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The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and Bronzeville

Overview

Two of the most celebrated black neighborhoods in the United States—Harlem in New York City and Bronzeville in Chicago—were once plagued by crime, drugs, and abject poverty. But now both have transformed into increasingly trendy and desirable neighborhoods with old buildings being rehabbed, new luxury condos being built, and banks opening branches in areas that were once redlined. In The New Urban Renewal, Derek S. Hyra offers an illuminating exploration of the complicated web of factors—local, national, and ...

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Overview

Two of the most celebrated black neighborhoods in the United States—Harlem in New York City and Bronzeville in Chicago—were once plagued by crime, drugs, and abject poverty. But now both have transformed into increasingly trendy and desirable neighborhoods with old buildings being rehabbed, new luxury condos being built, and banks opening branches in areas that were once redlined. In The New Urban Renewal, Derek S. Hyra offers an illuminating exploration of the complicated web of factors—local, national, and global—driving the remarkable revitalization of these two iconic black communities.
 
How did these formerly notorious ghettos become dotted with expensive restaurants, health spas, and chic boutiques? And, given that urban renewal in the past often meant displacing African Americans, how have both neighborhoods remained black enclaves? Hyra combines his personal experiences as a resident of both communities with deft historical analysis to investigate who has won and who has lost in the new urban renewal. He discovers that today’s redevelopment affects African Americans differentially: the middle class benefits while lower-income residents are priced out. Federal policies affecting this process also come under scrutiny, and Hyra breaks new ground with his penetrating investigation into the ways that economic globalization interacts with local political forces to massively reshape metropolitan areas.

As public housing is torn down and money floods back into cities across the United States, countless neighborhoods are being monumentally altered. The New Urban Renewal is a compelling study of the shifting dynamics of class and race at work in the contemporary urban landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

William Julius Wilson

The New Urban Renewal will change the way many people think about socioeconomic stratification within black America. Derek Hyra’s study of the local, national, and global factors that led to the economic transformation of two historic black communities is insightful. And many of his findings on how this revitalization affected relations between the black poor and the black middle are original. It is an important addition to the burgeoning literature on intraracial class conflict.”

Mary Pattillo

The New Urban Renewal is not only a close-up look at two neighborhoods, it is also a broad account of how the sources of change in Bronzeville and Harlem are located in downtowns, D.C., and even more distant places as workers in the global economy demand more and more space in central cities. This is a really ambitious study with tremendous analytical payoff.”

Herbert J. Gans

“Derek Hyra’s wide-ranging study tells two important and interesting stories. One is a progress report on the now ongoing gentrification of poor neighborhoods in America’s two major black ghettoes. The other, as the title implies, suggests a new installment of the ‘Negro Removal’ that began in the 1950s.”

New York Sun - Edward Glaeser

"[Hyra] gives us an interesting and nuanced picture of how urban change impacts people’s lives, and he reminds us that the growing prosperity of a place may leave many people behind."
Journal of American History - Richard J.Meister

"For historians the book is a welcome addition to the study of the African American urban experience. . . . A fascinating examination  of what is happening to two historic black communities and to race relations."
American Journal of Sociology - J. Brown-Saracino

"Essential reading for gentrification scholars, as well as for scholars of urban affairs, economics, and politics. In addition, given Hyra's clear prose and the fascinating puzzle that frames the book--why gentrification unfolds differently in two similar neighborhoods--the book would be a fruitful addition to graduate and undergraduate syllabi in a variety of fields. Indeed, students would do well to read Hyra's account, for it is sure to leave a lasting mark on gentrification debate and policy."
Urban Affairs Review - Kesha S. Moore

"New Urban Renewal greatly advances our understanding of how and why urban neighborhoods change. Both the methods and the results of this study are innovative contributions to the field of urban sociology. Through its multilayered comparative approach, New Urban Renewal reveals the global, national, and local processes responsible for transforming low-income black neighborhoods into gentrified communities. . . . It is written with clear, straightforward language that makes it easily accessible to undergraduates and of sufficient theoretical rigor to engage graduate students. [It] will be of particular value to courses, scholars, and individuals focused on community development, race and class stratification, and urban politics."
Choice

"[Hyra] provides a valuable addition to the existing urban studies literature . . . by analyzing the redevelopment of Harlem in New York and Bronzeville in Chicago. . . . The author convincingly shows how economic globalization, national political and economic factors, and local political forces all interact to produce varied outcomes."
Journal of American History
For historians the book is a welcome addition to the study of the African American urban experience. . . . A fascinating examination  of what is happening to two historic black communities and to race relations.

