Origins of an Urban Crisis: The Restructuring of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Geography of Foreclosure
Originally published 05 July 2012
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR)
Photo credit: Global Suburbanisms
Alex Schafran (PhD, City & Regional Planning '12) has been honored as a recipient of the new IJURR Best Article Prize for 2013. IJURR created the award to acknowledge the article that makes the most original and outstanding contribution to the journal. IJURR is one of the top-ranked journals in urban studies, embracing a multidisciplinary and critical approach to urban and regional research. 2013 is the award's inaugural year. The editorial committee said of Alex's article, "Alex Schafran offers an incisive and path-breaking account of the geographical and political dynamics of US foreclosures that combines a wealth of original data with a sophisticated analytical framework. The essay is set to become a classic account of the urban effects of the financial crisis in North America."
About the Article: Communities on the fringes of the American metropolis have recently garnered attention as the centers of the foreclosure crisis and its aftermath. On the one hand, this attention to the urban nature of the crisis is welcome, as the metamorphosis of the mortgage fiasco into a financial crisis‐cum‐global economic meltdown turned popular attention away from the urban roots of this calamity. But this emphasis on the exurbs as the site of crisis lends itself to the misconception that they, rather than the restructuring of the metropolis as a whole, are the sole source of the crisis. This article works across multiple scales to examine how three interwoven factors — demographics, policy and capital — each reacted to the San Francisco Bay Area landscape inherited at the end of the 1970s, affecting the region in new ways, leaving some places thriving and others struggling with foreclosure, which leads to plummeting property values and the deep uncertainty of the current American metropolis. This restructuring can be seen as the convergence between the unresolved urban crisis of the postwar era and the various reactions in the neoliberal era. It demands a reimagining of both planning and geography, especially from the left.
A link to this article is at the top of this post. As part of the award process, the IJURR has released the article so that it can be viewed for free.
Congratulations Alex! We are really thrilled for you -- the Team at City and Regional Planning.