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Public Policy in Urban America

1. Discuss the role that racism played in public policies related to urban housing throughout the twentieth century. Did this racism manifest itself solely on an individual level (i.e. the white homeowner who didn’t want to live next to an African American), or was there an institutional side to such racism as well (i.e. within various levels of government)? Please draw from at least three (3) course readings as you attempt to answer such problems.

2. Recent standardized test scores suggest that the Milwaukee Public School system is facing a profound moment of crisis, a reality shared by school districts in many other US cities. Using our class readings as representative of the state of urban education in the late twentieth century, discuss why you believe our urban public schools are in such bad condition. Historically, what public policies have helped to create the situation we face today? Please draw from at least three (3) course readings as you attempt to answer such problems.

3. How has public policy helped to shape the way that urban Americans have spent their leisure time throughout the period that we have examined in class? Have such policies hindered access to spaces of play/recreation/consumption? Have such policies ever been effectively challenged? Or have responses to these policies (or lack thereof) created new understandings of urban leisure? Please draw from at least three (3) course readings as you attempt to answer such problems.

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