The High Line, an innovative promenade created on a disused elevated railway in Manhattan, is one of the world’s most iconic new urban landmarks. Since the opening of its first section in 2009, this unique greenway has exceeded all expectations in terms of attracting visitors, investment, and property development to Manhattan’s West Side. Frequently celebrated as a monument to community-led activism, adaptive re-use of urban infrastructure, and innovative ecological design, the High Line is being used as a model for numerous urban redevelopment plans proliferating worldwide.
Deconstructing the High Line is the first book to analyze the High Line from multiple perspectives, critically assessing its aesthetic, economic, ecological, symbolic, and social impacts. Including several essays by planners and architects directly involved in the High Line’s design, this volume also brings together a diverse range of scholars from the fields of urban studies, geography, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies. Together, they offer insights into the project’s remarkable success, while also giving serious consideration to the critical charge that the High Line is “Disney World on the Hudson,” a project that has merely greened, sanitized, and gentrified an urban neighborhood while displacing longstanding residents and businesses.
Deconstructing the High Line is not just for New Yorkers, but for anyone interested in larger issues of public space, neoliberal redevelopment, creative design practice, and urban renewal.
For much of the twentieth century, industrialized nations addressed social problems, such as workers' compensation benefits and social welfare programs, in terms of spreading risk. But in recent years a new approach has emerged: using risk both as a way to conceive of and address social problems and as an incentive to reduce individual claims on collective resources.
Embracing Risk explores this new approach from a variety of perspectives. The first part of the book focuses on the interplay between risk and insurance in various historical and social contexts. The second part examines how risk is used to govern fields outside the realm of insurance, from extreme sports to policing, mental health institutions, and international law. Offering an original approach to risk, insurance, and responsibility, the provocative and wide-ranging essays in Embracing Risk demonstrate that risk has moved well beyond its origins in the insurance trade to become a central organizing principle of social and cultural life.
Shareholder litigation and class action suits play a key role in protecting investors and regulating big businesses. But Directors and Officers liability insurance shields corporations and their managers from the financial consequences of many illegal acts, as evidenced by the recent Enron scandal and many of last year’s corporate financial meltdowns. Ensuring Corporate Misconduct demonstrates for the first time how corporations use insurance to avoid responsibility for corporate misconduct, dangerously undermining the impact of securities laws.
As Tom Baker and Sean J. Griffith demonstrate, this need not be the case. Opening up the formerly closed world of corporate insurance, the authors interviewed people from every part of the industry in order to show the different instances where insurance companies could step in and play a constructive role in strengthening corporate governance—yet currently do not. Ensuring Corporate Misconduct concludes with a set of readily implementable reforms that could significantly rehabilitate the system.
American health care is in crisis because of exploding medical malpractice litigation. Insurance premiums for doctors and malpractice lawsuits are skyrocketing, rendering doctors both afraid and unable to afford to continue to practice medicine. Undeserving victims sue at the drop of a hat, egged on by greedy lawyers, and receive eye-popping awards that insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors themselves struggle to pay. The plaintiffs and lawyers always win; doctors, and the nonlitigious, always lose; and affordable health care is the real victim.
This, according to Tom Baker, is the myth of medical malpractice, and as a reality check he offers The Medical Malpractice Myth, a stunning dismantling of this familiar, but inaccurate, picture of the health care industry. Are there too many medical malpractice suits? No, according to Baker; there is actually a great deal more medical malpractice, with only a fraction of the cases ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Is too much litigation to blame for the malpractice insurance crisis? No, for that we can look to financial trends and competitive behavior in the insurance industry. Are these lawsuits frivolous? Very rarely. Point by point, Baker—a leading authority on insurance and law—pulls together the research that demolishes the myths that have taken hold about medical malpractice and suggests a series of legal reforms that would help doctors manage malpractice insurance while also improving patient safety and medical accountability.
President Bush has made medical malpractice reform a priority in his last term in office, but if history is any indication, legislative reform would only worsen the situation and perpetuate the gross misunderstanding of it. The debate surely will be transformed by The Medical Malpractice Myth, a book aimed squarely at general readers but with radical conclusions that speak to the highest level of domestic policymaking.