Hello, and welcome to Columbia University Press’s virtual booth for the 2021 Urban Affairs Association Annual Meeting! My name is Lowell Frye and I’m an associate editor here at the press, acquiring books in urban studies. This is the second consecutive year we’ve hosted the exhibit booth virtually, and I have to say that I’m very much looking forward to having the chance to offer a booth tour in person in future meetings.
That said, I’m excited to introduce our list of new books in urban studies, many of which resonate in important and interesting ways with our present circumstances.
I’ll start with a book that was officially published just after the 2020 UAA meeting: Jennifer Clark’s Uneven Innovation: The Work of Smart Cities. Uneven Innovation highlights the way that urban technological development can reinforce and worsen existing inequalities, particularly when that development is done unevenly. After a year where a significant part of the population spent time working or attending school remotely—and with varying degrees of ease and success—this book is more timely than ever. We will feature a guest post from Clark as part of our virtual conference later in the week, so keep an eye out for that.
In Preserving Neighborhoods: How Urban Policy and Community Strategy Shape Baltimore and Brooklyn, Aaron Passell explores how various parties in two cities are using historic preservation to achieve very different outcomes. Passell deploys a fascinating mixed-methods approach to demonstrate how local-level urban policy can be used to speed up or slow down rates of neighborhood change. We’ll have a Q&A post with Passell as part of our virtual conference later this week as well.
Climate change and the resulting rise in sea levels are a major concern for coastal urban areas, and this concern is often worsened rather than relieved by current policy. Rebecca Elliott looks at the political and social ramifications of the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Underwater: Loss, Flood Insurance, and the Moral Economy of Climate Change in the United States. Elliott was recently interviewed about the book by Christopher Flavelle for Climate Fwd, the climate newsletter of the New York Times.
Martin V. Melosi’s Fresh Kills: A History of Consuming and Discarding in New York City was a popular part of our virtual exhibit booth at last year’s UAA meeting, but I wanted to highlight it again not just because it’s a fantastic and deeply researched work on a truly engrossing topic, but also because it is the winner of the 2021 John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies. Congratulations to Professor Melosi for this well-deserved honor!
Finally, I’ll end the tour with a book that is deeply relevant to urban studies: Histories of Racial Capitalism, edited by Destin Jenkins and Justin Leroy. Part of our excellent Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism series, this exciting new volume considers racial capitalism in a wide range of historical circumstances and demonstrates how crucial the concept is for understanding our present world. Pedro A. Regalado’s concluding chapter, “ ‘They Speak Our Language . . . Business’: Latinx Businesspeople and the Pursuit of Wealth in New York City,” should be particularly interesting for urban studies scholars.
That concludes another whirlwind tour of the great new books in urban studies from Columbia University Press! While meeting in person is obviously impossible again this year, I’d still love to talk through exciting book ideas and developments in the field. You can reach me by email or on Twitter.
Thanks again for stopping by!