— Richard J.Meister

Urban Affairs Review
New Urban Renewal greatly advances our understanding of how and why urban neighborhoods change. Both the methods and the results of this study are innovative contributions to the field of urban sociology. Through its multilayered comparative approach, New Urban Renewal reveals the global, national, and local processes responsible for transforming low-income black neighborhoods into gentrified communities. . . . It is written with clear, straightforward language that makes it easily accessible to undergraduates and of sufficient theoretical rigor to engage graduate students. [It] will be of particular value to courses, scholars, and individuals focused on community development, race and class stratification, and urban politics.

— Kesha S. Moore

American Journal of Sociology
Essential reading for gentrification scholars, as well as for scholars of urban affairs, economics, and politics. In addition, given Hyra's clear prose and the fascinating puzzle that frames the book—why gentrification unfolds differently in two similar neighborhoods—the book would be a fruitful addition to graduate and undergraduate syllabi in a variety of fields. Indeed, students would do well to read Hyra's account, for it is sure to leave a lasting mark on gentrification debate and policy.

— J. Brown-Saracino

New York Sun
[Hyra] gives us an interesting and nuanced picture of how urban change impacts people’s lives, and he reminds us that the growing prosperity of a place may leave many people behind.

— Edward Glaeser

New York Sun

"[Hyra] gives us an interesting and nuanced picture of how urban change impacts people’s lives, and he reminds us that the growing prosperity of a place may leave many people behind."—Edward Glaeser, New York Sun

Choice

"[Hyra] provides a valuable addition to the existing urban studies literature . . . by analyzing the redevelopment of Harlem in New York and Bronzeville in Chicago. . . . The author convincingly shows how economic globalization, national political and economic factors, and local political forces all interact to produce varied outcomes."—Choice

Journal of American History

"For historians the book is a welcome addition to the study of the African American urban experience. . . . A fascinating examination of what is happening to two historic black communities and to race relations."—Richard J. Meister, Journal of American History

— Richard J.Meister

American Journal of Sociology

"Essential reading for gentrification scholars, as well as for scholars of urban affairs, economics, and politics. In addition, given Hyra's clear prose and the fascinating puzzle that frames the book--why gentrification unfolds differently in two similar neighborhoods--the book would be a fruitful addition to graduate and undergraduate syllabi in a variety of fields. Indeed, students would do well to read Hyra's account, for it is sure to leave a lasting mark on gentrification debate and policy."

— J. Brown-Saracino

Urban Affairs Review

"New Urban Renewal greatly advances our understanding of how and why urban neighborhoods change. Both the methods and the results of this study are innovative contributions to the field of urban sociology. Through its multilayered comparative approach, New Urban Renewal reveals the global, national, and local processes responsible for transforming low-income black neighborhoods into gentrified communities. . . . It is written with clear, straightforward language that makes it easily accessible to undergraduates and of sufficient theoretical rigor to engage graduate students. [It] will be of particular value to courses, scholars, and individuals focused on community development, race and class stratification, and urban politics."

— Kesha S. Moore

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226366043
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 969,299
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Derek S. Hyra is associate professor of urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech. He is also an affiliated scholar of the Urban Institute, a research affiliate of the National Poverty Center, and a commissioner of the Alexandria (Virginia) Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Preface
Acknowledgements

1     Introduction
2     Building a Theoretical Framework of Urban Transformation
3     What's Globalization Got to Do with It?
4     The New Urban Renewal, Part 1: The Empowerment Zones
5     The New Urban Renewal, Part 2: Public Housing Reforms
6     City Politics and Black Protest
7     Racial-Uplift? Intra-racial Class Conflict
8     Conclusion: A revisit of Urban Theory and Policy

Appendix A: Demographic Information
Appendix B: Community Areas in New York City and Chicago
Appendix C: Public Housing Data
Appendix D: The Comparative, Vertical Ethnographic Approach
Notes
References
Index

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