Magical Urbanism

Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. Big City, By Mike Davis Verso Press, June 2000 129 pp. Globalization is the overarching theme of our times. This inter-penetration of culture, economics and communication is moving so fast that understanding it in its totality seems impossible. Mike Davis’s new book, Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. Big […]

From the Puritans to the Projects

From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Publlic Neighbors, by Lawrence J. Vale. Howard University Press , 2000 392 pp. Exclusionary zoning, middle class flight, housing discrimination, segregation, lack of affordable housing, poverty’s negative effects on children and families – all are familiar 21st century problems in America. They were also 17th, 18th, […]

You Wouldn’t Fit Here

Let’s define segregation as a social harm rather than an inconvenient byproduct of individual preferences. We need alternatives for viable communities.

Be Pragmatic and Persistent

In the midst of the recent presidential campaign, the Wall Street Journal declared, “Despite Sky-High Rents and Prices, Housing Is the Forgotten Issue in Race.” “People don’t expect the federal government to have a role anymore,” explained former President Jimmy Carter. With the campaign, the Bush administration set itself a very low bar. However, facts […]

Expand Upon Successes and Seize New Opportunities

George W. Bush is often described as a man who believes in limited government, personal responsibility, strong families and local initiative. It’s too early to forecast with precision how these values will translate into the Bush administration’s domestic policy priorities. However, one development in particular during the first two months of the Bush administration, combined […]

Keep Growing the Grassroots

The Bush administration, in its first appointments and executive orders, has made it clear that labor unions, and working people in general, will be primary targets. Conservatives are worried about the improved political effectiveness of the labor movement. At the same time, there is a growing sentiment in the labor movement that the rights of […]

Expand Your Base, Hold Democrats Accountable

ACORN members don’t expect much from the Bush administration, but for an organization that got its start during the Nixon years, and thrived through the Ford, Reagan, and Bush Sr. years, dealing with Republicans is nothing new. First, let’s not kid ourselves about what the Clinton years meant for organizations like ours. Arguably the most […]

The Importance of Design (Community Development and New Urbanism)

We need a marriage of CDC work and urban design,” says Sandy Phillips of the Manchester-Bidwell Development Corporation and former director of the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development. “Nonprofit urban infill housing should be designed for the community, not for other architects.” Good design reinforces the special character of urban neighborhoods and produces affordable housing […]

Fenway’s Formidable Force

As it celebrates its 28th anniversary, Boston’s Fenway Community Development Corporation (FCDC) is at an interesting point in its history. The need to preserve and develop affordable housing in the Fenway hasn’t gone away, but the battle is being fought on a whole new level. In 1973, FCDC’s founders were chaining themselves to the Massachusetts […]

Not Afraid To Speak Up

As the World Trade Organization (WTO) prepared for its meetings in Seattle in November 1999, homeless advocates were worried that street sweeps to clean up downtown for the meetings would target the homeless, destroy camps and infringe on their human rights. In the mass protests that surrounded the meeting, activists and homeless people together squatted […]

Everything Old is New Again

It’s déjà vu at every turn these days. Colin Powell is visiting the Middle East. Airline workers are not allowed to strike. The economy is getting bumpy, and the administration promises that tax cuts to the wealthy will help give it a boost. We’re hearing about how HUD has “too many” programs, and despite the […]

Shelter Shorts

Budget Blues and Fuzzy Math The Bush administration claims that its FY 2002 budget blueprint contains a $1.9 billion dollar increase for HUD. Not so, say Rep. John J. LaFalce (D-NY) and Democrats on the Committee on Financial Services. They charge that the numbers reveal a real spending cut of $2.2 billion. The discrepancies come […]

Involving union welfare office workers in welfare organizing

The Organization of the NorthEast (ONE) has over 70 members: religious congregations, social service agencies, ethnic associations and businesses from three diverse lakefront Chicago neighborhoods – Rogers Park, Uptown and Edgewater. Local Accountability Welfare reform hit ONE communities hard. By 1999, our ethnic association members identified many eligible clients who were denied state nutritional benefits […]

Program Related Investments (PRIs)

The term “program-related investment” (PRI) was first coined in the Tax Reform Act of 1969. As currently defined in the tax code, a PRI is any investment by a foundation that meets three tests: 1) its primary purpose is to further the tax exempt purposes of the foundation; 2) the production of income or property […]

Going After the Predators

In the 1990s, minority and working class communities benefited from a significant increase in home and small business lending. Exploiting the rising homeownership in these traditionally underserved communities, predatory lenders have been aggressively marketing their refinance and “debt consolidation” products in these neighborhoods. (

Legislative News

Committee Membership The first two months of the 107th Congress have been spent mostly on internal organization. Since the Senate is split 50-50, both parties have equal membership on committees, but Republicans still chair them. Phil Gramm (R-TX) remains chair of the Senate Banking Committee, the committee that has jurisdiction over housing issues. Wayne Allard […]