Meeting 4, Feb 13

Report
City Plan: Concentric Circles, Grids,
Complex Patterns (and Rivers and
Mountains Too)
Social Analysis of Urban Everyday Life
Meeting 4 (February 13, 2014)
Nikita Kharlamov, AAU
Going up in the hierarchy…
• From looking at an individual person and their
perception and behavior to large-scale
environment and the factors that go into its
formation—particularly (today) in the form of
real estate
• What are the specific agents and forces that drive
the formation of built environment?
• Key term: urban development
• Key question: What drives humans to concentrate
in urban environments?
Chicago School model of urban growth
• Ernest W. Burgess (1925)
• Key growth factor:
Population pressure
(immigrants)
• Central agglomeration
(centralization) attractive central zones
• Decentralization
(commerce driving land
prices up and pushing the
fringes of the city
outwards)
Chicago (Oops…)
Henri Lefebvre: Production of Space
• Trouble with the Chicago School model: assumes a ‘miracle’ – human
communities miraculously transform urban space through just living there
• Lefebvre’s Hegelian Marxist axiomatic base: focus on political economy
and on the capitalist process in its dynamic transformation throughout
(modern) history
• Relevant for us: Because after the fall of socialism and the emergence of
post-socialist economies many processes of urban change are driven by
essentially capitalist forces of rent extraction
• Space as a product of human relations of production, consumption,
accumulation of capital  urban social centrality (remember Lefebvre’s
emphasis on centrality – we will encounter it again when we discuss
globalization and urban revolution!)
• ‘Three spaces’: physical space (built environment itself); representations
of space (conceptions that collective agents, such as developers and
bureaucrats hold); lived space (space of ordinary human life)
Political Economy of Place
• Urban place (e.g., a district) is understood as an outcome of
complex competition between multiple political-and-economic
actors—for resources such as land
• Basic idea of development: accumulation of capital in the form of
rent by transforming land so that real estate prices rise (e.g.,
construct high-rise apartment complexes in place of sparse depopulated ex-rural metropolitan fringes)
• Growth machine theory (Logan & Molotch, The city as a growth
machine, 1976): this machine “can increase aggregate rents and
trap related wealth for those in the right position to benefit”—
focus on collective and institutional social action that is guided by
concrete, discernible interests (motives).
• Classic case: the building of Chicago. William Ogden (1805-1877),
the first Mayor of Chicago: the railway magnate brought the city to
the fore as a place of urban centrality (in Lefebvre’s sense)
Themes in Sociology of Urban Growth
• Growth machine idea: formation of coalitions that involve developers
(investors, construction companies, real estate entrepreneurs), political
actors (local, municipal, city administrations), citizens (resident
associations, city councils), and that join forces in driving up real estate
prices through (re)development
• Regulation of urban space through laws, zoning regulations, construction
permits, building codes
• Gentrification: Movement of middle classes into low income areas (pulled
by low real estate/rent prices) that leads to general rise in prices and
eviction of low income populations
• Neoliberalism: a set of political economic ideas that emphasizes
deregulation, free market, and private property interests
• Troubles with growth machines: what if coalitions fail? What about
welfare, low income populations, social justice? What about cases when
governance is not done through legal means?
• How do we conceptualize such urban phenomena as slumming and
squatting?
• Case of postsocialist cities: what are the agents of urban growth? Who
makes decisions and what are the motives? Where are the citizens?
Common Division of Urban Forms
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
City (concentrated settlement area with industrial and service economies and a
distinct center)
Metropolis (center of cultural attraction, node in national and global economy and
culture)
Suburbia (primarily residential areas surrounding cities, commuter population)
Bedroom community («спальный район»): dense high-rise residential districts
that are formally within urban areas, but in practice have little by way of
commerce, industry, culture and recreation. Characteristic of socialist mass
housing projects.
Edge cities / postsuburbia: emergence of concentrated, urbanized zones with their
own centers outside large cities. Especially in the US: a form of transformed
suburbia which over time has accumulated enough employment and cultural
opportunities to create its own urbanism. Think of cases in the Moscow Region!
Multicentered metropolitan region: extends over a large region and contains many
separate centers, each with its own abilities to draw workers, shoppers, residents
Important distinction: agglomeration (spatial concentration of economic activities
in a traditional urbanized center {city}) vs. conurbation (coalescence of two or
more urban centers into one greater networked area). Moscow would typically be
described as an agglomeration while Los Angeles is a clear case of conurbation
Possible Themes for Photography
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Gentrification
Urban (re)development and its key agents
Real estate businesses and their means self-promotion
Images of ‘good urban form’
Citizen activism in relation to urban development
Traces of previous ‘layers’ of urban form
Varieties of actual urban form
Edge and satellite cities
Commuters and their mundane mobility
Transportation, public transit, and means of connecting
the city together

similar documents