Root Shock examines 3 different U.S. cities to unmask the crippling results of decades-old disinvestment in communities of color and the urban renewal practices that ultimately destroyed these neighborhoods for the advantage of developers and the elite. Like a sequel to the prescient warnings of urbanist Jane Jacobs, Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove reveals the disturbing effects of decades of insensitive urban renewal projects on communities of color. For those whose homes and neighborhoods were bulldozed, the urban modernization projects that swept America starting in 1949 were nothing short of an assault. Vibrant city blocks - places rich in culture - were torn apart by freeways and other invasive development, devastating the lives of poor residents. Fullilove passionately describes the profound traumatic stress- the "root shock"that results when a neighborhood is demolished. She estimates that federal and state urban renewal programs, spearheaded by business and real estate interests, destroyed 1,600 African American districts in cities across the United States. But urban renewal didn't just disrupt black communities: it ruined their economic health and social cohesion, stripping displaced residents of their sense of place as well. It also left big gashes in the centers of cities that are only now slowly being repaired. Focusing on the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the Central Ward in Newark, and the small Virginia city of Roanoke, Dr. Fullilove argues powerfully against policies of displacement. Understanding the damage caused by root shock is crucial to coping with its human toll and helping cities become whole. Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, is a research psychiatrist at New York State Psychiatric Institute and professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University. She is the author of five books, including Urban Alchemy.
About the Author
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, is Professor of Urban Policy and Health, Urban Policy Analysis & Management Program, Milano School for International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy, THE NEW SCHOOL for Public Engagement. She is former Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, and former Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. Trained at Bryn Mawr College and Columbia University, she has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities and is interested in the links between the environment and mental health. Her research examines the mental health effects of environmental processes such as violence, segregation, and urban renewal. Author Dr. Fullilove was recently named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for "advancing architecture and urban planning through her expansive knowledge of cities and the relationship between the built environment and the wellness of society." Her work is the subject of feature articles, including the 2015 New York Times "The Town Shrink," and she herself has published numerous articles and papers, and five books--Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It (2004), The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place(1999), and coauthored Collective Consciousness and Its Discontents: Institutional Distributed Cognition, Racial Policy and Public Health in the United States (2008) and Homeboy Came to Orange: A Story of People's Power (2008). Her title Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities was published in 2013 by New Village Press. Foreword contributor, Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, is a public health researcher and commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In February 2015, she wrote a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding the adverse health effects of racial discrimination against African Americans. She holds a B.A. in history and science from Harvard University, an M.D. from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and an M.P.H. from the University of Washington. Foreword contributor, Carlos F. Peterson, is a distinguished artist and architectural draftsman and award-winning illustrator for the steel engineering industry of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Peterson's life and many of his evocative paintings, prints, sculpture, and photographs were deeply influenced by 1960's urban development that destroyed the vibrant African American, Hill District neighborhood he grew up in.