Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Great Cities Institute Working Paper Series

The GCI Working Paper Series allows our scholars and fellows, among others, to contribute to the growing body of engaged urban research that is promoted by the Great Cities Institute. These working papers represent research in progress, and inclusion here does not preclude final preparation for publication. **Please contact the author before referencing a working paper.**

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GCI Working Paper Series

"Marketing Diversity and the 'New' Politics of Desegregation: Insights from An Urban Education Ethnography."
Pamela Anne Quiroz and Vernon Lindsay.

Situating ethnographic methods within a framework of engaged research, the authors offer a window into the adoption, implementation, and sociopolitical dilemmas of 15 African American males participating in an Initiative designed to maintain diversity at one of Chicago's most successful and elite public high schools. The paper presents a four- year study (2007-2011) of an explicitly class-based and implicitly race-based attempt to engage the 'new' politics of desegregation and the microprocesses of integration. Promoted as reaching across geographic, race, and class boundaries, the Black Male Achievement Initiative [BMAI] at Selective Preparatory Academy [SPA] is just one of many attempts to satisfy stakeholders in a political environment that promotes school choice and voluntary initiatives to desegregate schools. Situated within the local context of Chicago school reform, the BMAI provides opportunities and builds relationships even as it raises questions about racial formation, the appropriation of space, the meaning of diversity, and how such educational programs are part of the broader processes of gentrification.

"The Great Recession's Impact on the City of Chicago."

Rebecca Hendrick, Martin Luby, and Jill Mason Terzakis.

This research describes the Great Recession's impact on the City of Chicago budget and financial decisions about revenues, spending, and borrowing. It describes the economic and fiscal characteristics of the City of Chicago and the condition of its budget prior to the Great Recession in order to help separate budget deficits that existed before the recession from recession-driven changes in revenues and expenses. It identifies factor that have contributed to the city's current and future expected deficits and changes in its financial position, and the research discusses how well the city is positioned for dealing with the lasting effects of the recession beyond 2011 and after the completion of stimulus funding in FY 2013.

"Reading Arendt in Iran/Reading Iran through Arendt: Speech, Action, and the Question of Street Politics."
Norma Claire Moruzzi.

This paper is a double reading: of Arendt through the lens of recent political upheavals in Iran (the contested election of June 2009 and the subsequent mass protests and emergence of the Green Movement); and of contemporary Iranian national events through the lens of Arendt’s political analyses. The dual perspective is balanced on my experience teaching a graduate seminar on Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy at the Iranian Institute of Philosophy in Tehran, Iran in Spring 2007. In particular, this paper focuses on the possibilities for recognizing transformative political experience when, despite all our expectations, it may be happening in front of us. Writing about the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Michel Foucault mentioned that political concepts like (Rousseau’s) collective will seem like hypotheticals (“like God, like the soul, something one would never encounter”) until they do—all too fleetingly—appear. Arendt’s theories of action and revolution are somewhat similar; a provocative alternative that usually has little relevance to what passes for politics in modern life. But what are the implications for citizenship and new futures when individuals have experienced the open-ended originary process that is Arendtian political action? Reading Arendt in Iran, and reading Iran through Arendt, may provide insight into some of these very contemporary questions.

"Chapter Three: What Must Be in Place for Someone to Believe in Human Rights?" in Democracy as Fetish: Rhetoric, Ethnography, and the Expansion of Life.
Ralph Cintron.

In this chapter of his book length-manuscript, Cintron analyzes classic documents from the history of human rights and classic commentaries on rights. He argues that rights talk, both legal and informal versions, is a metaphorical method for describing primal necessities and entitlements. Rights talk tries to settle, but ultimately cannot, the ambiguity between primal necessity/entitlement and "mere" want. Rights, then, are not substantive but a way of speaking and ultimately a way of inciting action.

From 2004 - How Community Development Education Can Build Capacity: The Case of the Urban Developers Program.
Janet Smith and Rachel Weber.
The future of affordable housing in the US depends on the capacity of community development corporations (CDCs) to maintain the existing stock and to develop additional units. This article examines three different approaches to delivering community development education-- workshops and short courses, traditional professional education programs, and hybrid programs-- to enhance different forms of CDC capacity.  Each embodies a different philosophy of acquiring conceptual and operational knowledge in the community development field.  We present a case study of the Urban Developers Program, a certificate program offered jointly by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Chicago Rehab Network, to illustrate how hybrid programs can enhance skills and competencies while providing an opportunity for practitioners to be reflective and to critically assess development-related tools and strategies. 

