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urban history



  • The Pandemic Disproved Urban Progressives’ Theory About Gentrification

    by Jacob Ambinder

    Anti-gentrification activists portray themselves as champions of the poor, but they generally represent a coalition of property owners who benefit from keeping the supply of a resource – housing – scarce. How can the political and economic incentives of land and housing be realigned?



  • How Cities Lost Control of Police Discipline

    The New York Times has published a deep dive into the history of police union contracts, which, in the wake of protests in cities like Detroit, became extremely powerful shields for police departments and individual officers from accountability for misconduct. 



  • East Village Fire Damages 128-Year-Old Church

    Middle Collegiate Church was a beacon of inclusion and tolerance for its congregants and the surrounding community. The damaged building was 128 years old, but the congregation originated before the American Revolution. 


  • How Venetians Invented Health Care

    by Meredith F. Small

    It's been widely discussed during this pandemic year that Venetians invented the quarantine. But the author of a new book on Venice's history of innovation argues that it was just one of the public health measures for which we can thank them.



  • Why New York’s Mob Mythology Endures

    by Adam Gopnik

    "Generally, in Mob stories, the cute bits are not real, and the real bits are not cute. Given that grim truth, there’s something to be said for just shutting your eyes and repeating the cute bits." Some new books on the Mafia unfortunately follow the pattern. 



  • How Suburbs Swung the 2020 Election

    by Richard Florida, Marie Patino and Rachel Dottle

    The noted urban theorist points out that assumptions about suburban voters haven't kept up with the changing demographic realities of America's suburbs, which house a majority of the population and differ from each other as much as they do from central cities. 



  • Reservoir: Nature, Culture, Infrastructure

    by Luc Sante

    A four-part series of essays and photography examines the creation, maintenance and consequences of the reservoirs constructed to supply water to New York City, including the complex divisions and connections among urban and rural communities. 



  • Georgia’s Political Shift – a Tale of Urban and Suburban Change

    by Jan Nijman

    If Georgia is demographically and politically becoming unlike neighboring Republican strongholds like Alabama and Tennessee, it has, in some respects, moved in a similar direction as Arizona, where the two major metropolitan regions of Phoenix and Tucson make up over 80% of the state’s population, and where Democrats have improved their standing in recent years.