Urban Studies | Wilson Center

Urban Studies

Making Community Work: the Importance of the Performing Arts

More than two decades ago, in 1993, Harvard Government Professor Robert Putnam published his now classic study Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy.  Trying to answer the question why northern Italian cities developed vibrant civic traditions which came to support the growth of democratic institutions and southern Italian cities did not, Putnam was surprised to find a strong correlation between civic health and choral societies.  Putnam masterfully argued that choral societies emerged fro

Solutions for Sustainability and Resilience in a Constantly Changing World

Recent natural and manmade disasters including Superstorm Sandy, the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, and the Boston Marathon bombing have highlighted the need for communities and societies to be resilient in the face of unexpected and constantly changing challenges. In January of 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency in cooperation with the National Science Foundation, the National Council for Science and Environment, and Dow Chemical hosted a workshop on resilience and sustainability.

Fight not Flight: Lessons from Detroit

Several of the speakers at the recent Meeting of the Minds in Detroit – including Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, together with several foundation and community leaders from Detroit itself — echoed one simple sentiment:  “We aren’t going to lose our community on our watch.”  This sense of identification with and responsibility for community constitutes an important component of urban resilience. Significantly, speakers underscored how “not losing” one’s community is not just about keeping things as they are.

A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida

Washington History Seminar
Historical Perspectives on International and National Affairs

A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida

N. D. B. Connolly
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

China’s New Identity Crisis

Today, students are attempting to occupy the streets outside Hong Kong’s central government complex; 25 years ago, the students occupied Tiananmen in Beijing. However, Hong Kong is not Beijing, and 2014 is not 1989. These similar actions have taken place in entirely different contexts, even though Beijing’s political control is behind both of the events. It is important for us to identify the real sources of the current conflicts in Hong Kong, and not get sidetracked by simple reflections back to Tiananmen.

Addicted to Putin

MOSCOW – Watching Russia’s worrying trajectory under President Vladimir Putin, many foreign observers ask how a leader who is so apparently driving his country toward the abyss can remain so popular. The answer is simple: Putin’s supporters – that is, a hefty majority of Russians – do not see the danger ahead.

Performance and Power from Kabuki to Go Go

Just eight years after establishing a powerful military regime that would last 26 decades, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu became so disturbed by a troupe of itinerate actors that he expelled them from his Suruga military base.  The group performed in a popular new style known as “kabuki.” To critical observers such as Ieyasu and his coterie of military strong-men, kabuki dancing consisted of women of ill-repute showing themselves off to potential customers.  While an overly simplistic characterization, early kabuki performance seemed to many to be primarily about sell

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