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The City: Prezi 1
Transcript of The City: Prezi 1
I. Understand the function of the city, both as a
commercial center and an industrial center.
II. Define the capitalist mode of production, and explain why capitalism necessitated the growth of the city.
III. Explain uneven development in the context of the capitalist city.
IV. Describe the impact of industrial urbanization on the lives of the urban poor.
"The first tenement New York knew bore the mark of Cain from its birth ... There had been tenant-houses before, but they were not built for the purpose. Nothing would probably have shocked their orignal owners more than the idea of their harboring a promiscuous crowd ... It was the stir and bustle of trade, together with the tremendous immigration that followed upon the war of 1812, that dislodged them. In thirty-five years the city of less than a hundred thousand came to harbor half a million souls, for whom homes had to be found."
- Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, 1890
"The death of a child in a tenement was registered at the Bureau of Vital Statistics as 'plainly due to suffocation in the foul air of an unventilated apartment'."
- Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, 1890
"Official reports, read in the churches in 1879, characterized [tenant dwellers] as victims of low social conditions of life and unhealthy, overcrowded lodgings, brought up in 'an atmosphere of actual darkness, moral and physical.' ... 'If we could see the air breathed by these poor creatures in their tenements,' said a well-known physican, 'it would show itself to be fouler than the mud of the gutters'."
- Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, 1890
United Nations World Population Data Sheet, 2007
"... I understand the urban question under capitalism as a double-edged sociopolitical problematic: it encompasses both the historical process of capitalist urbanization and the multiple, politically contested interpretations of that process within modern capitalist society. On the one hand, the urban question refers to the role of cities as sociospatial arenas in which the contradictions of capitalist development are continually produced and fought out. On the other hand, the urban question refers to the historically specific epistemic frameworks through which capitalist cities are interpreted, whether in sociological analysis, in public discourse, in sociopolitical struggles or in everyday life."
- Neil Brenner, 2002
, one of the greatest socio-economic changes during the last five decades or so, has caused the burgeoning of new kinds of slums, the growth of squatter settlements and informal housing all around the rapidly expanding cities of the developing world. Urban populations have increased explosively in the past 50 years, and will continue to do so for at least the next 30 years as the number of people born in cities increase and as people continue to be displaced from rural areas ..." - UN Habitat, 2003
: "The city ... is something more than a congeries of individual men and social conveniences - streets, buildings, electric lights, tramways, and telephones, etc; something more, also, than a mere constellation of institutions and administrative devices - courts, hospitals, schools, police, and civil functionaries of various sorts. The city is, rather, a state of mind, a body of customs and traditions ... The city is not, in other words, merely a physcial mechanism and an artificial construction. It is involved in the vital processes of the people who compose it; it is a product of nature, and particularly of human nature." - Park ,1925
: Consider the broader economic, social and political forces shaping cities and urban life (e.g., capitalism, globalization, etc.).
"The city has never been a harmonious place, free of confusions, conflicts, violence. Only read the history of the Paris Commune of 1871, see Scorsese's fictional depiction of The Gangs of New York in the 1850s, and think how far we have come. But then think of the violence that has divided Belfast, destroyed Beirut and Sarajevo, rocked Bombay, even touched the 'city of angels'. Calmness and civility in urban history are the exception not the rule ... Yet the city has also proven a remarkably resilient, enduring and innovative social form." - David Harvey, 2003
Means of Production
- the tools, equipment, factories, etc.;
the techniques used in the production process
Mode of Production
- the system of ownership over the means
of production and the resulting social relations
1. Ownership of the means of production are concentrated in the hands of one class (capitalist class, bourgeoisie).
II. Labor becomes a commodity to be bought & sold on the marketplace like other commodities.
III. The division of labor results in alienation, separating workers from both the means of production and other workers.
“These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity like every other article of commerce, and are consequentially exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.” Marx, The Communist Manifesto
IV. The emergence of a new set of social relations where capitalists need to tame & control their labor force. Industrial capitalism set the stage for conflict between those who own the means of production (capitalists) and those who sell their labor (workers) in growing urban centers.
the Archetypal Industrial City
What functions did the city serve for mercantile production? What was the role of the commercial city?
