Urban Studies Papers


***NOTE: THIS PAPER REQUIRES MLA FORMATTING. MLA requires citing Author and page number (as opposed to author and year).*** ***The book to review will be emailed to you together with other client files once order is assigned***   Instructions:   The essay will ask you to draw on the readings of the course to evaluate the book Evicted.Your answers must be written in a standard essay format consisting of a short introduction,supporting paragraphs, and a short conclusion. The essay must address the four parts of the general prompt.
Spaces of Advanced Marginality
Cities are spaces of great opportunities and marginality. People living in marginalized areas of the city face great hardships and few opportunities for a better life. This essay should examine how the rental housing market affects the lives of people in low income areas of cities.
1. Drawing on the book “Evicted”, how do landlords develop strategies to maximize their profits and minimize their risks?
2. What are the political and economic conditions that enable landlords to make money in high poverty areas?
3. How do the forces facing tenants exacerbate the conditions of urban poverty described by other authors in the second part of the class?
4. According to the author, what options (from political to social) are available for poor tenants to improve their lives and fight back against exploitative landlords?
You are expected to answer all 4 questions for the book review, in essay format. Your paper should include a [very] brief introduction and thesis, as well as a conclusion. Do not go over the page limit; you will lose points for doing so.

Remember that you want to use the individual stories of the tenants/landlords to pull out common trends to answer questions 1, 2, and 4. We do still expect to see one or two pointed examples the questions, but the responses should not read as plot summaries for each character.
For question 4, do not draw your answers from the supplemental materials at the end of the book. Rather, focus on answering what kinds of strategies tenants have tried to resist (at an institutional level or at an individual level) throughout the book. How effective were those strategies?

The essay requires a minimum of 2 course resources, the book Evicted and an additional reading that addresses answers question 3. Remember that you are looking to demonstrate your understanding of course content – it is better to fully answer a question with 1-2 readings than to provide a superficial synopsis with a high number of citations.

Citations should be in MLA format. This is important, because we need to know what pages you are pulling the material from in evicted. If you are unsure of how to do parenthetical citations in MLA format, please consult OWL Purdue. 


The Unequal City


Introduction. 1

Strategies of the landlords to maximise profits and minimise risks. 1

Political and economic conditions that enable landlords to make money in the high poverty areas. 2

Forces facing tenants that exacerbate urban poverty. 2

Options available for poor tenants to improve their lives. 3

Conclusions. 3

Works Cited. 4


The story ‘Evicted’ by Mathew Desmond revolves around the experiences of eight families on the Southside of Milwaukee. It narrates the ordeals of these families as they struggle to cope with issues of affordable housing. The events are actual experiences as witnessed or heard by the author who was then a Ph.D. student of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin and was conducting his field research between the years 2008 and 2009. Desmond’s argument through the story is that the extraordinary instability being experienced in the rental housing market is as a result of poverty and inequality and that it is not unique to the Milwaukee neighborhood, but rather, which is widespread in a majority of the American cities (Desmond 8). 


Strategies of the landlords to maximise profits and minimise risks

The landlords in Desmond’s story have a strategy for profit-making where they invest in buying rundown property in the cheap neighborhood and then charging unnecessarily high rent. They also engage in providing different professional services to the tenants at a fee, for example, Sherrena helps her tenants to improve their credit scores at a fee (Desmond 9). This is an alternative source of income that they generate from their tenants. The landlord reduces their risks by demanding a security deposit from each new tenant before they can be allowed into the rental apartment.

Political and economic conditions that enable landlords to make money in the high poverty areas

Landlords are able to profit from the rental housing market because the poverty areas comprise of poor people who are not able to buy homes of their own therefore rely on the rentals for shelter while at the same time, the poor population who are mostly not formally employed do not qualify for the public housing schemes (Desmond 12). Therefore, the economic status of the population allows for the thriving of the rental housing business in high poverty areas.

Forces facing tenants that exacerbate urban poverty

The main issue facing urban city tenants is the rising cost of rental housing which is inversely proportional to the incomes of the tenants (Wacquant 111). Recent researches show that on average urban dwellers commit close to 80% of their income on rent which eventually leads to defaults in payment of the rent which will generally increase the chances for an eviction. The constant risk of eviction interferes with an individual’s freedom to have a settled mind hence no room for investment in an area. This is a major prerequisite for poverty.

Political policies and programs that are designed by different state governments have a major impact on the status of the tenants in the urban areas. These policies and programs will either fuel or reduce the level of unequality and marginalization of the citizen of the state (Wacquant 112). The policies will influence the way a particular state will be able to provide basic education and schooling for its system and how employment opportunities and job training are done in the particular statte (Wacquant 112). These have a play a fundamental role to play in the poverty situation of the particular society.

Options available for poor tenants to improve their lives

Many government initiatives have come up, for example, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, whose aim is to assist low-income earning families secure decent housing from the private rental sector at costs not more than 30% of their incomes with the government subsidizing the difference (Desmond 191). These projects have assisted millions of American families including the elderly and the disabled in terms of home ownership. Additionally, many state governments have embarked on their own housing projects in their jurisdictions which are also pegged on the premise that no family is to commit more than 30% of their income towards rent payment (Desmond 192). As a result of these government initiatives and projects, the rate of homelessness has greatly been reduced giving families opportunities to settled and focus on investment in more important needs like health care, food, and transportation.


Poverty is a societal vice that every government and community should strive to eliminate from its citizenry since it cripples humankind and robs victims of their dignity. The major areas that should be focused on are the supply of steady income sources for the population and the provision and availability affordable housing scheme for the population.

Works Cited

Desmond, Matthew. Evicted: Poverty and profit in the American city. London: Broadway Books, 2016. Print.

Wacquant, Loïc. “Logics of urban polarization: the view from below.” The Sociological Review 47.2 (1999): 107-119.

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