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Avoid the Hustle

“Why Cities Matter,” by Saskia Sassen.;Why, in Sassen’s view, are cities so important these days?

Category: Essay Writing

Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier*

Chapter 1. How is the modern process of “suburbanization” different from the pre-nineteenth century “suburb”? What were the main characteristics of the old “walking city”?

Chapter 2.When did Robert Fulton build the world’s first steam ferry service? What was a “ferry suburb”? When/where was the first omnibus service introduced into north America? What was the “riding habit”? What were “railroad suburbs”?

Chapter 3. What was the new cult of “domesticity” as it developed in the nineteenth century? How was it connected with new housing styles and new ideas about the proper role for men and women? How did Catherine Beacher’s ideas and Andrew Jackson Downing’s architecture relate to these developments?

Chapter 4.What was the “gridiron system” of street design?

Chapter 6. Around when was the “trolley” introduced into North America?

Chapter 8. What has been the dominant method of population growth in almost every major American city? What is “annexation”? Why has it declined?

Chapter 9. Towards which social class were the first automobiles directed? When did Henry Ford introduce the moving assembly line? Why were the early highways called “parkways”? What did the Federal Road Act of 1916 and the Federal Road Act of 1921 do? Why did the trolley/streetcar decline?

Chapter 11. What role did the Home Owners Loan Corporation and the Federal housing Adminstration play in the development and support of racially segregated neighborhoods?

Halle and Tiso, New York’s New Edge, Intro: The authors discuss three main developments in the book, art galleries, “preservation projects,” and “mega projects”. What are some of the main issues and question that these three developments raise?

Week 2


Chapter.12 What are the deficiencies of public housing in America and what went wrong?

Chapter.13 What was Levittown and why was it significant? What, according to Jackson, were the main features of postwar suburbs?

Chapter l4 In what ways is modern American culture a “drive-in” culture? What does Jackson mean by the “centerless” city?

Chapter 15. What does Jackson mean by a “loss of community” in most contemporary metropolitan areas? Do you agree with him?

David Halle and Andrew Beveridge, “The Rise and Decline of the LA and New York Schools, “ chapter 7 in Dennis Judd ed., The City Revisited, Univ of Minnesota Press, 2010. Why, according to the authors, are the concepts of an LA and NY school not as useful as they were?

Why is it no longer common to refer to Harlem as a “ghetto”?

David Halle and Andrew Beveridge, “Financial, Economic and Political Crises: From Sub-prime Loans to Dodd-Frank, Occupy Wall Street and Beyond,” chapter 6 in New York and Los Angeles: The Uncertain Future. Why did Southern California have so many sub-prime lenders? What are Credit Default Swaps? Why did Warren Buffet call them “weapons of mass destruction”? Why did the 2008 Lehman bankruptcy cause such problems for the banking sector? What were TARP funds? What were some of the main solutions to the foreclosure problem suggested by Roubini and colleagues?

David Halle and Andrew Beveridge, “New York and Los Angeles:The Uncertain Future” chapter 1 in New York and Los Angeles: The Uncertain Future.

What are some of the main uncertainties that the authors discuss?

Week 3

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, chs 1(intro), 2, 7 and 8.

Ch.1. What are the goals of the “orthodox” urban planners (“Garden city” theorists, LeCorbusier etc.) whom Jacobs criticizes?

Ch.2 What makes for safe urban streets? Why, according to Jacobs, does Los Angeles have such a high crime rate? What is the most important factor that generates “eyes upon the street”?

Ch. 7. Why is diversity important? What are the four conditions needed to generate diversity?

Ch.8. Why does Jacobs argue for a mixture of “primary uses” in the city? What does she mean by “secondary” diversity? What is the point she is making when she compares good urban planning to playing chess?

Ch. 10. Why does a thriving neighborhood need a mixture of old and new buildings, according to Jacobs?

Ch. 11. Why is density important? What is the distinction Jacobs makes between overcrowding and density? Why does she think cities need some tall, new buildings?

web:Jacobsreveiw) David Halle, “Who Wears Jane Jacobs’s Mantle in Today’s New York City?” The Villager, Jan 2-8, 2008 Why does Halle argue that Jacobs’s main heir in today’s New York City is the Department of City Planning?

Robert Caro, The Power Broker, Introduction (“Wait Until Evening”) and ch. 20 (“One Year.”.)

“Moses, Robert,” pp. 774-775 in Jackson, The Encylopedia of New York City.

Joel Garreau, Edge City: Life on the New Frontier, Introduction, ch1, and ch. 8 (Southern California). How does Garreau define “edge cities”? Why are they important?

David Halle, “Introduction”, in Halle, ed. New York and Los Angeles.

What, according to Halle, are the main characterstics of the “New York” and the “Los Angeles” schools” of urban and suburban sociology. What are some of the main geographic boundaries that might constitute “New York” and “Los Angeles”?

David Halle, Introduction.

What, according to Halle, are the characteristics of the New York and Los Angeles schools?

Halle and Tiso, New York’s New Edge, chap 5.

Why was expanding the Javits Center important, what are the main reasons why it failed to happen, and what are some of the main reasons/”blocking factors” generally why megaprojects often fail to happen?

Week 4.

James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, “Broken Windows,” Atlantic Monthly (March, 1982).

What is the “broken windows” theory according to Wilson?

Jeffrey Fagan and John MacDonald,“Policing, Crime and Legitimacy in New York and Los Angeles.” What, according to Fagan and MacDonald, are some of the recent developments and issues regarding crime in the two cities?

Julia Wrigley, “LA and New York Schools.”.

What is the case for “Mayoral Control” of the schools in New York City? Why has LA lagged in this regard? What are the pros and cons of small schools and charter schools? What are the issues associated with accountability and measuring success?