Fordist Production in Detroit
“Thousands of newcomers flooded into the city, coming from places as diverse as rural Appalachia, depressed farm countries in central Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, and the declining Black Belt regions of the Deep South. The rapid expansion of wartime production drastically reduced unemployment in the city. Between 1940 and 1943, the number of unemployed workers in Detroit fell from 135,000 to a mere 4,000.” Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis
Greater control over the labor force
Transportation hubs to ship raw
materials in & finished products out
Endless supply of workers
What is Fordism?
Industrial Capitalism and Uneven (Geographic) Development
What do we mean when we talk about
Outline the characteristics of the capitalist mode of production.
Explain why the transition to industrial capitalism necessitated the growth of cities.
Differentiate between the functions of mercantile and industrial cities.
Define the key features of a Fordist mode of production.
Consider the basic phenomenon of uneven development (to be discussed in future lectures).
Use Engels or Riis to understand the socio-spatial impact of urban industrialization.
- Factories and industrial production
- Reserve army of labor
- Assembly Line/Deskilling of Labor
- Alienation of workers
“The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made the barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations and peasants on nations of bourgeoisie, the East on the West.
The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralized means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands.
” Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Means of Production
Mode of Production
cities could examine why industries located in particular places, but not in others, for example.
cities could look at why some industries or functions are concentrated in particular cities, but not in others, for example.
Creation of Surplus Value
Community & Social Relations:
What do sociologists mean when we talk about
Theorist: Ferdinand Tonnies
Book: Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887)
[community] is a form of community focused on intimacy in social relationships, typically based on shared membership in families, neighborhoods or friendship.
[society], on the other hand, is characterized by contractual, large-scale, impersonal social relations emerging in industrial society, organized largely around bureaucratic institutions or workplace rules, rather than kinship and community.
Theorist: Emile Durkehim
occurs in small-scale villages and societies, where individual differences are minimized, people share common bonds and habits, and social unity occurs automatically or naturally.
on the other hand, occurs as a result of the division of labor in urban, industrial society. Individual differences are emphasized, but individuals are more interdependent, creating solidarity based on the shared dependence needed to function as a society.
In your opinion, and based on what you read, do you think
urban life made it more difficult to form the social bonds of communities
Why or why not?
Urban Unrest and Social Disorder
How did urbanization, and the rise
of the industrial city, contribute to
patterns of social disorder or
urban unrest in American cities?
"The thousands recently arrived, the thousands more moving about, concentrated narrowly on their own security. Men struggling to learn new skills or to preserve old ones in a rapidly changing economy could not afford to think about citywide issues. Without stability at home or on the job, the civic spirit had no place to take root." Robert H. Wiebe, "The Search for Order, 1877-1920"
Riots in Bushwick, 1977
"Americans began to awake to a fundamental transformation that was going on around them: a society that had been overwhelmingly rural since its foundation in the seventeenth century was entering a period of explosive urban growth. For many - churchmen, moralists, members of old elites, and even well-to-do and upwards aspiring city dwellers - this development was profoundly disturbing. Would religion and morality find nurture in the cities? Indeed, would the social order itself be able to survive this transformation?" Boyer, Urban Masses and the Moral Order in America, 1820-1920
"It is unfortunate indeed that for several decades our great American Republic has shown a constant drift toward tenantry ... Confronted with these facts there is little wonder that the tide of social unrest is constantly increasing, thereby creating a serious menace to our republican form of government." Leaders of the "Own Your Own Home" campaign, ~1923
Georg Simmel (1858-1918)
Consider the challenges of forming social communities in the industrial city.
Identify the key claims made by Simmel about the impact of city life on the psychology of the modern citizens.
Consider our own adaptive responses to the stimuli of urban life.
Adaptive Responses to Urban Life:
What are some responses to the over-stimulation (or overload) in urban life?
