JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN
Clarissa Rile Hayward and Todd
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Press, 2011), 288 pages.
More than 80 percent of Americans now live in urban areas. As the population gradually shifts from farms to apartments, ideals of efficiency, effectiveness and aesthetics guide policy makers to improve urban schools, construct increasingly compact housing and develop public transportation to support the influx of people into cities. Yet according to Clarissa Hayward and Todd Swanstrom, policy makers are ignoring an elusive but essential principle: social justice.
Justice and the American Metropolis, a series of essays compiled by Hayward and Swanstrom, unveils the unfair advantage held by wealthy urbanites--including disproportionate access to public goods like police protection and quality education--and describes how those living in impoverished enclaves are falling further behind.
Thick injustice is at the root of these trends: "unjust power relations that are deep and densely concentrated, as well as opaque and relatively intractable." The essays reveal the roles that relevant court cases, institutional structures and federal, state and municipal legislation have played in perpetuating inequality. Lack of...