Week 8 wrap-up — border vacuums and unslumming

Blog round-up

Recommendations on urban poverty from the Toronto Public Library

The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. now houses the collection of the Urban Affairs Library, formerly located at Metro Hall. As a specialized collection devoted to all aspects of urban planning and local government, the library contains far more than the materials cited here. Titles were selected by librarian Cynthia Fisher to give you an overview of some new and some old books and reports that you can find at the library to complement (and perhaps contradict) some of Jane Jacobs’ views. When viewing the catalogue records for the books, click on some of the subject headings to give you a broader range of materials.

Suburb, slum, urban village : transformations in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, 1875-2002

Whitzman (urban planning, U. of Melbourne, Australia) analyzes the contrasts between image and reality for Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood as it evolved from an independent suburb to slum to revitalized “urban village” over the course of more than 125 years. Written for students and scholars of urban planning, urban studies and geography, this volume investigates the social conditions that influenced this evolution, and how a gap between actual living conditions and media images contributed to “increasingly skewed planning practices.” A final section reviews these urban planning practices and questions the “tyranny of the descript community.”

Neighbourhood Change and Building Inclusive Communities from Within

Ghettos In Canada’s Cities? Racial Segregation, Ethnic Enclaves And Poverty Concentration In Canadian Urban Areas. A paper by Alan Walks and Larry Bourne of the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre.

Social justice and the city

Harvey analyzes core issues in city planning and policy-employment and housing location, zoning, transport costs, concentrations of poverty-asking in each case about the relationship between social justice and space. How, for example, do built-in assumptions about planning reinforce existing distributions of income? Rather than leading him to liberal, technocratic solutions, Harvey’s line of inquiry pushes him in the direction of a “revolutionary geography,” one that transcends the structural limitations of existing approaches to space. Harvey’s emphasis on rigorous thought and theoretical innovation gives the volume an enduring appeal. This is a book that raises big questions, and for that reason geographers and other social scientists regularly return to it.

Urban sores : on the interaction between segregation, urban decay and deprived neighbourhoods

Most European cities have experienced “deprived” or “excluded” neighbourhoods marked by visible physical and social problems that can be seen as “urban sores”. This engaging book provides invaluable insights into why urban decay and deprived neighbourhoods appear in certain parts of cities, and how they affect residents and cities in general.

Mapping decline : St. Louis and the fate of the American city

Once a thriving metropolis on the banks of the Mississippi, St. Louis, Missouri, is now a ghostly landscape of vacant houses, boarded-up storefronts, and abandoned factories. The Gateway City is, by any measure, one of the most depopulated, deindustrialized, and deeply segregated examples of American urban decay. “Not a typical city,” as one observer noted in the late 1970s, “but, like a Eugene O’Neill play, it shows a general condition in a stark and dramatic form.”

Mapping Decline examines the causes and consequences of St. Louis’s urban crisis. It traces the complicity of private real estate restrictions, local planning and zoning, and federal housing policies in the “white flight” of people and wealth from the central city. And it traces the inadequacy-and often sheer folly-of a generation of urban renewal, in which even programs and resources aimed at eradicating blight in the city ended up encouraging flight to the suburbs. The urban crisis, as this study of St. Louis makes clear, is not just a consequence of economic and demographic change; it is also the most profound political failure of our recent history.

Mapping Decline is the first history of a modern American city to combine extensive local archival research with the latest geographic information system (GIS) digital mapping techniques. More than 75 full-color maps-rendered from census data, archival sources, case law, and local planning and property records-illustrate, in often stark and dramatic ways, the still-unfolding political history of our neglected cities.

Approaches to urban slums : a multimedia sourcebook on adaptive and proactive strategies

This multimedia sourcebook on CD-ROM synthesizes an extensive body of knowledge and experience in managing urban slums accumulated over the last 30 years. The key lessons learned and their implications for future work serve as a useful tool for capacity building and knowledge sharing for policy makers, practitioners, planning institutions, community groups, NGOs, and university students. Approaches to Urban Slums include 14 audiovisual presentations (photographs, illustrations, maps, graphic animations, and aerial imagery, along with voice-over narration) and 18 video interviews.

Favela : four decades of living on the edge in Rio de Janeiro

Janice Perlman wrote the first in-depth account of life in the favelas, a book hailed as one of the most important works in global urban studies in the last 30 years. Now, inFavela, Perlman carries that story forward to the present. Re-interviewing many longtime favela residents whom she had first met in 1969–as well as their children and grandchildren–Perlman offers the only long-term perspective available on the favelados as they struggle for a better life. Perlman discovers that while educational levels have risen, democracy has replaced dictatorship, and material conditions have improved, many residents feel more marginalized than ever. The greatest change is the explosion of drug and arms trade and the high incidence of fatal violence that has resulted. Yet the greatest challenge of all is job creation–decent work for decent pay. If unemployment and under-paid employment are not addressed, she argues, all other efforts will fail to resolve the fundamental issues.Foreign Affairspraised Perlman for writing “with compassion, artistry, and intelligence, using stirring personal stories to illustrate larger points substantiated with statistical analysis.”

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