Friday, January 17, 2014

NIMBY New Year Wrap-Up

Some exclusion & inclusion-related stories around the news . . .

In our rush to promote higher-density urbanism, are we inadvertently creating child-free zones that are inhospitable to families with kids? That's a great question, and it is taken up in this piece in Atlantic Cities. The answer? Pretty much.

Here's a thoughtful piece in Architectural Record by Michael Sorkin, who we know and admire. Needless to say, we agree with Sorkin's premise that "it's time for New York and other cities to connect urban planning to social equity," and we share his optimism that our fearless new Mayor Bill de Blasio could right some of the wrongs of the previous administration. But since we're gathered here on this website to talk about NIMBYism, we thought we might call out the following contradiction: Sorkin bemoans the inability of "neighborhoods to meaningfully participate in planning their own destinies," but some of the things he is rightly critical of--for example, the fact that, under Bloomberg's watch, "historic," white, neighborhoods like the one we live in were downzoned, while "up-zoned lots tended to be located in census tracts with a higher proportion of nonwhite residents than the median tract in the city"--are the product of neighborhoods planning their own destinies. The point is, as the history of NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATIONS, MUNICIPAL ANNEXATION, and any number of other entries in our forthcoming book attest, it's important to remember that local control is a double-edged sword.

A friend of ours who teaches in a public school in Newark posted this NJ Spotlight article on Facebook. It's about segregation in NJ schools and it's worth a read.

Speaking of New Jersey, This seems like old news now, considering has much has happened to Chris Christie since Christmas, but shout out to the NY Times editorial board for once again highlighting the important work of the amazing Fair Share Housing Center, who back in December filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in April "charging that the state plan for distributing Hurricane Sandy recovery aid discriminated against blacks and Hispanics who lost their homes in the storm."

This rant from a "Silicon Valley denizen" is silly but hilarious.

Listen to this now! This American Life and Arsenal contributor Nikole Hannah-Jones! A match made in heaven!

Have you been following the story about the residents of Baton Rouge who are campaigning to become their own separate city of St. George? We haven't either, which is why we can't really say whether it is, as one source put it, "A tale of two cities," in which "Wealthy white residents of Baton Rouge launch campaign to split from poorer black areas to form their own breakaway city." But we can say is that INCORPORATION is a tried and true weapon of racial exclusion with a rather ugly history. Soon you will be able to read about it in our forthcoming book!

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