Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Inequality Found in the 'Unstudied Neighborhoods' Too

A new journal article calls out the academic community of planning and urbanism for relying too much on the usual suspects when researching marginalization and inequality, and assuming too much about what makes a neighborhood "normal."
December 4, 2018, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments
Hill District
A street in Pittsburgh's Hill District.
Everett Historical

Junia Howell, a sociology professor with the University of Pittsburgh and Kinder scholar, has published a recent article in the journal Sociology Compass that exposes the "the unstudied reference neighborhood" that could contribute to a more complete understanding of inequality and marginalization.

An article by Leah Binkovitz provides insight into the implications of the study:

After naming some of the landmark pieces of neighborhood-focused research that have helped shape urban policy for decades, Howell notes, "with few exceptions, neighborhood studies only examine a small slice of urban neighborhoods." Over the years, scholars have spent time in Italian 'slums,' Puerto Rican neighborhoods and majority black neighborhoods, Howell notes, but white, middle-class neighborhoods "are rarely studied in the literature." 

Repeatedly associating specific neighborhoods with inequality and marginalization, "reinforces the notion that impoverished and marginalized communities are distinct and exist in stark juxtaposition to all other communities," says Howell in a quote from the article.

As a result, scholarship suffers, policy, and public discourse. Howell discusses the implications of the article in the video below, but Binkovitz also gives a lot more to think about in the sourced article.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, November 29, 2018 in Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research: The Urban Edge
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email