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Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect
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Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
For over fifty years numerous public intellectuals and social theorists have insisted that community is dead. Some would have us believe that we act solely as individuals choosing our own fates regardless of our surroundings, while other theories place us at the mercy of global forces beyond our control. These two perspectives dominate contemporary views of society, but by ...more
Hardcover, 552 pages
Published February 15th 2012 by University Of Chicago Press (first published November 15th 2011)
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Jul 09, 2014 Elizabeth rated it liked it
When you moved to college, you more than likely moved to a city. Or if not, you moved to one shortly after. More Americans than ever live in big cities, and if you're like me, you were a little too scared of New York City's rent to move there. So more than likely, you moved to a place like Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, or my own choice, Chicago. But the culture shock of the leftover segregation in a supposedly "post-racism" world is overwhelming. How can we walk a mile in a city and move from up ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Dave rated it it was ok
I have no doubt that many readers find this book completely fascinating. To me, parts of it were indeed extremely interesting. But, it is dense with academic prose, process, and descriptions of statistical regressions. That's just not what I want to read on the way to and from work.
Whew. This five-hundred-fifty-page academic book may appeal to political scientists, social science researchers and similar others. This is not for the merely curious urban dweller who wants to better understand the city as an organism. The subtitle about the neighborhood effect motivated me to special-order the book.

From 1994-2001, the author led massive research that collected big data for examining the three-hundred-forty-three neighborhoods of Chicago, with a special interest in disadvantag
Jun 13, 2013 Brian rated it liked it
Heavy on methodology and exhaustive in data analysis, this one is oftentimes a bear to get through. In 400+ pages, the book points out several notable patterns in community trajectories related to such metrics as per-capita-nonprofit activity, legal cynicism, and collective efficacy, but as a layman, I found the message was best digested when the author was narrating his personal observations as he hit the Chicago neighborhoods on foot. This book is clearly academic in nature, and now, having ro ...more
Mickey Hoffman
Feb 27, 2013 Mickey Hoffman rated it liked it
Since I grew up on the S. side of Chicago, I had more than one reason to read this book which summarizes and explains about 30 years of urban study. One main point is that neighborhoods develop their own reputations and expectations about order, violence, and the amount of caring the residents will show toward one another. He shows that where people think their voices and wants will be heard and that they can act together have the best qualities, while a sense of disorder, even if that is comple ...more
Jun 03, 2014 Douglas rated it liked it
If you're interested in the whys and wherefores of how Chicago's neighborhoods have stayed the way they are in relation to the distribution of wealth and poverty, crime, health, infant mortality, civic engagement, teen births, altruism, immigration, home foreclosures, etc, this is your book.
Jan 20, 2015 Allison rated it it was amazing
Really broad and impressive study of neighborhood effects. Disappointed that it lacks attention to gender/sexuality and space. Loved the author's stylistic flourishes. My favorite was the reference to "magnificent mile" as a phantasmagoria.
Sep 25, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
An interesting exploration of how neighborhoods impact individuals. Most of the research occurs in Chicago in the mid 90s and early 00s. There were many interesting sampling methods, I particularly liked the lost letter experiment.
Ammalia Podlaszewska
the book is a counter argument to the mainstream claims that community is dead. By utilizing hard datas such as the mobility pattern, poverty, crime, unemployment, civic engangement and direct observation, the author explores how an individuals state of deprivation is affected by the spatial context given by its particular neighbourhood context. It proves the interdependence between factors of neighbourhood effect with neighbourhoods social connections and interactions.
Its a powerfull and ambit
Alex Clark
Oct 25, 2015 Alex Clark rated it it was ok
One of those books that makes you temporarily never want to read again. Two stars because the research is important.
May 31, 2013 Alexis rated it liked it
This book is very informative but also VERY dense! Be prepared for it to take a while. Once you've committed to it, you will enjoy the depth of research and knowledge Sampson brings to the reader. As a person who works with neighborhoods I found many of his concepts enlightening--Collective efficacy and perception being two of the main factors in neighborhood effects. Worthwhile if you have the time and energy to push through.
Mar 01, 2013 Sekar rated it liked it
I really like the idea that "People don't choose neighborhood. Neighborhoods choose people." A must read reference to understand the nature of neighborhoods. Sampson presents a number of methods and theories that he claims are applicable to any city in the world, not only Chicago.
While this was an informative read, especially since I live in the Chicagoland area, it was way too "I need to pull out my dictionary" at least once a page. Not a light read and had to take several breaks and come back to it.
Mackenzie Brooks
Moving this over to the not-finished shelf. Had to return to library. Data is cool, just not my style.
Jul 07, 2014 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
I'm really, really looking forward to picking this up again.
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