I. Does frequent contact with strangers lead us
to restrict what we consider to be our moral
and social responsibilities? Are we less likely to
become involved in others' crises, but also less
likely to assist them in the day-to-day acts of
trust and helpfulness?
“The ultimate adaptation to an overloaded social environment is to totally disregard the needs, interests, and demands of those whom one does not define as relevant to the satisfaction of personal needs, and to develop highly efficient perceptual means of determining whether an individual falls into the category of friend or stranger.” Stanley Milgram, The Experience of Living in Cities
II. What about in the realm of basic civilities?
On account of their overstimulation, are urban citizens less likely to hold the door, give up their seat on the train, or apologize when they bump into someone? And if so, does this constitute a new forms of social relations?
"People bump into each other and often do not apologize. They knock over another person’s packages and, as often as not, proceed on their way with a grumpy exclamation instead of an offer of assistance ... (T)he cities develop new norms of noninvolvement. These are so well defined and so deeply a part of city life that they constitute the norms people are reluctant to violate. Men are actually embarrassed to give up a seat on the subway to an old woman; they mumble ‘I was getting off anyway,’ instead of making the gesture in a straightforward and gracious way. These norms develop because everyone realizes that, in situations of high population density, people cannot implicate themselves in each others’ affairs, for to do so would create conditions of continual distraction which would frustrate purposeful action.” Stanley Milgram, The Experience of Living in Cities
III. In small towns, people often mix their friendly relationships with their purposeful ones (e.g., the butcher is also a friend; niceties are exchanged with the mail clerk). Does urban life result new forms of role adaptation in which individuals deal with one another in highly segmented, largely functional terms?
IV. What are the consequences - both positive and negative - of the heightened anonymity of urban life? Are there particular spaces in
the city that invite anonymity?
“The street is a public arena, and city-dwellers have always been immediately distinguishable from visiting bumpkins by the psychic armor they wear when they go out … The subway is a different matter, though. It is a neutral zone in which people are free to consider themselves invisible; time spent commuting is a hiatus from social interaction. Since the protocols of subway-riding advise turning your gaze inward, you can take off the face you wear for the benefit of others, let your posture go slack, allow your age and self-doubt and fatigue to resume the positions they occupy in the privacy of your own home.” Luc Sante, writing about the subway photographs of Walker Evans in the introduction to Many Are Called
Define the Chicago School of Urban Sociology, including key principles of Chicago School theorists.
Explain the definitions of urbanism, according to Louis Wirth
Offer critiques of the Chicago School model of cities and urban life.
The Chicago School - Key Concepts
I. Chicago Sociologists used the neighborhoods of Chicago as their
“For it is not only in situations of dramatic need but in the ordinary, everyday willingness to lend a hand that the city dweller is said to be deficient relative to his small-town cousin.” Stanley Milgram, The Experience of Living in Cities
“Conditions of full acquaintance, for example, offer security and familiarity, but they may also be stifling because the individual is caught in a web of established relationships. Conditions of complete anonymity, by contrast provide freedom from routinized social ties, but they may also create feelings of alienation and detachment.” Stanley Milgram, The Experience of Living in Cities
What is the main questi0n posed by Simmel
in "The Metropolis and Mental Life"?
Blase - apathetic to pleasure or excitement as a result of excessive enjoyment or indulgence; uninterested, unconcerned or nonchalant.
Rational, "intellectualistic" reactions to stimuli of the urban environment
“Thus, the metropolitan type – which naturally takes on a thousand individual modifications – creates a protective organ for itself against the profound disruptions with which the fluctuations and discontinuities of the external milieu threaten it. Instead of reacting emotionally, the metropolitan type reacts primarily in a rational manner, thus creating a mental predominance through the intensification of consciousness, which in turn is caused by it.”
“There is perhaps no psychic phenomenon which is so unconditionally reserved to the city as the blasé outlook. It is at first the consequence of those rapidly shifting stimulations of the nerves which are thrown together in all their contrasts and from which ... the intensification of metropolitan intellectuality seems to be derived.”
