am 27. November 1999
Sugrue's work builds on that of other urban scholars, notably Arnold Hirsch and Raymond Mohl. Sugrue challenges the conventional wisdom that urban decay is the product of the social programs and racial problems of the 1960s. He looks beneath the surface prosperity and social consensus associated with the 1950s and finds the rise of hidden racial violence, a new ghetto (sim. to what Hirsch and Mohl term the "second ghetto"), discrimination, and deindustrialization. Sugrue seeks to rectify the lacking historical perspective that has hindered "underclass" studies. His work suggests that the intersection of race, economics, and politics in the 1940s-1960s paved the way for a social and economic disaster in modern cities. Sugrue argues that in the wake of Detroit's World War II boom, the city fell on hard times. As a result, a shrinking pie (so to speak) became highly contested by blacks and whites, particularly in the workplace and in marginal neighborhoods. Sugrue examines the racism associated with federal and local collusion to keep blacks confined in low-rent districts. Further, urban slum clearance and freeway construction worked to the detriment of the black community. Sugrue also shows how industries and businesses deserted the city in a mass exodus as whites went to the suburbs. The result? A spatial mismatch between jobs and the jobless. In the interest of space, I neglect numerous important aspects of Sugrue's seminal work. THE ORIGINS OF THE URBAN CRISIS should be mandatory reading for anyone who is too quick to blame "liberalism" and the Great Society for our urban ills. Essentially, Sugrue confirms for Detroit what Arnold Hirsch found true of Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s -- that the conservative backlash does not spring completely from a sense of a failed Great Society.
am 7. Dezember 1998
Sugrue's thoroughly researched and documented history of racial segregation in Detroit is an essential tool for anyone working on behalf of America's cities. Detailed GIS maps show the razor sharp lines that have divided the city decade after decade in what is still the most racially segregated metropolitan statistical area of over 1 million people in the United States and the only one to get worse over the past 20 years. Sugrue does a good job of examining how racism distorts free market economics. As a result, free market approaches, critical to urban recapitalization, have received a much more cautious acceptance in Detroit than in many other cities that are coming back, such as Cleveland, Baltimore and Portland. David Dworkin Director Fannie Mae Detroit Partnership Office