Urban Studies
Featured Items
Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope
Ordinary Resurrections
Children in the Years of Hope
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0060956453

In this national bestseller, now in paperback, the acclaimed author of Savage Inequalities recounts the lessons he has learned from the struggles and unlikely triumphs of children in the South Bronx, one of America's most impoverished neighborhoods.

Fragments of the European City
Fragments of the European City
Paperback      ISBN: 0948462663

This book explores the visual transformation of the contemporary European city, focusing on the most emblematic and visibly wounded of all European cities - Berlin.

Taking as its subject the intricately assembled, relentlessly disassembling metropolitan screen, it charts the virulent implosions of culture, the distortions and violence that give city-living its fractured and hallucinatory quality.

Provocatively written as a series of inter-locking poetic fragments, the text evokes the formation of metropolitan identity as it ricochets between the physical surface of the city and the vulnerable but manipulating consciousness of city dwellers.

Barber has discovered a powerful new vocabulary - a vocabulary charged with the visual and sonic impact of the cinema. Like the city, the text pulsates, creatively chaotic, raw and exhilarating.
Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
Whatever It Takes
Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
Paperback      ISBN: 0547247966
What would it take?

That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Children’s Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives—their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents.

Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds. Carefully researched and deeply affecting, this is a dispatch from inside the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time.
Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys To Sustainability
Green Metropolis
Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys To Sustainability
Hardcover      ISBN: 1594488827

Read David Owen's posts on the Penguin Blog.
A challenging, controversial, and highly readable look at our lives, our world, and our future.
In this remarkable challenge to conventional thinking about the environment, David Owen argues that the greenest community in the United States is not Portland, Oregon, or Snowmass, Colorado, but New York, New York.
Most Americans think of crowded cities as ecological nightmares, as wastelands of concrete and garbage and diesel fumes and traffic jams. Yet residents of compact urban centers, Owen shows, individually consume less oil, electricity, and water than other Americans. They live in smaller spaces, discard less trash, and, most important of all, spend far less time in automobiles. Residents of Manhattan-- the most densely populated place in North America --rank first in public-transit use and last in percapita greenhouse-gas production, and they consume gasoline at a rate that the country as a whole hasn't matched since the mid-1920s, when the most widely owned car in the United States was the Ford Model T. They are also among the only people in the United States for whom walking is still an important means of daily transportation.
These achievements are not accidents. Spreading people thinly across the countryside may make them feel green, but it doesn't reduce the damage they do to the environment. In fact, it increases the damage, while also making the problems they cause harder to see and to address. Owen contends that the environmental problem we face, at the current stage of our assault on the world's nonrenewable resources, is not how to make teeming cities more like the pristine countryside. The problem is how to make other settled places more like Manhattan, whose residents presently come closer than any other Americans to meeting environmental goals that all of us, eventually, will have to come to terms with.

Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival
Comeback Cities
A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival
Paperback      ISBN: 0813339529
Comeback Cities shows how innovative, pragmatic tactics for ameliorating the nation's urban ills have produced results beyond anyone's expectations, reawakening America's toughest neighborhoods. In the past, big government and business working separately were unable to solve the inner city crisis. Today, a blend of public-private partnerships, grassroots nonprofit organizations, and a willingness to experiment characterize what is best among the new approaches to urban problem solving. Pragmatism, not dogma, has produced the charter-school movement and the police's new focus on "quality of life" issues. The new breed of big city mayors has welcomed business back into the city, stressed performance and results at city agencies, downplayed divisive racial politics, and cracked down on symptoms of social disorder. As a consequence, America's inner cities are becoming vital communities once again.
A Field Guide to Sprawl
A Field Guide to Sprawl
Paperback      ISBN: 0393731987

A Field Guide to Sprawl was selected by the urban web site Planetizen for its list of "Top Ten Books in Urban Studies" and by Discover magazine for its list of "Top 20 Books in Science." Features on the book appeared in The New York Times and the Boston Globe.