The city increases the frequency of the stimuli that we face
in our day-to-day lives.
How does the capitalist mode of production (or capitalism)
figure into Simmel's account of urban life?
“Punctuality, calculability, and exactness, which are required by the complications and extensiveness of metropolitan life are not only most intimately connected with its capitalistic and intellectualistic character, but also color the content of life and are conducive to the exclusion of those irrational, instinctive, sovereign human traits and impulses which originally seek to determine the form of life from within instead of receiving it from the outside in a general, schematically precise form.”
I. The Loop!
II. The Zone in Transition
III. The Zone of
IV. Residential Zone
"It hardly needs to be added that neither Chicago nor any other city fits perfectly into this ideal scheme. Complications are introduced by the lake front, the Chicago River, railroad lines, historical factors in the location of industry, the relative degree of the resistance of communities to invasion, etc." Burgess, The Growth of the City
"Within the zone of deterioration ...(is) always to be found the "slums"
and "bad lands," with their submerged regions of poverty, degradation,
and disease, and their underworlds of crime and vice ... The slums are
also crowded ... with immigrant colonies - the Ghetto, Little Sicily,
Greek town, Chinatown - fascinatingly combining old world heritages
and American adaptations. Wedging out from here is the Black Belt
with its free and disorderly life. The area of deterioration, while
essentially one of decay, of stationary or declining population, is also
one of regeneration, as witness the mission, the settlement, the artists'
colony, radical centers - all obsessed with the vision of a new and better
world." Burgess, The Growth of the City
"The next zone is also inhabited predominantly by factory and shop workers, but skilled and thrifty. This is an area of second immigrant settlement, generally of the second generation. It is the region of escape from the slum ... This differentiation into natural economic and cultural groupings gives form and character to the city. For segregation offers the group, and thereby the individuals who compose the group, a place and a role in the total organization of city life ... These areas tend to accentuate certain traits, to attracts and develop their kind of individuals, and so to become further differentiated." Burgess, The Growth of the City
Ethnographies of the Chicago School
“This is not to say that the urban inhabitants have fewer acquaintances than rural inhabitants, for the reverse may actually be true; it means rather that in relation to the number of people whom they see and with whom they rub elbows in the course of daily life, they know a smaller proportion, and of these they have less intense knowledge.”
"Characteristically, urbanites meet one another in highly segmental roles. They are, to be sure, dependent upon more people for the satisfaction of their life-needs than are rural people and thus are associated with a greater number of organized groups, but they are less dependent upon particular persons, and their dependence upon others is confined to a highly fractionalized aspect of the other's round of activity."
"The social interaction among such a variety of personality types in the urban milieu tends to bread down the rigidity of caste lines and to complicate the class structure, and thus induces a more ramified and differentiated framework of social stratification than is found in more integrated societies."
: How many people do you think
you interact with daily in the city?
(Define interact loosely.)
"As Darwin pointed out for flora and fauna ...an increase in numbers when area is held constant (that is, an increase in density) tends to produce differentiation and specialization ..."
“The close living together and working together of individuals who have no sentimental and emotional ties foster a spirit of competition, aggrandizement, and mutual exploitation. To counteract irresponsibility and potential disorder, formal controls tend to be resorted to.”
“Whereas, therefore, the individual gains, on the one hand, a certain degree of emancipation or freedom from the personal and emotional controls of intimate groups, he loses, on the other hand, the spontaneous self-expression, the morale, and the sense of participation that comes with living in an integrated society."
What types of formal controls
might be a reaction to the density
or urban environments?
What are critiques that have been offered of the Chicago School?
Deconcentrating the City - Learning Goals
Start thinking about utopian schemes as a reaction against conditions social conditions in the modern city.
Evaluate whether physical planning can be the solution to the social ills of urban life, and whether efforts to reform the city could be tools for changing societies.
Identify the key principles of the Garden City movement (Ebenezer Howard), Broadacre City (Frank Lloyd Wright) and the City Beautiful Movement (Daniel Burnham).
