Chicago and Trump’s sanctuary city threat

At CTBA’s blog, I’ve written a post about how much Chicago ought to fear Trump’s threat to take away federal funding from “sanctuary cities” that don’t cooperate with federal agencies to enforce immigration laws. The answer: it all depends on the courts. Two legal standards—one on “germaneness” and another that legal scholars appear to just Continue reading Chicago and Trump’s sanctuary city threat

The invention of gentrification: Ten notes

I just picked up (ordered to my Kindle) The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn, an American urban history classic that’s been on my list for years. It explores how, and why, between roughly World War II and 1980 northern Brooklyn transitioned from a prime candidate for slum clearance and urban renewal to the treasured capital of New Continue reading The invention of gentrification: Ten notes

Zoning as a negotiation—and the single family loophole

tl;dr In Chicago, aldermen often set zoning to be more restrictive than the kind of development they eventually plan to approve, so as to maximize their negotiating power. But there’s a loophole: all residential zoning, no matter how strict, allows single-family homes. So developers looking to avoid negotiation can just build (very expensive) single-family homes. The Continue reading Zoning as a negotiation—and the single family loophole

Why are there no “pedestrian streets” in black neighborhoods?

It’s a bit weird that Chicago has something called a “pedestrian street designation” – after all, people walk on pretty much literally every single street in the city. But it does! Official “pedestrian streets,” which have existed since 2004, are designed to “promote transit, economic vitality and pedestrian safety and comfort” by disallowing certain things, like parking Continue reading Why are there no “pedestrian streets” in black neighborhoods?

Baltimore’s problems belong to 2015, not 1968

I have a new post at City Observatory: Look what the riots did to Baltimore! Oh wait no…These were taken before the riots. Oops. @MayorSRB pic.twitter.com/2iTsnVDf6G — Chels (@BEautifully_C) April 30, 2015 In the wake of violent protests against yet another apparent police killing in Baltimore, variations of this meme spread rapidly in certain corners Continue reading Baltimore’s problems belong to 2015, not 1968

How we measure segregation depends on why we care

Over at City Observatory, I have a post riffing on recent posts by Nate Silver and the New York Times’ Upshot on segregation and the reproduction of inequality: That is, it’s easier to send black children to inferior schools if their schools are all on one side of town, and white schools are on the other. Continue reading How we measure segregation depends on why we care

What is neoliberalism? Three possibilities

On Twitter the other day, I asked a question: Earnest question: urban policy folks who use the term, what is your working definition of "neoliberal"? — Daniel Kay Hertz (@DanielKayHertz) February 20, 2015 If you spend much time in left-leaning precincts of the urban policy world, “neoliberal” and “neoliberalism” are words you hear an awful lot. Continue reading What is neoliberalism? Three possibilities

JRW: Not a story about gentrification

I like The Nation. I like Dave Zirin! But this column by Dave Zirin in The Nation is very, very bad. The column is entitled: “Gentrification is the Real Scandal Surrounding Jackie Robinson West.” This is a very bad title. But I’ve felt misrepresented by a good number of headline writers in my day, so I tried Continue reading JRW: Not a story about gentrification