Duck, ruburb, tower farm, big box, and pig-in-a-python are among the dozens of zany terms invented by real estate developers and designers today to characterize land-use practices and the physical elements of sprawl. Sprawl in the environment, based on the metaphor of a person spread out, is hard to define. This concise book engages its meaning, explains common building patterns, and illustrates the visual culture of sprawl. Seventy-five stunning color aerial photographs, each paired with a definition, convey the impact of excessive development. This "engagingly organized and splendidly photographed" (Wall Street Journal) book provides the verbal and visual vocabulary needed by professionals, public officials, and citizens to critique uncontrolled growth in the American landscape.

Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen
Urban Injustice
How Ghettos Happen
Paperback      ISBN: 1583226079

David Hilfiker has committed his life, both as a writer and a doctor, to people in need, writing about the urban poor with whom he's spent all his days for the last two decades. In Urban Injustice, he explains in beautiful and simple language how the myth that the urban poor siphon off precious government resources is contradicted by the facts, and how most programs help some of the people some of the time but are almost never sufficiently orchestrated to enable people to escape the cycle of urban poverty.
Hilfiker is able to present a surprising history of poverty programs since the New Deal, and shows that many of the biggest programs were extremely successful at attaining the goals set out for them. Even so, Hilfiker reveals, most of the best and biggest programs were "social insurance" programs, like Medicare and Social Security, that primarily assisted the middle class, not the poor. Whereas, "public assistance" programs, directed specifically towards the poor, were often extremely effective as far as they went, but were instituted with far less ambitious goals.
In a book that is short, sweet, and completely without academic verboseness or pretension, Hilfiker makes a clear path through the complex history of societal poverty, the obvious weaknesses and surprising strengths of societal responses to poverty thus far, and offers an analysis of models of assistance from around the world that might perhaps assist us in making a better world for our children once we decide that is what we must do.

Society, Culture, and Urbanization
Society, Culture, and Urbanization
Hardcover      ISBN: 080392478x

Eisenstadt and Shachar provide new insights into the development of urban civilization. They use a comparative and historical approach to analyse early forms of urban development within preindustrial societies. After reviewing the existing theories of urbanization, the authors present a new macrosocietal and comparative theoretical approach. They analyse nine civilizations in the context of their political regimes, social processes, and cultures.

Sugar's Life in the Hood: The Story of a Former Welfare Mother
Sugar's Life in the Hood
The Story of a Former Welfare Mother
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0292721021

All her life, Sugar Turner has had to hustle to survive. An African American woman living in the inner city, she has been a single mother juggling welfare checks, food stamps, boyfriends and husbands, illegal jobs, and home businesses to make ends meet for herself and her five children. Her life's path has also wandered through the wilderness of crack addiction and prostitution, but her strong faith in God and her willingness to work hard for a better life pulled her through. Today, Turner is off welfare and is completing her education. She is computer literate, holds a job in the local school system, has sent three of her children to college, and is happily married.

In this engrossing book, Sugar Turner collaborates with anthropologist Tracy Bachrach Ehlers in telling her story. Through conversations with Ehlers, diary entries, and letters, Turner vividly and openly describes all aspects of her life, including motherhood, relationships with men, welfare and work, and her attachment to her friends, family, and life in the "hood." Ehlers also gives her reactions to Turner's story, discussing not only how it belies the "welfare queen" stereotype, but also how it forced her to confront her own lingering confusions about race, her own bigotry.

What emerges from this book is a fascinating story of two women from radically different backgrounds becoming equal witnesses to each other's lives. By allowing us into the real world of an inner-city African American mother, they replace with compassion and insight the stereotypes, half-truths, and scorn that too often dominate public discourse.

Picture Windows: How the Suburbs Happened
Picture Windows
How the Suburbs Happened
Hardcover      ISBN: 0465070450

In Picture Windows, Baxandall and Ewen shatter naive stereotypes of suburban life, replacing them with a clear and compelling historical analysis that situates the development of the suburbs in relation to the pivotal issues of postwar American life. They examine the years from World War II to the present, chronicling the transformation of rural lands into tidy, uniform subdevelopments that promised all of the comforts of postwar technology.The building of the suburbs, the authors argue, was conducted in the context of heated debates over the American standard of living, visionary planners and architects' attempts to solve the "housing crisis," women's liberation, and racial segregation. Baxandall and Ewen use interviews with hundreds of residents of three Long Island suburbs to weave together a story about suburbs past and present, and ultimately to insist on the centrality of suburban experience in the second half of the twentieth century.