podcast

DC Podcast Episode 8: Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It

Happy Holidays, Decipher City Fans. As we bid goodbye to 2018, we’re muling over Mindy Thompson Fullilove’s critical 2016 text Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About It. Fullilove is a psychiatrist and professor of policy and public health at the New School.  Her work looks at the ways in which human-driven environmental changes, such as segregation and urban renewal effect public health.

Fullilove initially came to urban planning by way of studying contemporary urban epidemics, such as the AIDS crisis, and mental health. What she discovered is that there is a strong relationship between areas affected by urban renewal, disinvestment, and other high level (and historically adverse) planning decisions, and the health of citizens that lived in these neighborhoods. Click below for the full review:





  1. Fulilove reconstructs neighborhood experiences from a variety of quantitative and qualitative sources, such as participatory neighborhood mapping projects, oral histories, and period photography. In this text she relies on work from the incredible photographer Richard Saunders (here the subject of a New York Public library exhibit).
  2. Since Fulilove’s initial work, the medical community has come to acknowledge the relationship between social connections and physical as well as mental health, and how a fundamental ‘need to belong’ is an important component in holistic well-being.
  3. For more information on the concepts of planned shrinkage and benign neglect, key elements to the first phase of neighborhood deterioration, see Deborah and Roderick Wallace’s article of the same name: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3145-benign-neglect-and-planned-shrinkage
RAZED HOUSES, AND OTHERS DUE FOR DEMOLITION-PART OF AN URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT IN THE TRIANGLE SECTION OF CHARLESTON – NARA – 551131
 Schaefer, Harry, Photographer (NARA record: 8464469) – U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
El Paso’s Second Ward, a Chicano Neighborhood, Which Is Losing Its Ethnic Flavor in the Wake of Urban Renewal, 06/1972 U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-2857. Photographer: Lyon, Danny

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