Course Introduction


For those of you who are unfamiliar with trends in income inequality or urban policy, I recommend CQ Researcher.  Though not in-depth enough for a research paper for an upper-level course, the reports give a basic and balanced overview of topics and include suggestions for further researcher, making them invaluable for background research.

On trends in income inequality:

  • Marcia Clemmitt, “Income Inequality: Is the Gap Between Rich and Poor Getting Wider?” (2010) *
  • Alan Greenblatt, “Upward Mobility: Does Income Inequality Threaten the American Dream?” (2005) *

On trends in urban economics and urban development:

  • Thomas Billitteri, “Blighted Cities: Is Demolishing Parts of Cities the Way to Save Them?” (2010) *
  • Alan Grrenblatt, “Downtown Renaissance: Are Center Cities Finally Returning to Health?” (2006, updated 2010) *
  • Mary Cooper, “Smart Growth: Can Managed Growth Reduce Urban Sprawl?” (2004) *
  • Charles Clark, “Revitalizing Cities: Is Regional Planning the Answer?” (1995) *

On housing and transportation policy:

  • Thomas Billitteri, “Mass Transit Boom: Do New Systems Boost Ridership, Relieve Congestion?” (2008) *
  • Peter Katel, “Housing the Homeless: Is the Solution More Shelters or Affordable Housing?” (2009) *
  • Marcia Clemmitt, “Mortgage Crisis: Should the Government Bail Out Borrowers in Trouble?” (2007, updated 2010) *
  • Susan Kellam, “Public Housing: Can the Largest Assisted-Housing Program be Improved?” (1993) *

RACE: The Power of an Illusion is a wonderful series of documentaries that investigates race as a social construct.  It documents how race has been defined and redefined over American history and the consequences racial categories have had policy and people’s well-being.  You can read more about the series and watch video clips on the PBS website, or check out the DVD from Boatwright Library.  I highly recommend Episode 3:The House We Live In, which deals specifically with how African-Americans were treated in our nation’s major social welfare programs.

Two scholarly analyses of the spatial layout of the city and its relationship to opportunity are Michael Katz’s “Poverty and Inequality in the New American City,” from The Price of Citizenship * and Michael Stoll, “Race, Place, and Poverty Revisited” * (an update of the literature on urban space and racial disadvantage).  See also Loic Wacquant, “What Is a Ghetto?” *

Header Image: A view of the Richmond skyline.