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urban history



  • The Forgotten History of How Accessible Design Reshaped the Streets

    Long before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 mandated curb cuts at all street corners, 30 years ago this summer, disabled people had pointed to the design of the street as a key locus of their political rights — the sidewalk that stands for being in public space, and therefore in the public sphere.



  • Why Trump’s Blunt Appeals to Suburban Voters May Not Work

    “[Nixon's campaigns] understood something about race that Trump doesn’t understand,” [Matthew] Lassiter said. “Voters don’t want racial privilege challenged, but they don’t want to be explicitly reminded that racism is underneath their position.”



  • How Police Unions Fight Reform

    Activists insist that police departments must change. For half a century, New York City’s P.B.A. has successfully resisted such demands.



  • Tearing Down Black America

    by Brent Cebul

    Ensuring that Black Lives Matter doesn't just require police reform. The history of urban renewal shows that governments have worked to dismantle and destabilize Black communities in the name of progress.



  • How Can Local Government Address Systemic Racism?

    Peniel Joseph, one of the nation’s leading civil rights scholars, has studied and written about the history of race and democracy. He has some ideas on how cities and urban areas can begin to dismantle racism.



  • When Conservatives Called To Freeze Police Budgets

    by David Helps

    Activists calling for defunding the police and increasing social services can ironically learn lessons from conservative Southern Californians who demanded "law and order secured on someone else’s dime."



  • Riots Long Ago, Luxury Living Today

    High-end development has transformed some Black neighborhoods decades after they were scarred by unrest. And not by coincidence.


  • Centuries of Protest at City Hall Park

    by Marika Plater

    Closed gates around City Hall Park in New York not only restrict access to the park as a site for protest, but ignore the site's history as a theater for political expression. 



  • The Best Histories of U.S. Policing, According to Experts

    A panel of experts including historians Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Simon Balto, Max Felker-Kantor, Carl Suddler, Stuart Schrader and Melanie Newport assemble a reading list for understanding policing and its relationship to racism and social class in the US.