Growth and Structure of Cities Senior Theses (2006-2007)

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    “Is Paris burning?”: The French Banlieue in crisis
    (2007-06-21T15:50:14Z) Lynch, Sarah
    Over the past twenty-five years, the French government has steadily implemented a program of urban policy (la politique de la ville) that targets working-class suburbs in decline (banlieues). The strategies underlying these policies have changed with each successive administration; dozens of policies have been enacted, each has been trumpeted as the key to solving France’s ongoing “urban crisis.” In general, these policies sought to address complex issues of poverty and social marginalization in the banlieues; individually, each policy was a response to those particular aspects of the urban crisis that had become most pressing at the time. By all accounts, each policy failed. Indeed, the fiery riots that swept through France in November 2005 convinced all social observers that the dysfunction of the banlieue is actually accelerating and intensifying. This thesis highlights the failure of French urban policy through the lens of three separate initiatives, each of which was chosen as representative of a distinct ideological stage in the evolution of la politique de la ville: Développement social des quartiers (DSQ, 1981), Pacte de relance pour la ville (PRV, 1996), and Plan de cohésion sociale (PCS, 2004). This thesis contends that the failure of la politique de la ville can be traced to a conceptual shift that occurred in the mid-1990s. This shift is apparent in the contrast between the assumption of the DSQ, in the 1980s, that the dysfunction in the banlieues reflected larger social problems within France, and the subsequent belief, of both the PRV and the PCS, that the banlieues themselves were the principal source of social dysfunction. This gradual articulation of the banlieues and their inhabitants as a problem has managed to shift the ideological focus of French urban policy from progressive social development to repressive social control. Presently, the emphasis is on pacifying the banlieues in the interest of national security. This thesis explores the reasons for that conceptual shift and traces its profound implications. In conclusion, this thesis argues that the official response to the radical question of citizenship that dysfunction in the banlieues continues to raise will determine the viability of French republican ideals into the twenty-first century.
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    Progress at a profit? an analysis of Edison Schools, Inc. in Philadelphia
    (2007-06-20T16:06:22Z) Roberts, Jennifer
    Philadelphia public schools have a long standing history of academic and fiscal crises. After many unsuccessful reform movements, state officials were forced to confront these issues once again with a highly experimental and controversial solution: hiring a for-profit educational management organization to run Philadelphia’s ‘worst’ schools. When Edison Schools, Inc. and ambitious entrepreneurs initially came to Philadelphia, they were convinced they could turn Philadelphia’s under-funded, under-achieving schools into successful, cost effective institutions while simultaneously turning a profit. They did not, however, anticipate a fierce resistance movement and protests and demonstrations riled the streets of the city in discontent. While teachers and staff members were worried about job security, control within their classrooms and salaries and wages, parents became frustrated with a seemingly lack of concern for their children’s safety and educational quality. Community members and certain city officials were offended by Edison’s ignorance for conditions in urban schools and students blocked off city streets chanting, “We are not for sale!” Three years later in 2004, the debate surrounding Edison Schools, Inc. has hushed. This thesis explains that the resistance movement has changed in the past three years and offer explanations for this shift in attitudes. By investigating the ways that four major parties, (staff members, parents, community members and students) have reacted to Edison during its tenure, I argue that the present controversy surrounding Edison Schools, Inc. in 2004 is a very different debate from 2001. Through this shift in attitudes, beliefs and response, it becomes evident that the debate is no longer about whether or not privatization is an effective means of school reform, but rather, if Edison was qualified enough to provide the urban schools with a education comparable to other successful schools. I conclude that the debate over privatization that began as a fear of an attack on traditional education slowly transformed into vocal struggle for educational equity. This paper also discusses what can be learned from this debate and what lies in the future for Philadelphia schools. As this reform movement demonstrates the complexities of urban school reform and the tendency to shift blame rather than address the fundamental issues at hand, the crisis of education in Philadelphia schools is revealed. The paper concludes that no reform movement will be successful without a thorough addressing the greater societal problems of racism, poverty, and inherent educational inequity.
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    History of the architecture and planning of the Bryn Mawr College campus
    (2007-06-20T15:54:37Z) Smith, Kennedy
    Cope and Stewardson's career in collegiate Gothic architecture began with the design of Radnor Hall at Bryn Mawr in 1886. Their roles - and those of their predecessors, contemporaries , and successors - in the development of the architecture and planning of the Bryn Mawr College campus will be the theme of this investigation.
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    Postwar urbanism and visionary planning in Great Britain
    (2007-05-16T13:32:40Z) Read, Anna
    Ideal and visionary ideas have always been important to architecture and planning. While ideal and visionary ideas are rarely applied to their full extent, it is important the ideal be maintained. The importance of ideal or visionary designs and plans can be examined by looking at British architecture and planning in the postwar period into the 1960s. Both the work of Alison and Peter Smithson and of Archigram can be examined as embodying criticisms of postwar reconstruction planning and its failure to address the wants, desires, and aspirations of the postwar society, the perceived “backwardness” of the architectural establishment at the time, and its lack of new discourse. British architecture and planning in the postwar period lost sight of the ideals and visions for a new city which had been produced during the war. Public demand, shortage of materials, and economic problems led to a rebuilding of structures as they had been. As a result, reconstruction became a bland, sterile process that lacked innovation and vision. The architectural establishment came to be viewed as “backward” and as not addressing the needs of a rapidly changing society. The Smithsons and Archigram can be viewed as a reaction to how reconstruction had been carried out. Both were important to restoring the ideal and vision to architecture and planning and by doing so, sparking a new architectural discourse. Their ideas, theories, and plans for structures and cities (real and imaginary) have had a longlasting impact on architecture and planning, thus illustrating the importance of the ideal and visionary in architecture and planning.
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    Providing security in the city of brotherly love : an analysis of the restructuring of policing and its consequences for the city of Philadelphia
    (2006-12-08T19:00:57Z) Burgwyn, Ted
    The most profound change that has occurred in policing over the past fifty years was characterized by Bayley and Shearing in 2001 as the "restructuring of modern policing." While this restructuring involves many dzfferent aspects, the one that could potentially have the biggest impact is the growing influence of the private security industry in the realm of policing. This paper describes the history and the socio-political factors that have contributed to the restructuring of policing and the changing roles of both the public and the private sectors as they relate to security provision. The main purpose is to evaluate the consequences restructuring has had on both the quality of security provision in general and the rights of individual citizens. Many academics believe that the lack of an effective mechanism of accountability for private security guards, as well as the liability issues that arise as private and public sectors interact within the business of policing, means that restructuring will have a negative impact on the city. Some even believe that restructuring is creating a "widening net of social control, "as increased interaction between public and private providers of security leads to invasions of privacy and individual liberties. Using Philadelphia as a case study, the argument put forth in this paper goes contrary to the received academic opinion. In my view, restructuring is having only a limited effect on both the public police and the rest of the city's population. Contrary to what is commonly found in the literature, the effects of restructuring in Philadelphia have, for the most part, been positive. The city has indeed benefitted from whatever restructuring has taken place; given the continuation and development of current policy, benefits will accrue in the near future.