The articles below engage with a broad range of topics, from the role of data in community organizing and urban governance to the politics of taxation. Several articles raise important questions about the future of work and the intersections of public infrastructure, debt, and urban inequalities. And a special series, guest-edited by Lily Pollans, bring important attention to waste in urban environment, from how it’s managed to the social-justice issues it raises.
If you are crafting syllabi for the upcoming academic year, we encourage you to consider these articles and explore our archives, which are full of accessible scholarly research perfect for both undergraduate and graduate courses. If you are a researcher, we hope you will submit a manuscript for review. A short-form piece in Metropolitics can help you to develop an embryonic idea, draw attention to a book or longer academic article that you have already published, and engage with a broad public audience. You can find Metropolitics’ style guide and word limits here.
Have a wonderful summer!
James DeFilippis (Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)
Editorial Director, Metropolitics
Series | Urban Wastes, Present and Future
Lily Pollans guest-edits this series for Metropolitics that focuses on the various ways in which waste is part of the urban environment—how waste produces urban space, the local management of waste, its environmental impacts, and the forms of social justice it gives rise to.
Articles in this series:
- The Spectacle of Reuse: Recirculating Urban Salvage at Pittsburgh’s Construction Junction, by Susan M. Ross
- Starve the Beast: Community-Owned and Community-Controlled Composting as an Alternative to Incineration in Baltimore, by Nicole Fabricant
- Disposability in the City: A Review of Waste Worlds, by Lily Baum Pollans
Debates | Depending on a Curse: What History Tells Us About Property-Tax Reform in New York City
Daniel Wortel-London discusses New York’s discriminatory policies and taxes and asks: can a tax system as cumbersome as New York’s possibly be changed? And if it can, what unanticipated consequences might follow?
Essays | New Tourism Geographies and the Politics of Tourist Taxation
The changing geography of urban tourism has led to new forms of political contestation. How hotel-tax revenues are spent—where and for whom—is a central issue. Elizabeth Strom argues that political mobilization can encourage elected officials and the tourism industry to use tax revenues to improve cities for residents, not just tourists.
From the Field | The Promises and Realities of Data-Driven Community Development: Lessons from Memphis, Tennessee
Tennessee nonprofit Innovate Memphis has spent nearly a decade designing the Memphis Property Hub, a public data platform for community development corporations (CDCs). Austin Harrison asks if this is a replicable way to democratize neighborhood- and property-level data, so as to level the playing field between community organizers and well-resourced state and market actors, and bring community organizing back to the fore of urban CDCs’ activities.
There is a larger story of spatial racism in cities before and beyond redlining. Spatial racism was not limited to a single set of maps, but is embedded within institutions. The long history of spatial racism must be teased out and examined as new data-driven practices generate inequitable opportunity in cities.
Debates | Reimagining Skill
Nichola Lowe argues that skill needs to be reimagined, not erased from efforts to strengthen the institutional infrastructure that is needed to deliver better-quality jobs to more workers. Drawing on claims outlined in her recent book, Putting Skill to Work, she presents uncertainty around skill as a generative material for shaping business recovery and growth, allowing worker-supporting institutions to promote changes that result in much better workplaces.
Reviews | Infrastructure Financing and the Bonds of Inequality
Rachel Weber reviews historian Destin Jenkins’ new book, The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City, which shows how decisions about infrastructure financing reinforce preexisting racial inequalities and hierarchies.
Bonne lecture et bon été !