Category Archives: Urban Studies

Photos: The City is The Factory: Discussion and Book Party​​

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!

New Labor Forum Highlights: Oct 30th, 2017

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

  1. Divided Results: Voting And Partisan Gerrymandering/ David Daley, Murphy Institute
  2. Extreme Maps/ Laura Royden and Michael Li, Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law
  3. Partisan Gerrymandering Got the Sotomayor Treatment/ Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

Photo by judy_and_ed via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

Event: The City is The Factory: Discussion and Book Party​​ (11/3)

Murphy Institute
25 W. 43rd St., 18th Floor, New York, NY
Program at 6pm, reception to follow

Join us to discuss and celebrate the publication 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 will be joined by local organizers to discuss today’s urban-based struggles for change. 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?

Speakers include:

  • Penny Lewis, Murphy Institute, CUNY
  • Miriam Greenberg, University of Santa Cruz
  • Shannon Gleason, Cornell University
  • Melissa Checker, Queens College, CUNY
  • Stephanie Luce, Murphy Institute, CUNY

After the discussion join us the us to celebrate the publication of this important anthology.

Video: Getting Back on Track: The New York Transit Crisis – Part 2

On October 13th, 2017, the Murphy Institute hosted a forum exploring the nature and causes of the current mass transit crisis, and focusing on solutions that could enable New York to sustain itself as a world-class city.

Panel 1:

  • Kafui Attoh, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Murphy Institute
  • Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, City College of New York and Director Emeritus, University Transportation Research Center (UTRC)
  • Pierina Ana Sanchez, Directer, New York, Regional Planning Association

Panel 2:

  • Andrew Bata, Regional Manager North America, International Association of Public Transport (UITP)
  • City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation
  • John Samuelsen, President, TWU International

Missed the event or want to catch it again? Part 2 is below. Catch Part 1 here.

Video: Getting Back on Track: The New York Transit Crisis – Part 1

This morning, the Murphy Institute hosted a forum exploring the nature and causes of the current mass transit crisis, and focusing on solutions that could enable New York to sustain itself as a world-class city.

Panel 1:

  • Kafui Attoh, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Murphy Institute
  • Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, City College of New York and Director Emeritus, University Transportation Research Center (UTRC)
  • Pierina Ana Sanchez, Directer, New York, Regional Planning Association

Panel 2:

  • Andrew Bata, Regional Manager North America, International Association of Public Transport (UITP)
  • City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation
  • John Samuelsen, President, TWU International

Missed the event or want to catch it again? Part 1 is below:

How Poor Public Transit Makes Idiots of Us All

This post originally appeared on the London School of Economics Policy Blog.

For more on the public transit crisis, join us for our October 13th forum “Getting Back on Track: The New York Transit Crisis.

By Kafui Attoh

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1848

There is perhaps nothing more idiotic than a city with poor public transit. The typical North American city may, in this sense, be the paragon of idiocy. As many have long noted, the US remains rather unique amongst developed nations in the reluctance of its citizens to board anything resembling – gasp!—a public bus.  In 2012, only 7 percent of all US residents used public transit on a daily basis. A whopping 51 percent reported never using public transit at all.  For many, of course, the reasons are clear enough. Beyond the “absurd primacy of the automobile in American life,” public transit in the US suffers the same underfunded fate as so much else that is “public” in this country. To quote John Kenneth Galbraith we remain a society that is “privately rich and publicly poor” and nowhere is this more evident than in the sorry state of urban mass transit.

Only this past summer, malfunctions with New York City’s century old signaling system drew national headlines after millions of subways riders complained of excessive delays, overcrowding, and of being stranded at their respective stops. In the previous summer a spate of track fires in Washington DC’s metro not only led to service delays, and the launch of the semi-ironic website “ismetroonfire.com” but several hospitalizations from smoke inhalation. Where this is the reality in two of our most transit-dependent cities, it is undoubtedly worse in smaller cities where transit often remains the domicile of the poor and where suburban sprawl makes commuting via bus slow and inconvenient. Continue reading How Poor Public Transit Makes Idiots of Us All