Cities

Mass Transit Infrastructure and Urban Health

Mass Transit Infrastructure and Urban Health
Mass Transit Infrastructure and Urban Health, Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 82 (1) 2005, pp. 21-32.

Zimmerman, R.
03/01/2005

Mass transit is a critical infrastructure of urban environments worldwide. The public uses it extensively, with roughly 9 billion mass transit trips occurring annually in the United States alone according to the U.S. Department of Transportation data. Its benefits per traveler include lower emissions of air pollutants and energy usage and high speeds and safety records relative to many other common modes of transportation that contribute to human health and safety. However, mass transit is vulnerable to intrusions that compromise its use and the realization of the important benefits it brings. These intrusions pertain to physical conditions, security, external environmental conditions, and equity. The state of the physical condition of transit facilities overall has been summarized in the low ratings the American Society of Civil Engineers gives to mass transit, and the large dollar estimates to maintain existing conditions as well as to bring on new improvements, which are, however, many times lower than investments estimated for roadways. Security has become a growing issue, and numerous incidents point to the potential for threats to security in the US. External environmental conditions, such as unexpected inundations of water and electric power outages also make transit vulnerable. Equity issues pose constraints on the use of transit by those who cannot access it. Transit has shown a remarkable ability to rebound after crises, most notably after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, due to a combination of design and operational features of the system. These experiences provide important lessons that must be captured to provide proactive approaches to managing and reducing the consequences of external factors that impinge negatively on transit.

School Finance Court Cases and Disparate Racial Impact: The Contribution of Statistical Analysis in New York

School Finance Court Cases and Disparate Racial Impact: The Contribution of Statistical Analysis in New York
Education and Urban Society, February 2005, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp 151-173.

Stiefel, L., Schwartz, A.E., Berne, R. & Chellman, C.
02/01/2005

Although analyses of state school finance systems rarely focus on the distribution of funds to students of different races, the advent of racial discrimination as an issue in school finance court cases may change that situation. In this article, we describe the background, analyses, and results of plaintiffs' testimony regarding racial discrimination in Campaign for Fiscal Equity Inc. v. State of New York. Plaintiffs employed multiple regression and public finance literature to show that New York State's school finance system had a disparate racial impact on New York City students. We review the legal basis for disparate racial impact claims, with particular emphasis on the role of quantitative statistical work, and then describe the model we developed and estimated for the court case. Finally, we discuss the defendants' rebuttal, the Court's decision, and conclude with observations about the role of analysis in judicial decision making in school finance.

Healthy Relationships: A Guide to Forming Partnerships between Health Care Providers and Adult Education Programs

Healthy Relationships: A Guide to Forming Partnerships between Health Care Providers and Adult Education Programs
Literacy Assistance Center.

Kaplan, S.A.
01/01/2005

Simply stated, health literacy is the ability to obtain, understand, and effectively use health-related information. In a recent report entitled "Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion," the Institute of Medicine estimated that 90 million adults may lack the needed literacy skills to effectively use the U.S. health care system. Extrapolating from the National Adult Literacy Survey, approximately 36 percent of New York City adults would not be able to identify the name of a hospital in a short article; an additional 27 percent would not be able to fill out a standard health insurance form. Health care providers and patients typically do not identify low health literacy as a major issue, but both groups are well aware of its consequences. Health care professionals know they need improved communication with their patients so that they can better understand patient concerns and priorities, engage them as active partners in their care, improve their grasp of protocols for care management and the need for preventive care and screening, and ensure that they know when and where to seek care and how to navigate the health care system. Conversely, adults with low literacy skills often feel intimidated by the complexity of the health care system, by the forms and instructions, and by medical terminology. To avoid appearing ignorant, they may be hesitant to ask questions or express concerns, thereby compounding the problem. All of these difficulties are exacerbated when patients do not speak English well and are unfamiliar with the U.S. health care system.

