November 29, 2012
Between 26 April and 11 May 2013, the Network will host four conferences on the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park to discuss the built environment, globailization and mobility, political networks and health in cities.
July 1, 2012
Between 1950 and 2008, Detroit, once a city of almost 2 million, lost about half of its residents. What used to be a symbol of American prosperity has become the most prominent example of postindustrial urban decay. A recent book has analyzed the origins of the population decline and proposed strategies for revitalizing the former manufacturing cities in the Midwest and Northeast of the United States.
June 1, 2012
In a profile of Manhattan’s Morningside Heights neighborhood, the New York Times described the area dominated by Columbia University and Barnard College as one of the most desirable places to live in Manhattan. The universities are “anchor institutions,” acting as real estate developers, generators of human capital, and employers. So far, the academic and political debate about these organizations has not resolved whether these strategic investments build community and revitalize neighborhoods.
May 1, 2012
In January of 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook the Caribbean nation of Haiti, causing the deaths of more than 200,000 people. The catastrophe heavily affected Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. A new report by foreign policy analyst Elizabeth Ferris discusses Port-au-Prince as a case study on how scholars and policy makers should help cities prepare for and deal with the aftermath of natural disasters.
April 1, 2012
Research on urban growth has traditionally focused on the Western metropolis. In recent years, scholars have started to examine the growth patterns of cities in other regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, and to question the universality of the Western model of urban development. While earlier data had led many scholars to conclude that cities in that region are growing at an unprecedented rate, new research has challenged the notion that Africa is fast becoming an urban continent.
March 1, 2012
While social scientists have always been interested in the dynamics behind the low achievement of students living in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, in recent years researchers have been trying to establish precisely the extent to which neighborhood conditions, net of other factors, influence educational achievement.
February 1, 2012
Most major cities have one or more large parks. As geographer Terence Young has explained, parks proliferated across modern cities to help stem the departure of middle-class and affluent residents in the wake of industrialization at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Parks were considered a panacea for social ills as varied as crime, illness, and poor mental health. In recent years, scientists have taken a fresh look at parks and their role in the quality of urban life.
January 1, 2012
The first snow fell early this autumn in the northeastern United States. Yet the somewhat premature winter weather may be deceiving. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, human behavior has contributed to global climate change, and we are likely to face steadily rising temperatures in the future. These record-high temperatures are significantly affecting the health of at-risk populations such as the elderly.
December 1, 2011
American cities as diverse as Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland, have made significant investments over the past few decades in community-based art projects. One example is Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Project. Since 1984, the project has created over 3,000 murals, generating a slew of tourist attractions. Such considerable investments by Philadelphia and other cities beg the question of whether arts projects, aside from their aesthetic value, will have lasting effects on the community.
November 1, 2011
Data.gov was established with the goal of making the US government more transparent and “establishing a new standard of openness.” It provides access to copious government data on topics as varied as unemployment records and Medicare costs. Data.gov is part of an open-data movement that has spread around the globe. Twenty-one countries have so far at least partially opened up their data for public use. But does having more data available to more people really mean greater democracy?
October 1, 2011
In their 1993 book, American Apartheid, sociologists Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton exposed the racial segregation of American cities as a core mechanism producing inequality between African Americans and whites. Between 2000 and 2010, the segregation of black and white Americans decreased slightly. Despite this trend, almost two decades after Massey and Denton’s seminal work, American cities are far from being racially integrated.
September 1, 2011
Law-enforcement agencies worldwide have been investing in closed-circuit television (CCTV). During the recent London riots, the ubiquity of the cameras proved instrumental to police, as about 2000 rioters were captured on video. While law enforcement has typically argued that cameras make cities safer, recent studies have questioned this claim, suggesting that their effectiveness might be limited and that their impact on citizens’ sense of safety might be the opposite of what governments intend.
August 1, 2011
For many years, urban scholars considered poverty to be a problem of the inner city; suburbs were traditionally where middle-class Americans moved to in order to escape the disintegrating city center. Using the results of the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, social scientists are beginning to look more closely at suburban poverty, exploring its causes, dynamics, and long-term consequences.
July 1, 2011
A recent report published by the Brookings Institution examines the efficiency of the sprawling network of public transportation in the United States, focusing on the relationship between public transit and employment opportunities. Researchers used a complex data set consisting of routes, stops, and schedules of 371 transit providers in large American cities to determine job-site accessibility by public transportation, providing a sobering view of the effectiveness of public transit.
June 1, 2011
More than seven times as many people are incarcerated in the United States as in Europe. The main victims of the prison boom are minority, particularly African American, men, who, as sociologist Bruce Western has found, are eight times more likely to have served time in prison than white men.
May 2, 2011
The UN reports that the urban population has grown faster than the global rural population for the past fifty years. New York-Newark and Tokyo were the only megacities in the world in 1950. By 1975, the number of such cities had grown to four; by 2000 to eighteen. The United Nations expects 22 megacities worldwide by 2015, of which 16 will be in developing countries.
April 25, 2011
On March 30, 2011, the final high-rise of the once-infamous Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago was torn down. The building-by-building dismantling of Cabrini-Green had unfolded over 10 painstaking years. The moment brought a sigh of relief to those eager to rid the city of a symbol of violence, segregation, and failed urban planning. To many longtime residents, it was the replacement of one set of anxieties with another.
April 18, 2011
Philadelphia has the second worst ratio of grocery stores to citizens in the country. Residents must often travel long distances to buy food for their families. There is a growing public policy interest in developing a viable solution to the food access issue, as researchers and policy makers increasingly find a relationship between poor food options and diet-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and high-blood pressure.
April 11, 2011
The recent census indicates that Detroit lost 237,500 residents, or 25% of the 2000 population, over the past ten years. The city also lost 25% of its jobs since 2000—over 498,000 positions. The rapid decline of what was once the nation’s fourth largest city has motivated Detroit government officials, city planners, and community members to propose a radical solution: make the city smaller.
April 4, 2011
In his first year in office, President Obama made the construction of High-Speed Rail—intercity trains reaching speeds of 150 to 220 miles per hour—the cornerstone of his national transportation agenda.
March 28, 2011
At a recent conference at the University of Chicago, scholars from across the country asked whether it was time to “rethink urban poverty” from a different perspective, one centered primarily on the organizations with which urban residents interact.
March 21, 2011
With the preliminary results of the 2010 Census, demographers published detailed internet maps, enabling users to manipulate data in new ways and helping citizens to understand their communities through different tools.
March 14, 2011
New York City has begun to address the inefficiencies in its approach to purchasing and consuming food. The $175 million that city agencies budget per year on food for the elderly, students, and others is not always spent effectively.
March 7, 2011
Over the past few years, banks have foreclosed on thousands of properties in cities across the United States. Many of these foreclosures involve multi-unit properties often occupied by low-income families. Recent studies suggest that the foreclosure crisis, especially for rental properties, is likely to disproportionately affect children.
March 1, 2011
In May 2010, President Barack Obama announced a request for $210 million in federal funding for the Promise Neighborhoods Program, an effort to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) model in twenty cities across the United States.