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urban history



  • The Origins of Policing in America

    Historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Media Studies scholar Chenjerai Kumanyika explain how American policing grew out of efforts to control the labor of poor and enslaved people.



  • A Neighborhood’s Race Affects Home Values More Now Than in 1980

    by Brentin Mock

    The real estate industry has adopted appraisal standards in response to fair housing laws that are, on the surface, race-neutral. But they don't account for the ways that racism has lowered the sale value in diverse neighborhoods, and still penalize Black and Latino homeowners. 



  • Cleveland and Chicago: Cities of Segregation

    "Berlin had a wall, but they took to it with hammers and pickaxes and tore it down. Cleveland and Chicago have walls too, but not the kind you can tear down with a pickaxe. They’ve been erected in places that are harder to reach than a river or a street: bitter, entrenched hearts and minds, both black and white, going back for generations, on either side of town."



  • How Trump Is Using Westchester to Stir Up Suburban Fears

    The bitter history of a federal lawsuit demanding that Yonkers, NY create low-income housing (which would allow more nonwhite residents to live in the city) informs Donald Trump's campaign pledges to protect the suburbs from evils he associates with fair housing laws. 



  • The New Southern Strategy

    The rise of a new generation of Black mayors in Southern cities may signal a new political dynamic as municipal governments draw energy from protest movements and improvise ways to meet public needs, if conservative state governments don't stop them. 



  • The Daily: Trump's Suburban Strategy (audio)

    Trump has used recent protests to double down on a suburban strategy based in fear of crime and disorder. Writer Emily Badger investigates whether it will work. 


  • The Proud City: Patrick Abercrombie's Unfulfilled Plan for Rebuilding London

    by Simon Jenkins

    In 1942, the British government endorsed a plan that turned the Blitz into an opportunity for massive centrally-planned rebuilding of London. This was a break from the previous anarchic pattern of development, and, for better or worse, today's eclectic metropolis owes its form to the failure of the plan. 



  • The Burning House: How Federal Housing Programs Failed Black America (Review)

    by Marcia Chatelain

    "As Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor shows in Race for Profit, we are also only beginning to reckon with the complex network of bankers, real estate agents, and federal agencies that used the rhetoric of equality to obscure a set of race-to-the-bottom schemes that sought to extract as much wealth as possible from poor Black Americans."



  • Architecting a “New Normal”? Past Pandemics and the Medicine of Urban Planning

    by Jennifer Hart, Nate Plageman and Tony Yeboah

    In our research efforts – and in those of many other urban scholars examining African contexts – we’ve repeatedly seen how medical experts and modernist urban planners exploited outbreaks of disease to legitimize their emerging systems of technical expertise and advance white supremacy, global capitalism, and imperial order.



  • How the World’s Largest Garbage Dump Evolved Into a Green Oasis

    Freshkills is possibly the least likely poster child for urban ecological restoration in the world, and it is radical not just for the way it works — by encouraging flora and fauna do as they please — but for its sheer size. It is almost unbelievable that New York City would set aside a parcel of land as big as Lower Manhattan south of 23rd Street — and just let it go to seed.



  • He’s Sharing the History of Black New York, One Tweet at a Time

    Oluwanisola “Sola” Olosunde is an urban planning graduate student whose Twitter feed is a chronicle of the everyday life of Black New York. He helped bring to light a recent viral video of white Queens residents yelling racist abuse at young Black girls during a period of resistance to desegregation in the 1970s.