"City of Disorder has added enormously to our understanding of the context in which the crime declines of the 1980s and 90s took place. Future discussions of what happened in New York City must take this book into account. A great read and a real contribution to our understanding of the era."
-—George Kelling,co-author of Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order And Reducing Crime In Our Communities
"In City of Disorder, Vitale provides a wise and balanced analysis of the preoccupation with social order in New York City that flowered under Giuliani's watch. On the one side, neoliberal housing and employment markets were increasing the numbers of people who were displaced and homeless. The failure of government on all levels to regulate the market forces driving this development, or to intervene to provide alternatives for the people affected, meant that people coped as they always have, by camping on the streets and panhandling, and by turning to drugs and drink. These behaviors in turn created popular political support for the coercive social controls that came to characterize city policy in the nineties. But neither the homeless nor the public were responsible for the limited alternatives which drove this mean result."
-—Frances Fox Piven,author of The War at Home: The Domestic Costs of Bush's Militarism
"Vitale presents an important critical analysis of "quality of life" and "zero tolerance" policing that have serious civil rights and civil liberties implications and are too often accepted, without careful scrutiny, as the solution to urban problems."
-—Donna Lieberman,Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union
"Vitale makes a powerful, and likely irrefutable, case that New York City mayors could have made major inroads in reducing homelessness had they adopted more progressive land use policies. This part of the book alone is a major contribution to the ongoing debate about homelessness. Readers across the nation will benefit from what is now clearly one of the best books ever written about urban homelessness."
About the Author
Alex S. Vitale is Associate Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He has also worked for the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness and the New York Civil Liberties Union.