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Ordering the City

Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing, and the Restoration of Urban America

Nicole Stelle Garnett
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Ordering the City
    Book Description:

    This timely and important book highlights the multiple, often overlooked, and frequently misunderstood connections between land use and development policies and policing practices. In order to do so, the book draws upon multiple literatures-especially law, history, economics, sociology, and psychology-as well as concrete case studies to better explore how these policy arenas, generally treated as completely unrelated, intersect and conflict.

    Nicole Stelle Garnett identifies different types of urban "disorder," some that may be precursors to serious crime and social deviancy, others that may be benign or even contribute positively to urban vitality. The book's unique approach-to analyze city policies through the lens of order and disorder-provides a clearer understanding, generally, of how cities work (and why they sometimes do not), and specifically, of what disorder is and how it affects city life.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15505-1
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    The walls of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, Italy, are graced with Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s striking frescoes contrasting the effects of “good government” and “bad government” on fourteenth-century city life. In the city under good government, men work to repair stately buildings, women socialize in the streets, and merchants sell their wares in a busy marketplace. In the city under bad government, the buildings are crumbling, men stand idle (save one crafting weapons), bandits terrorize the innocent, and the bodies of murder victims lie in the streets. The goals of urban policy, it appears, have not changed in more than six...

  5. 1 Order in the City
    (pp. 9-26)

    The current focus on restoring order in our cities arises against a backdrop of a century-long debate about when, how, and if local governments generally—and police officers in particular—should address the constellation of problems now known as “urban disorder.” This chapter briefly outlines that debate in an effort to place contemporary disorder-suppression efforts in their legal and historical context.

    Over the past century, American policing practices have woven a curious course, from a focus on proactive peacekeeping, to the “professionalization” of response-oriented police forces in the mid-twentieth century, to a renewed emphasis on preventing and curbing disorder (that...

  6. 2 Ordering the City
    (pp. 27-48)

    Largely missing from the academic debate about the order-maintenance revolution is a discussion of the complex and important role of property regulations in order-maintenance efforts. To be fair, broken windows scholarship concentrates primarily on policing strategies that are, in a sense, property regulations: They seek to restore order by regulating public places—streets, parks, and so on. For example, the anti-gang-loitering law invalidated by the Supreme Court inCity of Chicago v. Moraleshad “zoning” characteristics. It was enforced only in “areas in which the presence of gang members ha[d] a demonstrable effect on the activities of law abiding persons...

  7. 3 A Four-Category Taxonomy of Disorder
    (pp. 49-76)

    At the same time that urban policy has become intensely focused on curbing urban disorder, many policymakers, land-use scholars, and urban planners have come to question the wisdom of the order-construction enterpriseon order-maintenance grounds. This new generation of zoning skeptics, especially those who endorse the “new urbanism,” worry that the separation of urban land uses might contribute to, rather than suppress, urban disorder. This view can be traced to Jane Jacobs’s insight—repeated quite often these days in law reviews, architectural magazines, and planning journals—thatpeoplemake city streets feel safe and vibrant. Jacobs argued that the busyness...

  8. 4 Order Construction as Disorder Suppression
    (pp. 77-100)

    Several years ago, aWashington Post Magazinecover story featured James Delgado, a “building inspector with a bulletproof vest,” engaged in a one-man crusade to use property regulations to restore order in the poorest, most chaotic communities in the nation’s capital. For his efforts, Delgado earned the gratitude of D.C. residents. “Thank God Mr. Delgado works for the city and thank God he was able to help us,” wrote one resident after Delgado closed down a crack house in his neighborhood. But Delgado’s unorthodox, aggressive approach—especially his willingness to “creatively push . . . the outer limits of laws...

  9. 5 Relocating Disorder
    (pp. 101-125)

    Maricopa County, Arizona, is re-creating skid row. Several years ago, the county acquired several square blocks of property south of downtown Phoenix for a “human ser vices campus” and has begun to relocate governmental, nonprofit, and religious organizations that serve the homeless to new facilities there. County officials hail the project as a cutting-edge, “collaborative effort among faith-based, private, governmental and community organizations” that will integrate dispersed providers, enabling them to better serve the area’s large homeless population “in an environment of compassion and dignity.” But the county’s motives are not solely humanitarian. As many as one thousand homeless people...

  10. 6 The Order-Maintenance Agenda as Land-Use Policy
    (pp. 126-149)

    In his short history of urban life,The City: A Global History,Joel Kotkin argues that all successful cities have three core characteristics: They are sacred, they are safe, and they are busy. Few would argue with Kotkin’s emphasis on city safety, or with his conviction that urban societies fail unless they keep their citizens safe. City life has long depended upon two kinds of security—the protection from invading outsiders and from deviant insiders. Until quite recently, urban civilizations’ very existence depended upon the ability to repel invaders. Ancient cities—Assyrian, Greek, Indian, Roman, and American—developed and flourished...

  11. 7 Reordering the City
    (pp. 150-188)

    Although most local government officials acting as regulators behave as if they continue to endorse the order constructed by zoning rules, many local officials acting as developers seem to have abandoned it. Indeed, imbedded in many cities’ redevelopment policies is an implicit admission that past order-construction efforts failed. Less than a half of a century ago, cities spent billions of dollars in federal funds to demolish urban neighborhoods and reorder them to reflect the order-construction ideal: Traditional urban communities were leveled and replaced with modern, single-use developments, high-rise residential and commercial towers, and massive elevated freeways. Today, the same cities...

  12. 8 Letting Go?
    (pp. 189-212)

    When I began this book, I did not plan to end by making a case for incremental land-use reform. I embraced Jane Jacobs’s ideas whole-heartedly and without reservation—the soundness of her judgment about land-use policies being as self-evident to me as the sharpness of her observations about city life. I did not like zoning, and I still do not like it. Rules that impose a regulatory straightjacket and that, in many cases, require cities to behave as suburbs strike me as wrongheaded and silly. But to think hard about cities is to confront their complexity and the complexity of...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 213-230)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 231-264)
  15. Index
    (pp. 265-276)