This introductory chapter presents an overview of the four “upstream” policies on austerity, schools, food, and drugs. These policies are not typically regarded as urban policies, but they ought to be. In their present forms, they damage cities; but they can be changed. Such changes have the best potential for improving cities. In each of the four areas, city advocates and researchers have produced enormous bodies of evidence calling for reform. Vast troves of annual survey data as well as solid statistical analyses come from public agencies such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Food and Nutrition Service. More information comes from various state and city research organizations, new local programs, investigative journalists, and the research reports, journal articles, and books written by hundreds of individual researchers and research teams based for the most part at colleges and universities.
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