Ordering (And Order in) the City. - Stanford Law School

Ordering (And Order in) the City.

By Stanford Law School

  • Release Date - Published: 2004-10-01
  • Book Genre: Law
  • Author: Stanford Law School
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Ordering (And Order in) the City. Stanford Law School read online review & book description:

The walls of the Palazzo Publico in Siena, Italy, are graced with Ambrogio Lorenzetti's striking frescos contrasting the effects of "good government" and "bad government" on fourteenth-century city life. In the city under good government, men work to repair stately buildings, women socialize in the streets, and merchants sell their wares in a busy marketplace. In the city under bad government, the buildings are crumbling, men stand idle (save one crafting weapons), bandits terrorize the innocent, and the bodies of murder victims lie in the streets. (1) The goals of urban policy, it appears, have not changed in over six hundred years. Over the past two decades, however, the conventional wisdom about how to achieve these goals in American cities has been turned on its head. After years of attributing the problems of urban decay and disorder to intractable "root causes," city officials now embrace "root solutions" that seek to eliminate these problems directly, regardless of their causes. (2) A primary catalyst for this change was the articulation in 1982 of the "broken windows" hypothesis by George Kelling and James Q. Wilson. (3) This now-familiar theory is that uncorrected manifestations of disorder, even minor ones like broken windows, signal a breakdown in the social order that accelerates neighborhood decline. (4) The response to this theory, and to a growing disillusionment with modern policing practices generally, (5) has been a proliferation of policies focusing on public order, such as former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's "quality of life" and "no tolerance" programs, as well as ubiquitous "community policing" efforts. (6)

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