Infant Mortality and Income in 4 world Cities: New York, London, Paris and Tokyo

Infant Mortality and Income in 4 world Cities: New York, London, Paris and Tokyo
American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, issue 1, pp. 86-92.

Rodwin, V.G. & Neuberg, L.
01/01/2005

Objective: We investigated the association between average income or deprivation and infant mortality rate across neighborhoods of four world cities.

Methods: Using a maximum likelihood negative binomial regression model that controls for births, we analyzed data for 1988-1992 and 1993-1997.

Results: In Manhattan, during both periods, we found a statistically significant association between income and infant mortality (.05 level) while in Tokyo there was none. In Paris and London, there was no association in period one. In period two, the association just misses statistical significance for Paris while in London association with a deprivation index is significant.

Conclusions: In contrast to Tokyo, Paris and London, the association of income and infant mortality rate is more strongly evident in Manhattan.

The Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan: The Role of the City

The Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan: The Role of the City
The Contentious City: The Politics of Recovery in New York City edited by John Mollenkopf. Sage Foundation,

Moss, M.
01/01/2005

The attack on the World Trade Center reinforced a process of change in lower Manhattan that had been under way for at least the past fifty years. The public and private responses to the destruction wrought on September 11 have provided the funds, organizational capacity, and public commitment to do what a previous generation of municipal planners tried to accomplish, with only partial success: creating a mixed residential and office community in what was once New York City's dominant financial and business district. Federal aid to rebuild lower Manhattan has been the catalyst for modernizing and expanding its mass transit systems and facilities, providing low-cost financing for converting obsolete office buildings into housing, improving pedestrian movement, investing public funds in parks and cultural institutions, and subsidizing the creation of new public schools. This chapter examines the key public and private organizations that have shaped this redevelopment and the implications for the future of lower Manhattan and for office development in the rest of New York City.

Immigrants and the Distribution of Resources within an Urban School District

Immigrants and the Distribution of Resources within an Urban School District
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Winter 2004, Vol. 26, No. 4. pp- 303-328.

Stiefel, L. & Schwartz, A.E.
12/01/2004

In New York City, where almost 14 percent of elementary school pupils are foreign-born and roughly half of these are "recent immigrants," the impact of immigrant students on school resources may be important. While immigrant advocates worry about inequitable treatment of immigrant students, others worry that immigrants drain resources from native-born students. In this article, we explore the variation in school resources and the relationship to the representation of immigrant students. To what extent are variations in school resources explained by the presence of immigrants per se rather than by differences in student educational needs, such as poverty or language skills, or differences in other characteristics, such as race? Our results indicate that, while schools resources decrease with the representation of immigrants, this relationship largely reflects differences in the educational needs of immigrant students. Although analyses that link resources to the representation of foreign-born students in 12 geographic regions of origin find some disparities, these are again largely driven by differences in educational need. Finally, we find that some resources increase over time when there are large increases in the percentage of immigrants in a school, but these results are less precisely estimated. Thus, elementary schools appear not to be biased either against or for immigrants per se, although differences in the needs of particular groups of immigrant students may lead to more (or fewer) school resources.

At Capacity: The Need for More Rail Access to the Manhattan CBD

At Capacity: The Need for More Rail Access to the Manhattan CBD
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, November

Scanlon, R. & Seeley, E.
11/01/2004

This report examines the relationship between proposed transit system capacity improvements in the downstate metropolitan area, the updated post 9-11 job projections for the Manhattan Central Business District, and regional economic growth. It further explores a number of key issues Ed Seeley first covered in a highly publicized report on these topics for the New York City Department of Transportation in 1997. The findings of this report are relevant to the current discussions concerning the next MTA Five Year program. Ensuring that the MTA maintains a state of good repair and normal replacement is the highest priority of most, if not all transportation policy experts for the next 5 year capital program. Nonetheless, as historians and planners have frequently asserted, New York's growth and prosperity has consistently been tied to additions and improvements to its transportation network and this report suggests this is likely to be the case in the foreseeable future.

