Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies

Newsletter February 2019



U.S. Sanctuary Cities and Undocumented Immigrant Rights

In the United States, few issues are more controversial than the question of what to do with the country’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. On Monday, January 28, I reflected on this debate in a presentation at the Think & Drink Colloquium in the Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies.

While the Trump administration demonizes undocumented immigrants and aggressively restricts their rights, officials in politically progressive cities have taken steps to ensure that they are able conduct their daily lives with a modicum of dignity and safety. Immigration critics, including officials in the Trump administration, argue that such inclusive city policies and practices challenge the federal monopoly over immigration and citizenship matters and undermine national security. Despite rising intergovernmental tensions over undocumented immigration, cities’ experimentation with new local membership policies continues. What are cities doing and how have they gone about it?


In New York City and San Francisco, for example, local officials have advanced the rights of undocumented immigrants in three ways. One is through services: They have improved access to existing city services, for example through language access and municipal ID card programs. They have also restored services—such as health care—that have been limited or taken away by other levels of government. Finally, they have developed new services in response to federal immigration policy changes, including municipally-funded immigration legal services. Two is through rights protection policies, including sanctuary policies forbidding city officials to inquire about someone’s immigration status and share that information with federal immigration officials, as well as minimum wage and anti-wage theft policies addressing the local workplace rights of undocumented workers. And three is through inclusive modes of community participation, such as by extending local voting rights to undocumented immigrants and including them in participatory budgeting, a process in which city residents can decide how a part of the city budget is used.


Officials in New York City and San Francisco have been able to advance the rights of undocumented immigrants within the constraints of U.S. federalism by acting strategically. They have, for example, carved out some local autonomy in the immigrant rights arena by taking advantage of both their delegated police powers to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of all city residents and the social service responsibilities devolved to them in recent decades by the federal government. Also, they have used purposeful and intentional issue framing. Instead of framing their inclusive policies as specifically benefitting undocumented immigrants, they have highlighted how they promote the public safety, civic engagement, and public health of all city residents.


(Els de Graauw is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Baruch College in the City University of New York)




[Link] Georg-Simmel-Zentrum für Metropolenforschung – Studierendenkonferenz 2019


Deadline: 16. Februar 2019 | Konferenz: 10. – 11. April 2019

Alle Studierenden, die ihren Bachelor-, Master-, Magister- oder Diplomabschluss im Jahr 2018 vollendet haben, sind herzlich eingeladen, sich mit ihrer Abschlussarbeit für die achte Studierendenkonferenz am Georg-Simmel-Zentrum für Metropolenforschung zu bewerben. Besonders herausragende Arbeiten haben dabei die Chance, den mit 250€ für die beste Bachelorarbeit und 500€ für die beste Master-, Magister-, Diplomarbeit dotierten Georg-Simmel-Preis zu erhalten. Bewerbungen können bis zum 16.Februar 2019 eingereicht werden und umfassen ein Abstract (max. 500 Wörter), eine digitale Kopie der Arbeit und den Nachweis der Bewertung. Mehr Information unter dem Link.




[Link] SFB 1265 - Re-Figuration of Spaces: Mediatization, Mobility, Globalization and Social Dislocation
Registration: until February 10, 2019 | Conference: February 20 – 21, 2019


The collaborative research center “Re-Figuration of Spaces” at Technische Universität Berlin investigates changes in contemporary spatial arrangements with an emphasis on digital technologies and transnationalization. The goal is to determine the characteristics of the so-defined “re-figuration of spaces”. In their conference, they thematize how spaces change through mediatization, increased mobility, globalization and social dislocation. They ask which forms of arrangements, spatialities and materialities underwrite these processes. How are spaces negotiated and (visually) communicated? These questions will be addressed by international lecturers and discussed in plenary and parallel sessions.




[Link] Initiative Kerberos - Underground Architecture Revisited
February 20 – 23, 2019

The international conference Underground “Architecture Revisited” will focus on the architectural design of underground stations of the second half of the 20th century in Europe. Transportation architecture very much characterizes the appearance of our cities and also functions as place of identification for its users. Due to modernization pressures in the large cities, infrastructures of post-war modernity are threatened by disfiguring alterations and loss. The international conference wishes to provide a comparative approach underneath our metropolises. It also wishes to be an interdisciplinary exchange of experience between heritage conservation / heritage research with their experience in practical conservation on the one hand, and the companies, the operators and users of modern underground lines on the other hand.





[Link] Hermann-Henselmann-Stiftung - 100 Jahre Groß-Berlin: Die Planungskultur
Anmeldung bis 28. Februar 2019 | Vortrag: 2. März 2019

„100 Jahre Groß-Berlin: Die Planungskultur“ ist eine Veranstaltung der Hermann-Henselmann-Stiftung in Kooperation mit dem Fachgebiet Stadterneuerung und Planungstheorie der Universität Kassel und Unterstützung der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung und die Helle Panke e.V. Anlässlich des bevorstehenden 100-jährigen Jubiläums der Bildung der Einheitsgemeinde (Groß-)Berlin veranstaltet die Hermann-Henselmann-Stiftung seit 2016 jährlich ein Kolloquium. Nach der Wohnungs-, der Verkehrs- und die Grünfrage steht 2018 die Planungskultur auf der Tagesordnung.





[Link] Pro qm – Book Launch: Architecture, Democracy, and Emotions. The Politics of Feeling since 1945
February 13, 2019 | 8:30 pm

“Architecture, Democracy, and Emotions” focuses on the contrary promises of consumer democracy, welfare democracy, and socialist democracy. Spanning from Turkey across Eastern and Western Europe to the United States, the book investigates the emotional politics of housing and representation during the climax of the Cold War, as well as its aftermath post-1989. In the discussion, the several topics posed by the book will be reviewed: about contemporary debates around building the city and democratic access to it whose urgency has only increased over the last decade.