Imagining Utopian Cities
"Imagine spacious landscaped highways …giant roads, themselves great architecture, pass public service stations, no longer eyesores, expanded to include all kinds of service and comfort. They unite and separate — separate and unite the series of diversified units, the farm units, the factory units, the roadside markets, the garden schools, the dwelling places (each on its acre of individually adorned and cultivated ground), the places for pleasure and leisure. All of these units so arranged and so integrated that each citizen of the future will have all forms of production, distribution, self improvement, enjoyment, within a radius of a hundred and fifty miles of his home now easily and speedily available by means of his car or plane. This integral whole composes the great city that I see embracing all of this country—the Broadacre City of tomorrow." Frank Lloyd Wright, 1932
and the Creation of the Garden City
Frank Lloyd Wright
and the Plan for Broadacre City
Other Planning Visions:
The City Beautiful Movement
"The object (of the Garden City) ... is to find for our industrial population work at wages of higher purchasing power, and to secure healthier surroundings and more regular employment. To enterprising manufacturers, co-operatives societies ... it is intended to offer a means of securing new and better employment for their capital and talents, while to the agriculturists ... it is designed to open a new market for their produce close to their doors. Its object is, in short, to raise the standard of health and comfort of all true workers of whatever grade - the means by which these objects are to be achieved being a health, natural and economic combination of town and country life, and this on land owned by the municipality." Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1902)
Urban Growth Boundary: PDX
"These crowded cities have done their work; they were the best which a society largely based on selfishness and rapacity could construct, but they are in the nature of things entirely unadapted for a society in which the social side of our nature is demanding a larger share of recognition - a society where even the very love of self leads us to insist upon a greater regard for the well-being of our fellows. The large cities of today are scarcely better adapted for the expression of the fraternal spirit than would a work on astronomy which taught that the earth was the centre of our universe be capable of adaptation for use in our schools." Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1902)
"Can better results be obtained by starting on a bold plan on comparatively virgin soil than by attempting to adapt our old cities to our newer and higher needs? Thus fairly faced, the question can only be answered in one way; and when that simple fact is well grasped, the social revolution will speedily commence." Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1902)
Key Principles of Broadacre City
“Wright believed that the psychology of urban life was as dangerous to the nation’s mental health as urban economics was to its physical wellbeing.” Fishman, in Urban Utopias (1982)
"The cities will be part of the county; I shall live 30 miles from my office in one direction, under a pine tree; my secretary will live 30 miles away from it, too, in the other direction, under another pine tree. We shall both have our own car." Frank Lloyd Wright
" ... that distinctively American transcendentalism that derives from writers like Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman." Peter Hall, Cities of Tomorrow
"When every man, woman and child may be born to put his own feet on his own acres, then democracy will have been realized," according to Wright.
According to Wright, the city "made man a piece of cheap, speculative property."
A vision for Chicago's City Center (unrealized)
Utopian Visions Today?
I. Can you think of utopian schemes for cities today?
II. Are there distinct social or political philosophies that underlie these visions for an alternative urban order?
“ … a visionary planner of planetary ambitions.”
- James C. Scott
Public Housing Developments
Haussmann's Plan for Paris
What is the ideal city for the twentieth (or twenty-first) century?
The Tower in the Park
Learning Goals: Concentrating the City
Understand the key points of LeCorbusier's Radiant City, and compare / contrast the goals of other utopian planners.
Consider whether the physical plans of cities - the layout of the grid, the configuration of spaces - matters for social life within them.
Identify the main critiques of utopian planners offered by Jane Jacobs (and others) of the rational city plans put forward by modernist planners.
Consider the ways that Le Corbusier's models were partly realized in cities around the world.
The Path Donkey “meanders along, meditates a little in his scatter-brained and distracted fashion, he zigzags in order to avoid the larger stones, or to ease the climb, or to gain a little shade; he takes the line of least resistance.”
