A new Report on the State of Health + Urbanism (pdf) from MIT looks at the relationship between urban planning and public health, with some surprising findings. The cities covered are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [more inside]
In 2008 the late Robert Fitch, author of "The Assassination of New York", was asked to foretell an Obama presidency before the Harlem Tenants Association:
If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we’ll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condos and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs... Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins.
Are you a young middle-class creative type (probably white) who has chosen to live in an urban neighborhood that your parents would have shunned? Have the families that formerly lived in your neighborhood (probably not white) been pushed out by soaring rents and real-estate prices to the city fringes or suburbs? The New Republic on demographic inversion.
In the summer of 1995 there was a week-long heat wave in Chicago. Over 700 people died. Most of them were the elderly, poor, and African-Americans. Link above is a Slate article by Eric Klinberg who wrote the definitive Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (2003) in which he concludes that "a city, in its decision to operate like a corporation, experienced the breakdown of massive social services" and the resulting "widening cracks in the social foundations of America's cities".
Urban Experience in Chicago: Hull-House and Its Neighbourhoods 1889-1963. Scholarly urban history project.