What the Mermaid Taught Me

Wrestling With Starbucks, by Kim Fellner. Rutgers University
Press, 2008, 283 pp. $24.95 (hardcover).

What’s the Matter With Newark?

For the community economic development organizations that have spent decades trying to keep Newark’s neighborhoods afloat, the promise of a new mayor has only managed to throw the city’s paradoxes into sharper relief.

Trading Bullets for a Better Future

Youth violence scars lives, turning America’s streets into war zones. How do we transform killing fields into training grounds for stronger communities?

In Praise of Faith-Based Community Organizing

Government has frequently turned to the voluntary religious sector to provide social services. The question is how and why it’s done: to entice religious conversion, impose sectarian values, to win conservative votes? Or to meet human needs?

Urban Policy Next

Urban policies are the rules and incentives that shape the prosperity, equity, and environmental sustainability of the metropolitan regions in which 8 in 10 people live.

Time to Address the Rural Housing Crisis

The next administration will face significant housing issues well beyond those related to foreclosures and mortgage markets. The housing needs of low-income people in both urban and rural places predated the housing crash and will undoubtedly outlast it. One of every five homes in this country is located in a nonmetropolitan area. More than one-quarter […]

Breaking Asset Poverty: Better Homeownership—and More

Rather than abandoning homeownership as an asset-building strategy the next administration must pursue alternative strategies: bringing back “good homeownership,” supporting quality affordable rental housing, and developing other ways to help families of modest means invest for themselves and their future.

Needed: National Leadership for Sustainable Development

Imagine a country of walkable neighborhoods, transportation choices, healthy homes, less time in traffic, and more disposable income, complemented by a beautiful landscape of conservation lands and working forests and farms. That is still within our reach with vision and leadership.

‘A Fighter of Uncommon Grace’

The death of U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio came as a shock not only because of its suddenness, but also because it was the loss of an affordable-housing advocate who strove for social and economic justice. Tubbs Jones, 58, died Aug. 20 after suffering a brain aneurysm. Popular not only in her district […]

Poverty Measurements Fall Short

After more than four decades using a formula considered by critics as substandard and outdated, the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support has begun exploring ideas that could lead to a new metric that would better reflect the extent of poverty in the United States. The question is: Will […]

Environmental Justice: Heck of a Job Ahead

The new president has a lot of catching up to do on the unmet imperatives of environmental justice. Originally anchored in the urgency of redressing the impact of environmental poisons and discriminatory pollution on workers and low-income people in communities of color, the environmental and economic justice movement forged a coherent vision that defines and […]

The Other Health Agenda

What the next president can do to improve the health of low- and moderate-income Americans and to reduce glaring inequities in health care.

A Housing Renaissance?

A group of former FEMA trailer residents has formed an organization to raise money to house Louisianans displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The nonprofit — Katrina Rebirth Promise Land — is reaching for a lofty $30 million goal. The organization’s board is made up of former residents of Renaissance Village, FEMA’s trailer park outside Baker, Louisiana. […]

Who You Gonna Call?

Hurricane Gustav blew into the Gulf Coast on Labor Day weekend, almost three years to the day that Katrina brought its misery to New Orleans, carrying powerful memories of how thoroughly our federal government had abdicated its responsibility to protect and aid the people of the Gulf Coast. Like the ghosts that populate folktales, Gustav […]

$4 a Gallon Gas Changed (Nearly) Everything!

This contribution arrived via time capsule from Aug. 28, 2020: Looking back, the signs should have been obvious: After decades of decline, city populations stabilized during the 1990s and even started to increase in many locations during the 1990s and early 2000s. The sharp increase in fuel prices in 2005-2008 accelerated the return of higher-income […]

A Fair Housing Agenda for 2008 and Beyond

With more than 3.7 million instances of housing discrimination occurring annually and segregation remaining a central feature of the nation’s housing markets, fair housing remains the critical unfinished agenda of the civil-rights movement. Your administration has the opportunity to craft policies that can dismantle the structures of discrimination. The typical white resident in the United […]

Early Childhood Education: A Teachable Moment

One of the greatest contributions that the new president could make to education would be to put the federal government squarely behind initiatives recognizing that improvements in schools depend on more children getting off to a good start.