360 Degrees of Development: Universities as Real Estate Developers in Atlanta. (Free registration with Lincoln Institute of Land Policy required).
David Perry, Scott Levitan, Andre Bertrand, Carl Patton, Dwan Packnett and Lawrence Kelley.

The university is increasingly viewed as one of the key institutions of urban development. Where there may have been a time when campus development could have occurred as if the university were an “ivory tower” removed from the “turmoil” of everyday life (Bender, 1988), the institutional importance of academic institution to economic development, local job formation and even to the cultural identity of the city as well as to knowledge formation is now recognized. However important the university may be to the city, the conditions and practices that make up the university - city relationship are not necessarily smooth or well understood. The purpose of this report is to contribute to this understanding.

University Employer-Assisted Housing: University-Community Partnerships. (Free registration with Lincoln Institute of Land Policy required).
David Perry, Joseph K. Hoereth, Dwan Packnett
The paper critically explores the potential for EAH programs to not only meet the needs of universities, but also contribute to the improvement of the communities that reside in “the shadows” of universities. The research seeks to uncover the ways in which EAH programs serve to catalyze relationships between universities and those communities. The authors identify the motivations for and common models of university employer assisted housing (EAH) programs, and use these motivations and models as a framework for a scan of twenty-two university EAH programs across the country. The framework is then applied to three more in-depth case studies of university EAH programs at: Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago, and Howard University. Analysis of the case studies reveals that EAH can be an effective way for universities to address a housing shortage for its employees, or a particular segment of its staff. The efficacy of EAH as a tool with which to both revitalize a community and improve university-community relationships is not quite as clear. Trust between universities and their neighboring communities is identified as a key factor in limiting or enhancing the community development outcomes of university EAH programs.

From Gray Areas to New Communities: Lessons and Issues From Comprehensive U.S. Neighborhood Initiatives.
Karen Mossberger

This paper examines the issues embedded in both the comprehensive aspirations and neighborhood focus in approaches towards fighting poverty, campaigning for better conditions and providing education and social services to residents; this is done through exploration of a brief history of major initiatives, and the lessons and needs for the future suggested by that history. In addition to the literature review on previous programs in the U.S., some material is included from interviews on comprehensive neighborhood revitalization efforts in Chicago, especially the New Communities Program (NCP). So far, twentyone interviews have been conducted, and research will be completed in 2010. This working paper is also part of a cross‐national project comparing neighborhood regeneration in ten countries in North America and Europe, and it builds on a paper presented at a conference on neighborhood initiatives in Britain. Therefore, it highlights issues introduced by the institutional context for U.S. neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Troubled Assets: Financial Emergencies and Racialized Risk.
Philip Ashton

This paper argues that new state strategies towards financial volatility have created dramatic new forms for the racialization of credit risk.  Focusing on the aftermath of the banking crisis in the late 1980s, the paper examines the active role played by a series of exceptional measures in creating the legal and market spaces that increasingly trapped minority borrowers in a spiral of high cost lending. The resulting triage of minority borrowers into the subprime market has differentially exposed them to the expropriation of wealth through delinquencies, foreclosures, and the intensification of competition during the most recent speculative bubble. As this actually reproduces and extends financial risk, I conclude that the best way for us to understand this process is to examine this as a regime of differential citizenship that has reorganized the conditions for advancement among different racial and ethnic groups and whose features may be consolidating through the current crisis.

2009 GCI Working Paper Series

Structure Is Space: 63-66, a mosaic installation at the Hilliard Apartments.
Olivia Gude

Creating a safe space for expression through art can forge immense opportunity for meaningful communication and sharing of space between diverse inhabitants of a specific location. This account of the making of a community-based public artwork for the newly renovated Hilliard Apartments documents through pictures and stories how this mosaic installation facilitated the building of connections among old, new and newly returned inhabitants of this housing complex. The project explores space-remembered, internalized spaces, psychological and social spaces, and the actual spaces in which we live, learn and work by way of inhabitant participation and exploration of the architectural design history of the Hilliard Apartment complex, namely Bauhaus-education artist Bertrand Goldberg. In this way, the creation and installation of a series of mosiac pieces resulted in an intergenerational and multicultural common appreciation of the meaning of these themes.