Attitudinal and contextual factors associated with discussion of sexual issues during adolescent health visits

Attitudinal and contextual factors associated with discussion of sexual issues during adolescent health visits
Journal of Adolescent Health 2004:35(2)108-115.

Merzel, C.R., Van Devanter, N., Middlestadt, S.E., Bleakley, A., Ledsky, R. & Messeri, P.A.
08/01/2004

The purpose was to examine attitudinal and contextual factors associated with the occurrence of sexual health assessments during adolescent primary care visits. A total of 313 primarily African-American youth aged 11-21 years from 16 community-based organizations in suburban Maryland and in New York City completed questionnaires focusing on sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and health care. The analysis examined the relationship of sexual activity, attitudes, and presence of the parent at the health care visit with discussion of three sexual health topics and testing for STD at the most recent health care visit. Data were analyzed using Chi-square tests and logistic regression. Overall, 74% of respondents reported that they had talked about at least one sexual health topic at their last health care visit but only 32% had discussed all three topics of sexual behavior, birth control, and STD. Females were more likely than males to discuss birth control although there were no gender differences in the overall likelihood of talking about a sexual health topic. Few adolescents initiated discussion of sexual issues. Positive attitudes toward discussing sexual issues with a provider and absence of a parent at the visit were independently associated with higher odds of discussing at least one sexuality topic and STD testing. Although relatively large numbers of adolescents in the sample received sexual health assessments, the proportion was below recommended guidelines. The opportunity to speak privately with a clinician and having positive attitudes about discussing sex with a doctor appear to be important influences on the receipt of sexual health assessments. Improving the quality of adolescent preventive care will require creating a health care environment that facilitates discussion of sexual health issues

From Districts To Schools: The Distribution Of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts

From Districts To Schools: The Distribution Of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts
Symposium on Education Finance and Organization Structure in NYS Schools, Albany, NY, March

Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L. & Rubenstein, R.
03/01/2004

This paper explores the determinants of resource allocation across schools in large districts and examines options for improving resource distribution patterns. Previous research on intra-district allocations consistently reveals resource disparities across schools within districts, particularly in the distribution of teachers. While overall expenditures are sometimes related to the characteristics of students in schools, the ratio of teachers per pupil is consistently larger in high poverty, high-minority and low-performing schools. These teachers, though, generally have lower experience and education levels � and consequently, lower salaries � as compared to teachers in more advantaged schools. We explore these patterns in New York City, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio by estimating de facto expenditure equations relating resource measures to school and student characteristics. Consistent with previous research, we find schools that have higher percentages of poor pupils receive more money and have more teachers per pupil, but the teachers tend to be less educated and less well paid, with a particularly consistent pattern in New York City schools. The paper concludes with policy options for changing intradistrict resource distributions in order to promote more efficient, more equitable or more effective use of resources. These options include allocating dollars rather than teacher positions to schools, providing teacher pay differentials in hard-to-staff schools and subjects, and adapting current district-based funding formulas to the school (and student) level.

Context Sensitive Solutions in Large Central Cities

Context Sensitive Solutions in Large Central Cities
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, February

de Cerreño, A.L.C. & Pierson, I.
02/01/2004

This report is a summary of the proceedings and findings from a one-and-a-half day peer-to-peer workshop on context sensitive design/solutions (CSD/S) held in New York City in June 2003. The goal of the session was to lay a foundation for dealing with the state of the practice and processes related to context sensitive solutions, and to identify specific urban examples that could be used as benchmarks for lessons learned and best practices. The report presents hard -to-find examples of CSD/S in large central cities, specifically from Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, and Philadelphia. Each example illustrates some elements of CSD.S more than others, but together they provide a baseline for understanding how large cities are coping with the myriad issues related to CSD/S and why a more concerted effort is needed in understanding and implementing CSD/S.

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