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City Planning

How Cities Are Experimenting With Reparations In Urban Policy

Even as politicians work to reenact Jim Crow-era silences about how white supremacy has shaped America, reparations are on the table as they have never been before. After an upswell of grassroots organizing in 2020, we’re seeing a new level of recognition that descendants of enslaved people, whose labor was stolen, are owed a debt. While that organizing has fueled a collective understanding of the need for repair, progress has been bogged down by the weight of that debt and questions about how such debts can be repaid. These questions have been taken up across the country, from the California Reparations Task Force to the cities of Boston, Evanston, Kansas City, Knoxville and St. Louis, among others.

The Commonsverse As A Parallel Polis: Opportunities And Challenges

The dialogue provoked by this workshop is timely and necessary because so many of the certitudes of political economy and culture are slowly crumbling before our eyes. It's fair to say that so many grand narratives of our time -- about citizenship, freedom, property rights, economic growth, and theories of value – have been called into question these days. Existing institutions and categories of thought aren't working so well. On the one hand, few people want to talk about structural change and necessary alternatives lest it open a Pandora's Box of monsters and chaos.

More Parking Puts More Cars On The Road

Do cities create greener lifestyles? Or do they just enable them? It’s very, very, very clear that people who live closer to other people drive less. But how much of this is due to the fact that people who were already predisposed to driving less—those of us who don’t particularly enjoy driving, for example—are deliberately living where parking is scarce and buses are frequent? A forthcoming academic paper finally begins to answer this crucial question. Its “breakthrough” conclusion: Bigger parking lots make us drive more. Even if we ignore the breathtaking economic costs of dedicating scarce urban space to car storage, mandatory parking isn’t an “all of the above” strategy that simply lets people choose their favorite mode of transportation.

Communities Can Take Back Power In City Planning

Although low-to middle-income residents are most affected by zoning and land use decisions in their neighborhoods, they are rarely given real power in the city planning process. Instead, city planning departments and developers rig the process so that their interests are served, at the expense of local residents. The problem is, most times, residents don't know they're getting played. "Throughout the city, community groups tend to be seduced by what city planning claims is an open process," said Tom Angotti, director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development. "The truth of the matter is, a lot of communities don't know zoning. [Information] is filtered through planners who have a stake in the game, which is to get the zoning through."
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