Le Corbusier's City:
- The Skyscraper = 1,200 to the acre
- Residential Blocks = 120 to the acre
- Paris = 146 to the acre
- London = 63 to the acre
- In their most overcrowded corridors,
only 213 or 169 to the acre, respectively
- One family per acre
"But a modern city lives by the straight line, inevitably; for the construction of buildings, sewers and tunnels, highways, pavements. The circulation of traffic demands the straight line; it is the proper thing for the heart of the city. The curve is ruinous, difficult and dangerous; it is a paralyzing thing." Le Corbusier
"Paris is a dangerous magma of human beings gathered from every quarter by conquest, growth and immigration; she is the eternal gipsy encampment from all the world's great roads; Paris is the seat of power and the home of a spirit which could enlighten the world; she digs and hacks through her undergrowth, and out of these evils she is tending towards an ordered system of straight lines and right angles; this reorganization is necessary to her vitality, health and permanence; this clearing process is indispensible to the expression of her spirit." Le Corbusier
"We struggle against change, against disorder, against a policy of drift and against the idleness which brings death; we strive for order, which can be achieved only by appealing to what is the fundamental basis on which our minds can work: geometry." Le Corbusier
According to one observer, to understand
Le Corbusier is to understand that,
"The park is not in the city; the city is in the park.”
Radiant Garden City Beautiful
Offers a critique of what she calls the ...
“Le Corbusier’s dream city has had an immense impact on our cities. It was hailed deliriously by architects, and has gradually been embodied in scores of projects, ranging from low-income public housing to office building projects ... He attempted to make planning for the automobile an integral part of his scheme, and this was, in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, a new, exciting idea. He included great arterial roads for express one-way traffic. He proposed underground streets for heavy vehicles and deliveries, and of course like the Garden City planners he kept pedestrians off the streets and in the parks. His city was like a wonderful mechanical toy.” Jacobs
“ … he simply wrote off the intricate, many-faceted, cultural life of the metropolis. He was uninterested in such problems as the way great cities police themselves, or exchange ideas, or operate politically, or invent new economic arrangements, and he was oblivious to devising ways to strengthen these functions because, after all, he was not designing for this kind of life in any case.”
“None of (Le Corbusier’s) plans make any reference to the urban history, traditions, or aesthetic tastes of the place in which it is to be located. The cities depicted, however striking, betray no context; in their neutrality, they could be anywhere at all.” James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State
1. Cities are defined by the competition to shape particular places. Place entrepreneurs struggle to influence the characteristics of places to make them more attractive to
and generate differential
: What do we mean by
: What do we mean by
(or the mobility of capital)?
(During our next class, we will talk about fixed capital.)
4. Place entrepreneurs often find the conditions for differential rents through serendipity, active entrepreneurship or continuous efforts to create differential rents. They refer to actions take taken by serendipitious entreprenuers, active entrepreneurs, and structural speculators. Define each one.
Efforts to house students on campus?
Creation of historic districts?
Attract urban amenities?
Attract private business?
According to Logan and Molotch, this strategy is "to
differential rents by influencing the larger arena of decision making that will determine locational advantages. They may attempt, for example, to influence the location of a defense plant, to alter a freeway route, or to encourage government subsidizing of a private business that is likely to move to their property. They lobby for or against specific zoning ..."
2. Competition often pits the
of a place against the
of a place. These values are frequently at odds with one another, in part because those who benefit from increasing the exchange value may not be those who benefit from increasing the use value.
Question: What is the
? How do we measure the exchange value of a place?
Question: What is the
? How do we measure the use value of a place?
301 R Street., NW
2 BR, 1,536 sq. ft.
1830 Jefferson Place, NW
3 BR, 1,836 sq. ft.
1020 4th St, SE
3 BR, 1,800 sq. ft.
2534 Sheridan Rd., SE
3 BR, 1,452 sq. ft.
3. Although property is bought and sold like other commodities, its value is socially determined and its supply is fixed, thereby making it different from traditional commodities in neo-classical economics.
One locational strategy could be to shift the boundary of a neighborhood.
