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Urban Policy Analysis and Management



Students in the Urban Policy Management program learn the theories, techniques and practices necessary for improving the quality of life for urban communities. Click here to find out more.

“On the Run”: Urban Surveillance & New School Courses

on the run

“On the Run” book cover, and author Alice Goffman

The War on Drugs has spawned an expansive network of policing as a unique feature of the urban landscape. This outgrowth was the focus of the 2014 Nathan Levin Lecture on Public Policy titled, “Surveillance City: The War on Drugs in Urban Neighborhoods.” The talk featured Alice Goffman whose book “On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City” has inspired a range of critiques of urban surveillance and its literature in The New Yorker, Times Higher Education,and The New Inquiry. The New School conference partnered Alice Goffman with Jamelle Bouie a writer from Slate, and New School Urban Policy professor Jeff Smith to discuss Goffman’s book. In the extensive interview below Professor Smith describes the significance of the conversation and how it parallels coursework he will helm in the fall.

Interview conducted by Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye

Why do you think it is important to understand urban surveillance in the American city?

The nation’s mass incarceration crisis demands that we understand the root causes of why so many people end up ensnared in the system. That’s something you can’t grasp without understanding our nation’s pervasive urban surveillance net.



Student Spotlight: Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye

for articleBen Ndugga-Kabuye is a student in the Urban Policy Program at Milano. He holds a bachelors in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of Caliornia at Irvine, and is passionate about political advocacy. At Milano, Ben also works as a Project Assistant for the Urban Policy Program, and is involved in immigrant rights work. As a junior in college, Ben participated in the Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute fellowship program in the summer of 2010.




Urban Policy Professor Alex Schwartz Publishes Third Edition of Textbook

Alex_SchwartzProfessor Alex Schwartz recently published the third edition of his textbook, Housing Policy in the United States. The classic primer for its subject, Housing Policy in the United States, has been substantially revised in the wake of the 2007 near-collapse of the housing market and the nation’s recent signs of recovery. Like its previous editions, this standard volume offers a broad overview of the field, but expands to include new information on how the crisis has affected the nation’s housing challenges, and the extent to which the federal government has addressed them. Schwartz also includes the politics of austerity that has permeated almost all aspects of federal policymaking since the Congressional elections of 2010, new initiatives to rehabilitate public housing, and a new chapter on the foreclosure crisis. The latest available data on housing conditions, housing discrimination, housing finance, and programmatic expenditures is included, along with all new developments in federal housing policy. This book is the perfect foundational text for urban studies, urban planning, social policy, and housing policy courses.



Emeritus Professor Peter Eisinger Looks at Detroit’s Recovery

Peter_EisingerPeter Eisinger, Professor Emeritus of the Urban Policy Program, has been focusing his recent research on the City of Detroit. In March, Eisinger spoke on the Detroit: A City in Crisis panel at the 44th Urban Affairs Association conference. In May, Professor Eisinger gave the endowed Lent Upson lecture at Wayne State University in Detroit, “Five Challenges to Detroit’s Recovery.”

In addition to speaking engagements, Eisinger’s paper, “Is Detroit Dead?” was published in the Journal of Urban Affairs in February. He also has two forthcoming papers, due for publication in 2015: “Theorizing Urban Death,” in R. Scott and S. Kasslyn, eds., Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, and “Detroit Prospects: Why Recovery Is Elusive,” in Michael Peter Smith and L. Owen Kirkpatrick, eds., Reinventing Detroit.



Alex Schwartz Co-authored Report “Underwater America” Featured in the National Journal

Alex-Schwartz1-e1399649858552In this article, highlighted by the National Journal, Schwartz discusses how last month homeowners’ equity reached the highest level since the recession began but still, about 9.8 million homes are still “underwater,” — that is, households “owe more on their mortgages that their homes are worth,” which is a reported 6.28 million, according to a recent report from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California (Berkeley). The report’s authors analyzed home-equity data from Zillow, an online real-estate database, and demographic data from the Census Bureau to find out how many homes per ZIP code are still underwater and who owns them. They found that neighborhoods in which more than 40 percent of homeowners have negative equity tend to have two things in common: a median household income below the national average and a disproportionate share of African-American and Latino residents.

In the article, Schwartz and his co-authors begin to analyze negative equity and foreclosure data together with race and income data, at the ZIP code level, the city level, and the metropolitan area level.  The report shows that if we were to look at the neighborhood level, a significant number of communities across the country still face very high underwater rates. The report also shows that the legacy of predatory lending has resulted in a disproportionately negative impact on African American and Latino communities.