gridlock, and commute times often provide only temporary relief at best. Downs suggests some pragmatic policy steps—including ramp-metering, the creation of HOV and HOT lanes, and clustering development around mass transit stations—that can be taken as Americans learn to live with the never-ending problem of urban traffic.
Is Congestion Pricing Ready for Prime Time? Michael A. Replogle, Planning, 2008
Congestion pricing seeks to reduce traffic in a city's overcrowded downtown by imposing a steep fee every time a vehicle enters a designated zone in the core city. London, Stockholm, and Singapore are among the cities that have had good results with the use of congestion pricing. Mayor Michael Bloomberg sought to impose a similar set of congestion charges on drivers entering the business sections of New York City. The city, however, failed to win permission from the state legislature to create such a zone.
California's Pioneering Transportation Strategy, Daniel Sperling and Mary Nichols, Issues in Science and Technology, 2012
The State of California and its cities have taken the lead in introducing policy steps aimed at reducing fuel use, thermal emissions, and global warming. But are these policies capable of making significant alterations in established patterns of urban development and travel?
UNIT: Cities and Urban Problems Around the Globe
Japan's Cities Amid Globalization, Myron A. Levine, original manuscript for Annual Editions: Urban Society 2010
Tokyo is generally recognized to be a top-tier global city. But even Tokyo has had to take proactive measures in the face of the economic challenge posed by Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other rival Pacific-Rim office centers. Japan has sought to strengthen Tokyo as its national champion in the competition for new office development. City and national planners have allowed the demolition of traditional Japanese neighborhoods in order to clear the space for new megaprojects favored by global corporations and their high-end workforces. In historic Kyoto, new growth projects threaten the traditional character of a city that is the center of Japanese heritage and culture.
Shanghai Gets Supersized, David Devoss with additional readings from Lauren Hilgers. Smithsonian, 2011
Shanghai, a megacity with a population much larger than New York City, has been transformed by rapid growth. In a program of demolition, the government has bulldozed areas of traditional low-rise wooden housing in order to clear space for new office and housing towers. Shanghai has more than 200 skyscrapers. Pudong, the city's new global business center, was built on grassland just across the river from the city's traditional center. Fashionable areas like Xintiandi cater to the well-to-do while poor migrants are crowded into small spaces in more distant parts of the city. China's new focus on economic development has allowed Shanghai to grow, modernize, and exhibit new patterns of inequality to an extent that was unimaginable during the long rule of Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.
To Catch Cairo Overflow, 2 Megacities Rise in Sand, Thanassis Cambanis, The New York Times, 2010
The megacity of Cairo is plagued by overcrowding, slow-moving traffic, and a seemingly endless landscape of slums and informal settlements. In recent years, Egypt has built major new towns (also called satellite cities) in the desert outside of Cairo, an effort to alleviate some of the congestion of the capital city. The new towns provide attractive investment opportunities, including gated communities, for businesses and workers unwilling to locate in overburdened Cairo.
Demolishing Delhi: World Class City in the Making, Amita Baviskar, Mute Magazine, 2006
In lesser developed countries (LDCs), the urban poor can often be found in giant slums or shantytowns, with only the most minimal provision of water, sewage, sanitation, and other basic municipal services. At times, cities have sought to improve the provision of municipal services. At other times, Delhi and other cities have yielded to the pressures of global competition by bulldozing squatter communities in order to clear industrial sites and sites near the city center demanded by businesses. Government relocation assistance, when provided, often pushes residents to the urban periphery, further away from their jobs.
Reinventing Rio: The Dazzling but Tarnished Brazilian City Gets a Makeover as It Prepares for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, Alan Riding, Smithsonian, 2010
Rio de Janeiro, an international center of business and play, is a dazzling city of gleaming office towers, high-rise apartments, fashionable stores, and glittering beaches. The city is also the site of large favelas or squatter communities of the poor who lack legal title to their land on which they live. Rio exhibits urban dualism, the huge gap between the rich and the poor that are typical of cities in lesser developed countries (LDCs). Brazil is using the mega-events of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics to improve transportation, upgrade facilities in Rio, and burnish the city's and the country's global image. Critics fear that the government will also attempt to pacify the favelas, the site of violent drug wars, rather than focus on improving the provision of water, electricity, trash collection, and public schooling.
No Excuses Slum Upgrading, Fernando Serpone Bueno and Veridiana Sedeh, Citiscope, 2010
São Paulo, Brazil, is a global city, a South American center of banking, finance, and high-rise offices and residential towers. São Paulo is also overwhelmed by an internal migration as poor families from the countryside pour into the city's favelas in search of jobs and opportunity. As an alternative to slum demolition, Brazil has begun to initiate a policy of slum regularization and upgrading, giving squatter settlements formal recognition and extending electricity, drinkable water, sewer lines, and sanitary service to these irregular communities.
Femicide in Ciudad Juárez: What Can Planners Do? María Teresa Vázquez-Castillo, Progressive Planning, 2006
Can cities be designed to be more responsive to the needs of women? In recent years, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, just across the U.S. border from El Paso, has gained notoriety for the lethal battles between government forces and heavily armed drug cartels. But violence in Ciudad Juárez actually precedes the more recent surge in bloody gang wars. Hundreds of femicides (by current estimates, over 700), or murders of women, have occurred in Juárez. Women are the backbone of the low-wage workforces of the maquiladoras, the border factories that have grown as a result of globalization and international free-trade agreements. In their daily travel to and from jobs, often at night and at odd hours along dark streets, women and young girls are especially vulnerable. Both the government and private employers have failed to provide for the physical safety of women.
UNIT: The Future of Cities and Suburbs: The United States and the World
Across Europe, Irking Drivers Is Urban Policy, Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times, 2011
Public officials and traffic planners across Europe have initiated a number of actions to reduce automobile usage and to promote bicycling and greater patronage of mass transit. Policies include high automobile registration fees, a reduction in the number of downtown parking places, the timing of stoplights to obstruct the smooth flow of traffic, and the provision of high-quality public transit. Americans, with their individualistic culture, often object that such policy measures represent a governmental intrusion on individual liberty. To what extent can cities in the United States adopt such policies that have worked so well in Europe?
Lessons from a Surprise Bike Town: How snowy Minneapolis beat out Portland for the title of best bike city in America, Jay Walljasper, Yes! Magazine, Practical Actions, 2011
Despite its frigid cold winters, Minneapolis ranks as the number one bicycle commuting city in the United States. Minneapolis provides a case study that illustrates how government actions can promote bicycle usage. Especially noteworthy, Minneapolis provides an extensive network of segregated bicycle paths, trails that separate bicycles from road traffic and, where possible, even from pedestrians.
Japan's Remarkable Renewable Energy Drive—After Fukushima, Andrew DeWit, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 2012
The horror of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, after a tsunami overwhelmed reactor safety systems raises questions as to the wisdom of continuing reliance on nuclear energy. Japan responded by shutting down its nuclear power plants, turning to energy conservation measures, and giving new emphasis to renewable energy, including solar and wind power. Can cities around the world identify a path to sustainable development that will decrease their reliance on nuclear energy without impeding local and national economic growth?