The Center for Urban Studies posits that the forces of underdevelopment operate in similar ways across countries at different stages of socioeconomic development and with different political economies. This makes it possible for us to share experiences and learn from each other. Our prime international focus is on Mexico and the Caribbean, China and Europe, Central America and South America, with a particular interest in Cuba, Aruba, Brazil and Argentina. The Center’s work is primarily concerned with neighborhood life and culture, tourism, and health and housing and neighborhood conditions.
Exiled in Cuba: The Nehanda Abiodun Story
This is a collaboration with Nehanda Abiodun, an African American living in exile in Cuba. A former member of the Black Revolutionary Army in the United States. Nehanda was forced underground because of a series of changes made against her in connection with a series of armored-car holdups in the New York City area, along with changes connected to the 1979 escape of the black revolutionary, Assata Shakur. After spending ten years underground in the United States, Nehanda entered Cuba during the early nineties and was granted political asylum by the Cuban government. The book will cover three periods in Nehanda’s life: her early years in Harlem, including graduation from Columbia University; The making of a Black Revolutionary, which explorers her transformation into a black revolutionary and the years underground in the United States, and the final section examines her life as an exile, living in Cuba.
The Challenge of Health, Housing and Neighborhood Development in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean
The Case of Buffalo, New York, Havana, Cuba, Rio de Janario, Brazil, Córdoba and Argentina
The problem of vulnerable, underdeveloped urban neighborhoods is a major issue in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Globalization, neoliberalism and urbanization are intensifying the problem of neighborhood underdevelopment. For example, the United Nations estimates that about one-third of the world’s urban dwellers live in slums or underdeveloped neighborhoods and that by 2030 that number will double. In this scenario, poor housing and neighborhood conditions will cause an exacerbation of health problem the people living in these underdeveloped communities. Yet, although this is a hemispheric problem, we still know little about the approaches that different countries use to attack the problem of health and housing and underdeveloped neighborhoods.
This project will examine undeveloped neighborhoods in Buffalo, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, and Córdoba. The goal is to compare approaches to solving neighborhood-based health and housing problems in countries with different political economies and at different stages of economic development. Through this comparative analysis, it will be possible to gain insight into similarities and different in the approaches used by the different countries. Then, based on this assessment, we will identify the best practices. The project will be lead by the World Health Organization’s Health in Housing Collaborating Centers at the University at Buffalo and in Havana, Cuba. The methodology and final selection of countries and cities participating in this project will be done by the Health and Housing collaborating centers.
China and Europe
The UB-Center also engages in work on China and Europe. Our work on China is just evolving and concerns itself with the rapid urbanization of the country and its implications for planning practice. We are also working with higher education institutions in Europe on the role of anchor institutions in the re-imagining of democratic institutions.