Prague, Tourism and the Post-Industrial City
Lily M. Hoffman and Jiri Musil
May 2009

Although urban tourism has been one of the important forces shaping cities during the past few decades, most studies on the transition from the industrial to the post-industrial city focus on the shift to financial and professional services. There are still few studies of the role of tourism in the transformation of urban political economy, social structure and culture (Hoffman, Fainstein, Judd, Cities and Visitors, Blackwell 2003). In an earlier article on post-communist Prague, we examined the emergence of tourism as a byproduct of democratization and marketization (Hoffman and Musil in The Tourist City, Judd & Fainstein (eds) Yale U Press 1999). This present article takes a broader more contextual view of the role of tourism in the development of contemporary Prague. Looking beyond tourism per se, we argue that the exponential growth of tourism in post 1989 Prague helps explain its relatively smooth (and rapid) transition from industrial to post-industrial or service center city. The specifics of this case address some of the lacunae in the discussion of transition from industrialization. First, much of the “de-industrialization” literature refers primarily to industrial cities. Many cities however, are mixed. Second, there is little or no discussion of the role of tourism in the transition. Third, where tourism is discussed, it is usually, as an urban development stratagem; here it has emerged spontaneously. Fourth, by taking a developmental perspective, we hope to provide a more analytic account of tourism’s impact on social and spatial structure--both regulatory and representational aspects.

Joint Environmental and Cost Efficiency Analysis of the Electricity Production Industry: Applying the Materials Balance Condition
Eric Welch and Darold T. Barnum
February 2009

The electricity generation industry produces a substantial proportion of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change in the United States and globally. Yet, little research has been done to examine what the economic and environmental tradeoffs currently are for electric power plants. This paper demonstrates a new method, developed by Coelli, Lauwers, and Van Huylenbroeck [4,1,3], to calculate the optimal allocation of carbon containing fuel inputs and consideration of economic costs of electricity production. Using EIA 906 and FERC 423 data, the paper estimates cost/carbon tradeoffs facing two sets of plants: those that use coal and gas inputs and those that use coal, gas and oil inputs. Findings show that for the three input case, there is a 78.9% percent increase in cost for moving from the cost efficient point to the carbon efficient point, while there is a 38% increase in carbon to move from the carbon efficient point to the cost efficient point. These findings, while based only on a subset of electric power plants, indicates that the policy gap between efficient cost and environmental production is wide and will require substantial government and market incentives, as well as restructuring of the industry before it can be narrowed. The paper also identifies some plants that are super inefficient: they can improve both cost and carbon efficiency by changing their mixture of carbon inputs.

Making Sense of Renaissance 2010 School Policy in Chicago: Race, Class, and the Cultural Politics of Neoliberal Urban Restructuring
Pauline Lipman
January 2009

Chicago has long been a focus of national attention on urban education policy, and its latest plan to remake public education is no exception. In 2004, Chicago's mayor announced Renaissance 2010 (Ren2010), a plan to close 60-70 schools and reopen 100 new schools, at least two-thirds as charter or contract schools. Charter schools are public schools chartered by the state to be rum by private group. They have greater autonomy in operation and curriculum than CPS schools. Renaissance 2010 is perhaps the most significant experiment in the US to reinvent an urban public school system on neoliberal lines. Part of the Ren2010 agenda is to create new mixed-income schools in mixed-income communities created in the wake of the demolition of public housing. My focus in this paper is the cultural politics of this policy, how it "makes sense" on the ground and how neoliberalism is materialized through the actions of social movements and social actors. Here, I am interested in a) the discourse of racial pathology underpinning mixed-income schools/housing and b) rearticulation of discourses of equity and self-determination to the market and individual choice through charter schools. I am especially interested in how the "good sense" in these policies connects with people's lived experiences to further a hegemonic neoliberal agenda and the implications for constructing a counter-hegemonic movement.

Michele A. Kelley, Meghan Benson, Mayra Estrella and Joann Lugardone
January 2009

Latino adolescents in the U.S. endure health and social inequities such that they are less likely to complete high school and less likely to have access to health care than their non-Latino white counterparts. These disparities can compromise chances for health and social advancement over the life course. The purpose of this paper is to present a participatory evaluation using an empowerment framework to demonstrate how a local, urban cultural center for youth fosters (1) Latino Unity and positive youth development among participants; (2) youth led action and organizational empowerment, (3) positive community connectedness and community-building and (4) broader societal connectedness and social justice

2008 GCI Working Paper Series

Estimating DEA Confidence Intervals for Canadian Urban Paratransit Agencies Using Panel Data Analysis
Darold T. Barnum, John M. Gleason, & Brendon Hemily
January 2008

This paper illustrates three concepts new to the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) literature, and applies them to data from Canadian urban paratransit agencies. First, it predicts valid confidence intervals and trends for each agency’s true efficiency. Second, it uses Panel Data Analysis methodology, a set of statistical procedures that are more likely to produce valid estimates than those commonly used in DEA studies. Third, it uses a new method of identifying and adjusting for environmental effects that has more power than conventional procedures.

