Urban Policy in an Era of Fiscal Austerity - The 2012 Robert J. Milano Lecture

With the federal debt at $16 trillion, the fate of the nation's cities stands at a crossroads. While cities like New York appear to be doing better than ever, a rising tide of poverty and inequality threatens to undermine their progress. Meanwhile, a large group of second-tier cities, from Detroit and St. Louis to Stockton and San Bernardino, are besieged as never before.

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DREAM Activists and the Immigrant Rights Movement

Tens of thousands of youth graduate high school each year in the US with an inherited title: “undocumented immigrant.” Passage of the DREAM Act would make many undocumented young people legal residents, start them on a path to citizenship and make them eligible for financial aid if they finish college or serve in the military. While Congress considers—and delays—passage, legislators in states nationwide are debating and passing measures of their own.

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The "Just" City: Equality, Social Justice and the Growing City

Mayors and city governments want to promote economic growth to fill coffers, pay for services and raise incomes. But what about growth that corrects social injustices like persistent inequality, racial and ethnic segregation? Can growth instead be harnessed to support equality, diversity and a higher quality of life for everyone? Harvard Professor Susan Fainstein speaks about her new book, The Just City.

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Immigrant Electoral Power: The Changing Face of Leadership in NYC

New York City today has four Asian American elected officials, a far cry from only a decade ago. Although the city has numerous Latino legislators, it has yet to elect a Latino citywide or statewide official. As new generations of immigrants emerge and their children grow up, is New York's political character changing? Can new communities gain influence in government and society and help reshape our political leadership?

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Marching In Place: The Great Recession, Low-Income Working Women and Economic Inequality

For the first time in history, women account for half of America's workforce, according to the recent Shriver Report. As the recession reshapes America’s workforce, women are less likely to lose their jobs than men. Is this progress? Women earn only 77¢ for every dollar earned by men, up a mere 13¢ from 1963. In New York City, important workforce strategies focus on single mothers, yet many working women are struggling with poverty.

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School Food Matters: Hunger, Obesity and Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act

According to advocates, families of at least 1 in 5 New York City children still rely on soup kitchens and food pantries, despite free school breakfast and subsidized school lunches. President Obama pledged to end child hunger in the US by 2015, and the reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Act is expected by September.

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Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New Yorkers

A new FDIC study finds that seven of every 20 New York households is “underbanked.” In most cases, these are low-income, minority and single-parent households that either have no bank accounts or rely heavily on alternative financial services such as payday lenders and pawn shops. Such families can pay exorbitant fees and interest, are at greater risk of robbery, and often can’t borrow because they have no credit history.

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Markets, State and Democracy: Lessons from the Economic Crisis

The libertarian model asserts that heavy state intervention in the economy is a threat to human liberty. But the recent history of market-based democracies has shown almost the reverse. The supposedly “small-state” model of the US has instead opened the door to massive inequalities of income, wealth and power.

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Race and the Subprime Crisis: The Future of Minority Neighborhoods

Some critics blame the Community Reinvestment Act for the mortgage meltdown that prompted the current deep recession. Others point to the abuses of subprime lending and Wall Street manipulation. Yet questions about the impact of the economic collapse on African American communities remain unanswered.

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Pass or Fail: Whats Next for New York City's High Schools?

New York City’s high schools have undergone a powerful transformation during the Bloomberg years, with more than 200 new small schools and dozens of others closed or reshaped. The city’s education department has introduced school competition, giving families unprecedented choice. But how has all this worked out for the students at-risk of dropping out?

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Regional Solutions to Segregation and Racial Inequity: Can Metro Areas Overcome Inequality?

Suburban growth and development away from central cities have increased segregation and racial inequalities in the U.S. Using the Twin Cities region as a lens, Orfield shows why policy makers must shift from neighborhood-level responses and develop regional solutions that promote equity and integration for housing, jobs, and schools.

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Deconstructing the Immigrant Vote: A Feet in Two Worlds Town Hall

More than ever before, immigrant voters are key players in electoral politics and the presidential race. Yet their opinions and concerns are often overlooked by mainstream media. What are the top issues and priorities for today’s immigrant voters? How are the nation’s immigrant communities responding to the candidates’ efforts to woo them—and who will win their votes?

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Same News Different Views, Bridging the Gap Between Ethnic and Mainstream Media

The federal immigration policy debate may soon reach its climactic moment, changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Meanwhile, our city’s immigrant communities face unique—and not so unique—local challenges related to schools, poverty, housing and more. If you read or listen to the mainstream English-language press, what are you missing?

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More Voices, More Choices: Expanding Community Participation and Employment Opportunities

Despite popular rhetoric and policy initiatives in support of consumer-friendly services and greater individual choice, many city residents with developmental disabilities still struggle with unemployment, segregation and services tailored to the broad-brush needs of the population, not to individual people. Will the latest state efforts to encourage person-centered planning open up valuable new alternatives?

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Workforce for Hire - Day Labor in New York City

Every morning, hundreds of recent immigrants converge on street corners throughout the city in search of work. The jobs can be dangerous, but the pay is not bad, and most laborers earn enough to support families back home. Who are New York's day laborers? What are their working conditions? Is New York unique?

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