Understanding the City

Spring Semester, 2002

Mondays 7-10 p.m.

Dr. Katie Day   Office Hours: 
Professor, Church & Society  Mondays, 1-3 p.m.
LTSP Tuesdays, 9-11 a.m
ext. 6345 kday@ltsp.edu or newdayfam@aol.com (or by appointment)

Purpose of this course:

Cities are changing and complex contexts which can overwhelm those ministering in them. This course seeks to unpack some of that complexity by looking at the inter-related systems and dynamics which make up urban centers in North America at the turn of the millenium. We will look closely at demographic shifts and their implications, and some of the primary sectors which shape our cities. Several approaches to creative change will also be considered.


This weekly seminar will meet from 7-10 p.m. on Monday evenings in Classroom B . The first half hour will be reserved for student presentations followed by presentation and discussion. Philadelphia will be drawn on as a primary case study. Students will need to select another urban area to follow throughout the course and ideally provide background or context for the final paper.



Note: These will be presented in class and scheduled to complement the theme for the week.
(=30% of grade)

(=40% of grade)

Participants are expected to come to come to class prepared and participate fully in discussions.
(=30% of grade)



Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-first Century.Peter Dreier, John Mollenkopf and Todd Swanstrom (University Press of Kansas), 2001
Smart Growth, Better Neighborhoods: Communities Leading the Way(National Neighborhood Coalition), 2000


Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. Jonathon Kozol (Crown Publishers), 1995
Christian Clergy in American Politics. Sue E.S. Crawford and Laura R. Olson, eds. (Johns Hopkins University Press), 2001
Code of the Streets. Elijah Anderson (),
Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun. Geoffrey Canada (Beacon Press), 1995
Gods of the City. Robert A. Orsi, ed. (Indiana University Press), 1999
Inside Game, Outside Game: Winning Strategies for Saving Urban America. David Rusk (Brookings Institution), 1999
Manna in the Wilderness of AIDS. Kenwyn K. Smith (Pilgrim Press), 2002
Sidewalk. Mitchell Duneir (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), 1999.
When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. William Julius Wilson (Knopf), 1997

Possible paper topics:

Charitable choice and the viability of faith-based social service
Unlikely bedfellows: imagining new urban coalitions
Parochial education and the crisis in public education
Welfare reform and economic recession
The struggle for a livable wage policies in light of shrinking municipal treasuries
Gangs, drugs, cops and clergy
Theological considerations in land use


1. Feb. 11 Introduction to course

The state of the city

2. Feb. 18

Demographic drama: who's coming, who's going and why

Guest lecturer: Alison Glick, Immigration Specialist

Required reading:
Orsi, pp. 1-78
"Religious Institutions as Agents for Civic Incorporation," Foley, Pew Charitable Trusts' Gateway Cities Project

3. Feb. 25

Sprawl and its Discontents

Required reading

Dreier, chapters 1 & 2
Rusk, chapter 5


Wilson, When Work Disappears

4. March 4

Development, Race and Social Distance: What's Old is New Again

Required reading

Dreier, chapters 3 & 5


Anderson, Code of the Street
Duneier, Sidewalk
Canada, Fist Stick, Knife, Gun
Kozol, Amazing Grace
Rusk, chapter 6

Players in the Game

5. March 11

Only the facts? The Media in the Changing Metropolis

Guest lecturer: Christopher Hepp, Philadelphia Inquirer

Required reading

6. March 18

Education as Push and Pull Factor

Guest lecturer: David Hornbeck, former Superintendent of Philadelphia Public Schools, founder and Director, Good Schools Pennsylvania

Required reading

Chapter by Hornbeck in Civic Purposes: Should Government Help Faith-Based Charity? (Brookings, 2001)
www.goodschoolspa.org Read: Mission/Goals, Facts, Christian
Hornbeck, "Children Achieving"

7. April 8

The Role of the Third Sector in Current Urban and Metropolitan Context

Guest lecturer: Prof. Ram Cnaan, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work

Required reading

In The Newer Deal, Ram Cnaan (Columbia University Press, 1999), chapters 2, 9, 11
"Philadelphia Census of Congregations and their Involvement in Social Service Delivery," Social Science Review [2001 75(4)], pp. 559-589


Manna in the Wilderness of AIDS. Kenwyn K. Smith (Pilgrim Press, 2002)

Weighing the Options: Strategies for Change

8. April 15

Smart Growth and Economic Development Approaches

Required reading

In Smart Growth: all of the "perspectives" essays, then choose 8 case studies
Crawford/Olson: chapter by Day
Rusk, pp. 21-36


"Faith-based organizations in Community Development," (http://www.huduser.org/publications/pdf/faithbased.pdf)

9. April 22

Faith-based Community Organizing: Beyond the Proverbial Stop sign

Required reading

Bobo, Organizing for Social Change, pp. 1-53
Rusk, pp. 277-290
Pierce, Activism that Makes Sense, pp. 1-46, 88-102


Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals, Rules for Radicals

10. April 29

Electoral Politics: Possibilities and Limitations

Required reading

Crawford/Olson: chapters 1, 5, 7

11. May 6

Cultural Approaches to Change: Hidden Assets

Required reading

Kretzman & McKnight, Building Communities from the Inside Out, chapters 1,3,5

12. May 13

Student papers

13. May 20

Student papers