DEA Efficiency Analysis Involving Multiple Production Processes with an Application to Urban Mass Transit
Darold T. Barnum & John M. Gleason
February 2008

This paper addresses Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) efficiency analysis in organizations with multiple production processes. It shows how to measure the impact on an organization’s overall efficiency of (a) inefficient and superefficient subunits, and (b) the efficiency with which input resources are allocated to the subunits. It introduces a simple model for efficiently allocating inputs among subunits, and applies the entire analytical process to a large urban mass transit agency.

Estimating Data Envelopment Analysis Frontiers for Nonsubstitutable Inputs and Outputs: The Case of Urban Mass Transit
Darold T. Barnum & John M. Gleason
February 2008

Conventional data envelopment analysis (DEA) models assume that inputs are substitutable for each other, and that outputs are substitutable for each other. However, recent DEA articles frequently include outputs that cannot be substituted for each other and inputs that cannot be substituted for each other. In this paper, we demonstrate that conventional DEA models report invalid efficiency scores when outputs and/or inputs are nonsubstitutable. We use artificial data to illustrate the differences between the efficient frontiers of substitutable and nonsubstitutable variables. Assuming that the inputs and outputs are nonsubstitutable, we compare the DEA scores from a conventional DEA model with those from a new model, the Fixed Proportion Additive (FPA) model, which we developed to deal with nonsubstitutable variables. Then, we apply the conventional and FPA models to real-world data involving urban mass transit systems, where the outputs are nonsubstitutable, and where the inputs are nonsubstitutable. Finally, we make recommendations for model use when inputs or outputs are nonsubstitutable, one involving the development of new models and the others involving adaptations that can be made if one wishes to use conventional models.

Third Space Scholars: Enacting Third Space Within The Academy
Benet DeBerry-Spence
January 2008

This paper explores the notion of “Third Space”, the space between the academy and activism. This space allows the academician to make sense of her contribution to social change. The author uses literature from divergent disciplines and from a transformative research initiative working with the MASAZI Welcome Center in Accra, Ghana, West Africa, to better understand how an academician experiences third space. The author created the center to support the economic empowerment of micro-business owners through its mediation of social and economic differences that often exist between tourists and hosts. Her understanding of third space is shaped by this particular set of experiences.

This paper is no longer available on the GCI site. Please contact the author directly for a copy at

Comparing the Performance of Urban Transit Bus Routes after Adjusting for the Environment, Using Data Envelopment Analysis
Darold T. Barnum, Sonali Tandon, & Sue McNeil
April 2008

Urban transit managers strive to attain multiple goals with tightly constrained resources. Ratio analysis has evolved into a powerful tool for dealing with these goals and constraints. Ratio analysis provides analytical methods for comparing the performance of multiple agencies, as well as the performance of subunits within a particular agency, in order to identify opportunities for improvement. One ratio analysis procedure that has become increasingly popular is Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). DEA yields a single, comprehensive measure of performance, the ratio of the aggregated, weighted outputs to aggregated, weighted inputs. This paper makes two contributions to the practice of urban transit performance evaluation using DEA. First, instead of using DEA to compare the performance of multiple transit systems, it uses DEA to compare the performance of multiple bus routes of one urban transit system. Second, it introduces a new procedure for adjusting the raw DEA scores that modifies these scores to account for the environmental influences that are beyond the control of the transit agency.

A Quality Control Framework for Bus Schedule Reliability
Jie Lin, Ming L. Wang, & Darold T. Barnum
May 2008

This paper develops and demonstrates a quality control framework for bus schedule reliability. Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) devices provide necessary data; Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) yields a valid summary measure from partial reliability indicators; and Panel Data Analysis provides statistical confidence boundaries for each route-direction’s DEA scores. If a route-direction’s most recent DEA score is below its lower boundary, it is identified as in need of immediate attention. The framework is applied to 29 weeks of AVL data from 24 Chicago Transit Authority bus routes (and therefore 48 route-directions), thereby demonstrating that it can provide quick and accurate quality control.