Cities under Austerity

Restructuring the US Metropolis

Edited by Mark Davidson & Kevin Ward

Subjects: American Government, American Politics, Urban And Regional Planning, Urban Sociology, Environmental Studies
Hardcover : 9781438468174, 292 pages, February 2018
Paperback : 9781438468181, 292 pages, January 2019

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Preface: Situating Austerity Urbanism
Jamie Peck

1. Introduction
Mark Davidson and Kevin Ward

2. Austerity and the Spectacle: Urban Triage and Post-Political Development in Detroit
L. Owen Kirkpatrick and Chalem Bolton

3. Austerity as the New Normal: The Fiscal Politics of Retrenchment in San Jose, California 59
Sara Hinkley

4. The Difference a Crisis Makes: Environmental Demands and Disciplinary Governance in the Age of Austerity
C. S. Ponder

5. The Unaffordability of Recession: Housing Mobility and Recession Austerity in Providence, Rhode Island
Aaron Niznik

6. Urban Governance and Inclusionary Housing in New York City
Kathe Newman

7. Homeownership in Middle America: A Case of Incidental Austerity?
Daniel J. Hammel and Xueying Chen

8. Conclusion
Mark Davidson and Kevin Ward

Mark Davidson and Kevin Ward


Examines the ways in which austerity policies are transforming US cities.


Across the world's most industrialized economies, the financial crisis of 2007 caused a contraction of state budgets and stimulated attempts to reform debt-burdened governments. In the United States, a system of fiscal federalism meant this turn towards austerity took a uniquely fragmented and geographically diverse form. Drawing on case studies of recent urban restructuring, Cities under Austerity challenges dominant understandings of austerity as a distinctly national condition and develops a conceptualization of the new US urban condition that reveals its emerging political and social fault lines. The contributors empirically detail the restructuring that is taking place across the United States, its underlying logics, its local impacts and the ongoing processes of challenge and resistance that influences how it is shaping the lives of citizens. The new American political economy, it is argued, needs to be understood as composed of a mosaic of urban experiences that both build upon a differentiated foundation and creates new divergences. As state reforms continue to interact with this diverse urban political economy of the United States, this collection provides a state-of-the-art survey on how postcrisis convergences and divergences in urban economies and urban politics have laid the foundations for the new political geography of the United States.

Mark Davidson is Associate Professor of Urban Geography at Clark University and the coeditor (with Deborah Martin) of Urban Politics: Critical Approaches. Kevin Ward is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom and the coeditor (with Eugene McCann) of Mobile Urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age.