From the National to the Local: Federal Investment in Urban Policy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cleveland, cities, Ohio View of Downtown Cleveland Skyline, taken from the Superior Viaduct (Wikimedia Commons user Avogadro94)

In the 1980s, the national recession and high unemployment led to increased violence and crime in cities throughout the United States. The Great Recession of 2007-2008 left many Americans in much worse shape and yet, sociologist Patrick Sharkey notes, "the downturn never made its way out of their homes and onto the streets."

Sharkey argues that the Obama Administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 2009 stimulus package, allowed cities to escape many of the problems that plagued urban dwellers in the early 1980s. But now that stimulus funding has ebbed, Sharkey warns that a "historical perspective on urban policy reveals a cycle in which periods of major investment are followed by periods of neglect, disinvestment and decline."


Patrick Sharkey

Comments [2]

Jerrold Richards

There is a Tom Lehrer song about Harvard with the lyric, "We will sleep through all the lectures, and cheat on the exams, and we'll pass and be forgotten like the rest." For the majority of us who do not have family, money and political connections, this is exactly the wrong strategy. In the coming decades, I think, as always through history, there will be comfortable job niches for people who actually can do the math, do the job. You can either analyze the water sample or you can't. You can either build and program the robot, or you can't.

Apr. 30 2013 02:38 PM
Jerrold Richards

The rich are hogging too much of the wealth, sure, and that must be addressed. There is also however the matter of churning, which has been a feature of the American job market for many decades, and even more so now. The types of jobs which produce decent income change over time. Some adapt, some do not. Some buggy whip makers move to making disc brakes. I think for the next several decades a major trend will be away from mass manufacturing and toward custom-tailored manufacturing involving a more or less cooperative relationship between people and increasingly autonomous machines. This could be a dystopian horror, or the avenue to a better age, better for humanity and for the ecosystem.

Apr. 30 2013 01:39 PM

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