Boston LISC Staff blog

Interview with Anthony Flint on his new book Wrestling with Moses

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August 18, 2009:

On August 9th Liane Hansen, NPR Weekend edition host,  interviewed Boston based writer Anthony Flint on his new book, Wrestling with Moses, about Jane Jacobs's battle with New York City redevelopment czar Robert Moses that changed the way people think about cities.  Jacobs, the author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, emerged as a community activist and thinker on urban planning as she battled Robert Moses’ plan to extend 5th Avenue through Washington Square Park in the late 1950s, thereby changing the character of Greenwich Village.

Hansen asks Anthony Flint about the subsequent gentrification of Greenwich Village after Jacobs and her allies defeated Robert Moses, and questions what this says about Jacobs’s theories about urban life. Flint acknowledges this as a central and ongoing issue for Jacobs. If you manage to nurture a good urban place, then does the quality of life make it so attractive that the diversity that made it vital and interesting disappears as a result of market forces?

In addition to Flint’s book and Jane Jacobs own books, those interested in the topic may also want to read Robert Caro’s classic biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker, which is certainly one of the best books on urban politics and power every written.


Pew Study highlights importance of place based strategies

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August 6, 2009:

Bill Traynor of Lawrence Community Works recently drew my attention to a new study from the Pew Economic mobility project which again supports the importance of neighborhood in economic mobility. The study is entitled "Neighborhoods and the Black-White Mobility Gap" and is by a NYU sociologist named Patrick Sharkey. It concludes that children of middle income Black families are at much greater risk of downward economic mobility because of the neighorhoods they live in. The executive summary says "These data suggest that public policy efforts which focus on investing in disadvantaged neighborhoods and reducing the concentration of poverty could enhance economic mobility for children in such neighborhoods."  You can find the press release and download the entire 44 page report on the Pew Trusts Website.


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