Voting is the heart of our democracy yet voting rights have always engendered voting fights. Civic Fellows delved into the context of voting today and discussed ideas for increasing voter access and engagement.
The United States is on the verge of changes to immigration law. Civic Fellows investigated different perspectives and explored issues surrounding immigration reform.
Press, Media and Social Media
The press is often called the fourth branch of government as it is the watchdog of the democratic process. Civic Fellows explored the role the press has in shaping public opinion, the responsibility of journalists and the challenges of our current age.
Civic Dilemmas in Infrastructure
Infrastructure refers to the system of public works of a country, state or region. While infrastructure refers to a physical state, it is formed by civic actions – choices and decisions about what to invest in, where and for whom.
Gentrification and Affordable Housing
Gentrification provokes considerable debate and controversy over how it affects neighborhoods and the people residing in them. The term is often used to describe neighborhood changes that are characterized by an influx of new residents of a higher socioeconomic status relative to incumbent residents, causing rising housing values–and rising costs. While many associate gentrification with residential displacement, the empirical evidence on the relationship between gentrification and residential displacement is not conclusive, as research finds no significant evidence of higher mobility rates among existing vulnerable residents in gentrifying neighborhoods nor does it explain the dynamics of residential mobility in gentrifying neighborhoods. How should we think about how to ensure that neighborhoods are safe and have desirable amenities without displacing long-term residents and businesses? Can there be reinvestment or external investment in a neighborhood without gentrification or displacement–and what would that look like?
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of speech is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, guaranteed in the First Amendment and held dear by liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. But this freedom has become fraught in America today. From college campuses to social media to sports fields to Presidential tweets, battles over the right to express ourselves, and how we may or may not do so, are reaching a fever pitch given political polarization, racial tensions, and “identity politics. How should this basic right be interpreted in the context of our times? Are lies and “fake news” protected speech? Does the First Amendment’s speech clause need a 21st-Century upgrade?
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