American Sociological Association

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  1. Understanding the Crime Gap: Violence and Inequality in an American City

    The United States has experienced an unprecedented decline in violent crime over the last two decades. Throughout this decline, however, violent crime continued to concentrate in socially and economically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. Using detailed homicide records from 1990 to 2010, this study examines the spatial patterning of violent crime in Chicago to determine whether or not all neighborhoods experienced decreases in violence.

  2. Priming the Pump: Public Investment, Private Mortgage Investment, and Violent Crime

    Recent neighborhood crime research suggests that increased mortgage investment in local communities can help reduce street crime by defending against physical decline and improving perceptions of the neighborhood, which make informal social control more likely. Unfortunately, the neighborhoods that could benefit the most from this relationship are the least likely to get private mortgage investment, as mortgages tend to flow towards neighborhoods that are already stable.

  3. Broken Windows as Growth Machines: Who Benefits from Urban Disorder and Crime?

    Using interview data from two groups in the Woodlawn neighborhood on Chicago's South Side—mothers of young children and neighborhood merchants—this paper suggests a way of connecting two dominant ways of conceiving of physical disorder in urban spaces, one of which focuses on physical disorder as a root of social disorder and another that focuses on physical disorder as an economic prerequisite for gentrification. Specifically, elites can deploy signs of disorder in moral and reputational terms in the urban political arena to gain economic advantages for themselves.

  4. The Social Ecology of Speculation: Community Organization and Non-occupancy Investment in the U.S. Housing Bubble

    The housing boom of the mid-2000s saw the widespread popularization of non-occupant housing investment as an entrepreneurial activity within U.S. capitalism. In 2005, approximately one sixth of all mortgage-financed home purchases in the United States were for investment purposes. This article develops a sociological account that links the geographic distribution of popular investment to the social and institutional organization of communities.
  5. Integrating Sociological Perspectives into Obesogenic Research: Associations between Air Pollution Exposure and Obesity Prevalence across U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas

    Obesogenic theories suggests that obesity risk can be influenced by exposure to toxic chemicals present in built and natural environments. Although physical scientists have been on the forefront of obesogenic research, social science perspectives have been absent in understanding the relationship between environmental pollution and obesity risk. To address such gaps, the author uses a sociological perspective to explore the way in which exposure to a specific class of obesogens, endocrine disruptors, influences adult obesity prevalence.
  6. Identifying the Urban: Resident Perceptions of Community Character and Local Institutions in Eight Metropolitan Areas

    What does the term “urban” signify as a descriptor of contemporary communities in the United States? We investigate this question using data from the Soul of the Community survey, examining how people within eight metropolitan areas characterize their communities. A substantial disjunction exists between where within their regions respondents live and how they describe those areas.

  7. Regulating Landlords: Unintended Consequences for Poor Tenants

    This paper explores “hidden” ways by which cities may inadvertently undermine access to decent, stable, affordable housing—especially for vulnerable renter households—through regulations that sanction landlords for tenant activities on their property.

  8. Do‐It‐Yourself Urban Design: The Social Practice of Informal “Improvement” Through Unauthorized Alteration

    There are numerous ways in which people make illegal or unauthorized alterations to urban space.

  9. Gentrification, Race, and Ethnicity: Towards a Global Research Agenda?

    “And it's not just Fort Greene, it's not just Harlem. When I was growing up, D.C. used to be called Chocolate City. Now it's Vanilla Swirl! I used to go to London, hang out in Brixton. No more black people in Brixton. So gentrification, this thing is not just this borough, this city, this country, it's happening all over the world.” (Lee 2014, http://flavorwire.com/newswire/spike-lee-we-predicted-gentrification)

  10. The Effects of Gentrification on Neighborhood Public Schools

    Gentrification is generally associated with improvements in neighborhood amenities, but we know little about whether the improvements extend to public schools. Using administrative data (from spring 1993 to spring 2004) from the third largest school district in the United States, we examine the relationships between gentrification and school‐level student math and reading achievement, and whether changes in the composition of the student body account for any changes in achievement.