Urban Studies offers undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs that examine the problems of city dwellers in poor, immigrant, and working-class communities and efforts to address those problems through policy innovations derived from sound research and sharpened through democratic participation. Learn more here.
This post originally appeared at Working-Class Perspectives.
By Katie Wells, Kafui Attoh, and Declan Cullen
Public transit infrastructure in Washington, D.C. is crumbling. Metro and bus services have been cut. Fares have gone up. And, safety remains a problem. After 40 years of deferred maintenance, poor management, and the lack of decent, long-term funding, the Metro system needs $1.4 billion worth of repairs, and it must close a $290 million budget gap just to continue basic operations. Some call this the “metropocalypse.”
Private taxi services haven’t been much better. It’s often hard to get a cab, especially for people of color or people who live outside of the wealthy, White areas of the city. Racial prejudice among the mostly immigrant taxi drivers means that Black residents are regularly refused service.
In light of these transit problems, Uber might seem like an obvious win for D.C. Ridesharing services are cheap for riders, require no significant public investment, and limit some of the discrimination that has made getting a taxi so difficult for so many people. Our research shows otherwise. Indeed, Uber could undermine the very thing city officials are working hard to address: economic inequality. Continue reading Uber, the “Metropocalypse,” and Economic Inequality in D.C.
The fight to close the Rikers Island Jail complex has received renewed attention since Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan last March to close down the facility in the next 10 years. Many have welcomed the moved, but one group has expressed resistance: correctional officers.
In a recent article in the Daily News, Brooklyn College sociology professor Alex Vitale argues that this resistance is misguided:
Corrections unions face a difficult challenge in the months and years ahead. Do they continue to defend a broken institution in the hopes of saving jobs or do they look for concrete ways to ensure that the people who work at Rikers have secure economic futures?
The irony of this dilemma is that the men and women who work at Rikers know better than almost anyone what a failed institution it is. They see day in and day out the deteriorating infrastructure, inadequate management, and culture of violence that organizes their daily work life. Continue reading Jail Workers & the Fight to Close Rikers
On November 3rd, faculty, students and community members gathered for a lively discussion and celebration of The City Is the Factory: New Solidarities and Spatial Strategies in an Urban Age, co-edited by Miriam Greenberg, University of Santa Cruz and Penny Lewis, Murphy Institute, CUNY.
Contributors Penny Lewis, Miriam Greenberg, Stephanie Luce, Shannon Gleason and Melissa Checker discussed today’s urban-based struggles for change, asking: what are the new kinds of organizing that we’re seeing emerging in cities today? What challenges do they face, what potential do they have?
Some photos from the event are below!
The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.
New Labor Forum continues to discuss and debate the macro-economic and social forces that have contributed to the rightward shift in our national politics — among them, gaping wealth and income gaps, the outsourcing and downsizing of jobs in union-dense industries, the scapegoating of immigrants, and persistent forms of racism. Exacerbating the impact of those larger forces has been a strategic, highly effective effort known for over two centuries as gerrymandering. During the past seven years, the art of redrawing election districts for political gain has become a fairly exact science in the hands of right-wing super PACs and the Republicans they back.
Here we turn our attention to this radical right endeavor following the 2010 Census, offering a video clip from a recent talk at the Murphy Institute by David Daley, author of Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count. We also provide a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, entitled Extreme Maps, which closely tracks the manipulation of election district lines, with greatest effects in seven states: Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. The Brennan Center joins the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund and dozens of other organizations that have filed amicus briefs in support of appellants in Gill v. Whitford, the most important case on the constitutionality of gerrymandering in over a decade, now under consideration by the Supreme Court. Included here is a Slate piece by Mark Joseph Stern reporting on the case’s hearing on October 3rd.
Table of Contents
- Divided Results: Voting And Partisan Gerrymandering/ David Daley, Murphy Institute
- Extreme Maps/ Laura Royden and Michael Li, Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law
- Partisan Gerrymandering Got the Sotomayor Treatment/ Mark Joseph Stern, Slate
Photo by judy_and_ed via flickr (CC-BY-NC)