Global Urbanism, Urban Governance, Political-Economy and Global Development, Quantitative and Comparative-Historical Methods, and Housing and the Courts.
Daniel Pasciuti is a comparative-historical and urban sociologist. His research interests include (1) contemporary and historical processes of urbanization and urban development, (2) global inequality, social change and development, and (3) contemporary issues of governance and (re)organization of the cities (e.g. questions on the devolution of governance structures and the interaction between government organizations, private investment, civil society, and individual citizens). I use a combination of quantitative and comparative-historical methods in understanding the interrelationship in which changes in the global political economy affect the conditions and possibilities at the local levels.
I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate courses on Statistics and Social Theory and received the Kreiger School of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, in 2013, while at Johns Hopkins University.
Transformations in Urban Governance and the Role of Institutions, Organizations, and Individuals
This research addresses the contemporary processes of urban governance that are increasingly challenged by the rise of global finance and the explosion of municipal debt, by problems of environmental sustainability and by shifts in the geographical center of world-economic growth and political power. Previously lauded models for urban success – through urban entrepreneurialism, state-led redevelopment projects, public-private partnerships, and nested organization of government levels (local, regional, national) – are confronted by the crisis of welfare states and the rise of a politics of austerity. New forms of uneven spatial development are emerging within and between urban centers. These challenges raise questions about what it means to govern urban areas. Specifically, how does governance extend across or within metropolitan regions, and what role do urban dwellers play in building and rebuilding urban space in the twenty-first century?
This research has gone in several different directions. One is a study – supported by an Abell Foundation grant – that sought to engage and evaluate a particular form of urban governance devolution in Baltimore. This form of governance, which is rapidly gaining popularity in many parts of the United States, Europe, and Asia, sits at the forefront of the current debate over the practice of community organization and governance to achieve direct and lasting effects in the rebuilding of urban communities. Very limited scholarly research has been carried out on the effectiveness of Community Benefits Districts, and they themselves have been a relatively very rare form of urban governance. In 2004, it was estimated that this form of governance only existed in 12 cities (Baer and Ihrke, 2004). However, my own estimates, as many as 90 of these forms of governance may exist throughout North America today. In order to expand our understanding of benefits districts, I conducted a case study of the Charles Village Community Benefits District in Baltimore, MD. This study sought to evaluate both the impact and perception of the supplemental safety and sanitation services and understand the role and process of this form of public-private governance in the city.
Second, has been the study of housing court and evictions in Maryland and Georgia. In conjunction with the Public Justice Center of Maryland and the Right to Housing Alliance, we conducted a study of the current and historical conditions of Rent Court. Part of the Baltimore District Court and responsible for mediating and ruling on issues of housing, this court was originally envisioned as the key step in rehabilitating Baltimore’s housing stock and creating an equitable forum for the mediation of disputes between landlords and tenets in the 1950s. Rent Court processes over 150k cases of eviction in Baltimore City per year with few cases considered for abatement and the large majority of cases occurring in areas or the city with depleted housing stocks and high levels of vacancy. The project investigated the barriers to knowledge and practice before and during trial that prevent many tenants from claiming their rights in court and was funded by a grant from the Abel Foundation.
Currently, I am working with Lauren Lucas and the Center for Access to Justice to look at Dispossessory Court in Georgia. This project will consider the role of resources in non-urban communities and investigate the frequency and capacity of evictions in these locations.
Daniel Pasciuti and Rafee Al-Mansur. 2014. “Evaluating Urban Governance: Study on the Re-authorization of the Charles Village Community Benefits District”. Report presented to the Baltimore City Council Committee on Urban Affairs.
Public Justice Center, Right to Housing Alliance, Daniel Pasciuti, and Michele Cotton. 2015 “Justice Diverted: How Renters Are Processed in the Baltimore City Rent Court”. Report by the Public Justice Center, December 2015.
Covered in articles/stories by the Washington Post, International Business Times, NPR, Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post and NextCity.
Daniel Pasciuti and Isaac Jilbert. 2015. “The Building Blocks of Deprivation” in Jacobin, May 11, 2015.
Transformations in Hierarchies of Wealth and Power: Global and Local
My third broad area of research is the historical transformations in hierarchies of wealth and power. I am particularly interested in examining how the world income hierarchy (between and within) have changed in world history due to geographical relocation of global capital, changes in the global political economy, escalation of economic/financial crises and political-military struggles among great powers. This includes explicating the uneven manifestations of global-level transformations at the local/national levels.
Pasciuti, Daniel and Corey Payne. 2017. “Illusion in Crisis? World-Economic and Zonal Volatility, 1975-2013” in Korzeniewicz, Patricio., ed. The World-System as Unit of Analysis. New York, Routledge, 2017.
Beverly Silver, Daniel Pasciuti, and Sahan Karatasli. 2017. “World hegemonies and global inequalities” in Vladimir Popov and Piotr Dutkiewicz (eds.), Mapping a New World Order: The Rest Beyond the West. UK, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.
Daniel Pasciuti and Beverly Silver. 2014. “The Developmentalist Illusion Redux?” in Overcoming Global Inequalities, Immanuel Wallerstein, Christopher Chase-Dunn, and Christian Slater (eds.) Paradigm Publishers.
Practical Ethics of University-Community Relations
Additionally my work examines the relationship between Universities and the communities they exist within. Differences in wealth, power, and prestige between universities and those who live near them, pass through them, or become the objects of their research are often stark—even as universities face their own fiscal and administrative struggles. These inequalities often give rise to challenging questions concerning access to and control of knowledge, land, and money.
The April 2015 uprising in Baltimore, following the death of Freddie Gray, gave a new sense of urgency to focus directly on the ethical dimensions of contemporary capitalism, as it not only put a spotlight on the deep racial and class disparities in the city but also brought to the surface a set of urgent ethical questions about the relationship between the university and the community.
Funded by a grant from the Berman Institute of Bioethics, this has emerged as a multi-year project to examine the ethical considerations and contradictions that large, research oriented, Universities face in reshaping urban space.