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A New ‘Urban Sociology’

  • Urban space is a set of commodified social relations

    • Urban space can be bought and sold for profit

    • Political interests shape the growth patterns of cities

      • Growth coalitions of investors, politicians, businesses, property owners, developers, urban planners, media, sports teams, cultural institutions, labor unions, and universities all try to get government subsidies and tax breaks to attract investment dollars

        • Present re-development of inner cities as a ‘public good’ and tend to silence critics or questions of who benefits and who loses

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            Often produces community organization in protest

        • May produce pockets of revitalization surrounded by extreme poverty

The Corporate City

  • The CC refers to cities of the late 20th century in which the city is ‘a vehicle for capital accumulation, a money making machine’ (Hannigan)

    • In suburbs, developers build millions of single family dwellings for the corporate middle class

        • Have backyards and two car garages

      • Has led to suburbanism as a way of life

        • What is suburbanism? (Life organized around the needs of children; high levels of conformity and sociability; the ‘shopping mall becomes a locus of activity)

    • Has led to increased focus on the metropolitan area and stratification in the distributions of people, businesses, and services

The Postmodern City

  • Since the 1970s, some have argued for the emergence of a new city form

    • More privatized than the corporate city

      • Access to public spaces is limited to those who can afford them

        • Gated communities, office buildings, shopping areas

    • More fragmented

      • Lacks a single way of life

      • A great variety of lifestyles and suburbs proliferate

    • More globalized

      • Centers of economic and financial decision-making, sites of innovation, command posts of the global economy


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