Stevens Professor Jonathan Wharton Releases Book on Urban Politics in Newark, NJ

Jonathan Wharton, a Stevens professor of History and Social Sciences in the College of Arts and Letters, recently published a book explaining how the city of Newark became the focal point for transformative politics in urban America.

His book, A Post-Racial Change is Gonna Come: Newark, Cory Booker, and the Transformation of Urban America, highlights the historical and political underpinnings of Newark's modern politics since 1950, culminating with Mayor Cory Booker's rise to power and prominence both in the city and in American political consciousness.

“I was living in Newark when Cory Booker was a city councilman, and I have been following his career for a while now,” Wharton said. “As a researcher, I wanted to examine how his leadership contributed to the political, social, and economic operations of the city.”

While the book centers on Booker’s mayoral administration and public policy approaches, Wharton also examined in how city hall connected with Newark's various communities both before Booker was mayor and throughout his term. Primarily, the book reveals how Booker and his administration tried to resolve community and economic development issues such as revitalizing Newark’s downtown areas and growing the local business community.

“There are few books on New Jersey urban politics let alone community development,” he said. “I wanted to find a way to make Newark a case study on how a New Jersey city rebuilds itself, but I also wanted to treat it as an ongoing saga of synthesizing urban history, urban politics, public policy and urban redevelopment.”

Wharton highlights the shared responsibility between engineers and policymakers – particularly in relation to urban development – in his classes at Stevens.

“In my Urban Studies, Metropolitan Development and Public Policy courses, I highlight how cities redevelop neighborhoods and how critical policies address community development,” he said. “While civil engineering and green engineering are important for urban redevelopment, other academic areas like public policy, urban history and urban politics are just as important to get significant projects and initiatives off the ground in cities like Newark.” 

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University®, is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, N.J. overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Founded in 1870, technological innovation has been the hallmark and legacy of Stevens’ education and research programs for more than 140 years. Within the university’s three schools and one college, more than 6,100 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate with more than 350 faculty members in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment to advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront global challenges. Stevens is home to three national research centers of excellence, as well as joint research programs focused on critical industries such as healthcare, energy, finance, defense and STEM education and coastal sustainability. The university is consistently ranked among the nation’s elite for return on investment for students, career services programs and mid-career salaries of alumni. Stevens is in the midst of a 10-year strategic plan, The Future. Ours to Create., designed to further extend the Stevens legacy to create a forward-looking and far-reaching institution with global impact.