5. Logan and Molotch famously referred to the city as a "Growth Machine." What do they mean by that?
1. Name some groups involved in the growth machine.
2. How are members of a growth machine different from other capitalists seeking to turn a profit?
3. Why do we tend to view "growth" viewed so positively?
6. Competition to attract mobile capital occurs not only within cities (i.e., between neighborhoods) but between cities.
Are there groups that aim to improve the use value of places, rather than the exchange value?
The result of this process is
. Some places become more valuable and/or desirable, while others become less valuable and/or desirable.
“Exchange values from places appear as “rent.” We use the term broadly to include outright purchase expenditures as well as payments that home buyers or tenants make to landlords, realtors, mortgage lenders real estate lawyers, title companies and so forth.” - Logan and Molotch
Broadly, we can think of rents as the price that people pay for property in the city. It could be the cost of buying a home, or the monthly payments a renter makes to her landlord.
“Property prices do go down as well as up … less because what entrepreneurs do with their own holdings than because of their
changing relations among properties
. This dynamic accounts for much of the energy of the urban system as place entrepreneurs
strive to increase their rent
revamping the spatial organization of the city
The Urban Process Under Capitalism
Review the City as a Growth Machine and the social determinants of property values.
Consider an example of the search for mobile capital in Oakland.
Identify the primary, secondary and tertiary circuits of capital, according to Harvey, and the way that capitalism creates a built environment by investing in fixed capital.
Understand the process of creative destruction in the urban context.
: What are the key characteristics
of the growth machine?
: How is the value of property in
cities socially determined?
Three Circuits of Capital
I. The Primary Circuit
II. The Secondary Circuit
III. The Tertiary Circuit
"Through the MOAP, the city would campaign relentlessly for the attention of American capital." (26) They put advertisements in trade journals, real estate magazines, newspapers and magazines.
According to the Dictionary of Human Geography, “… the built environment is subject to creative destruction according to the rhythms of the capitalist economy. Major building booms are followed by periods of dramatic or incipient destruction ... The economic obsolescence of even relatively new buildings, the destruction of neighborhoods for highways, and the emergence of ghettos are … instances of creative destructions.”
We can think of creative destruction as the process whereby the need for something new leads to the destruction of something that is no longer valuable.
In discussing post-War Oakland, and the search for mobile capital, Self (2005) writes, "In promoting 'metropolitan Oakland,' business interests sought to resolve the instability of capital. Boosters and developers know by calculation what often eludes the person on the street:
capital moves through and shapes local places in concrete ways.
Residential capital makes homes and neighborhoods. Industrial capital makes factories, goods, and jobs. Both generate public capital in the form of property taxes, which in turn make schools, roads, fire departments, and so on.
These flows on capital on which cities rise and fall are governed by an elaborate system of rules
: the taxes, zoning codes, transportation and labor costs, land prices, and rents on which investors and the owners of capital figure returns. The geography of these relationships was not abstract to Oakland's economic elite.
The concrete spaces that capital could produce - West Oakland's booming wartime shipyards, for instance, or East Oakland's mini Detroit, a flourishing set of neighborhoods between Seminary Avenue and the San Leandro boundary where General Motors and Fisher Body plants employed thousands of workers - translated economic abstractions into a physical and social landscape.
Such a translation, on a broader scale, was the object of the MOAP."
We talked about investments within cities that create differential rents - the decision to locate Whole Foods in one neighborhood, rather than another; the preservation of historic neighborhoods; transportation infrastructure, etc.
However, cities also compete against one another to attract mobile capital. What are some examples of city boosterism to attract capital?
The Urban Process Under Capitalism
Why is Harvey concerned with an urban
Why does he argue that we must consider this process
Capitalist Mode of Production
Profit by Capitalists through
the creation of Surplus Value
Absolute vs. Relative Surplus Value
Overaccumulation of Capital (or
Accumulation for Accumulation's Sake)
(Harvey: "too much capital is produced in
aggregate relative to the opportunities
to employ that capital [in the primary
Crises occur when capital is not being
invested productively (i.e., not being used
to make a profit, increase capital)
Raises the possibility of switching
capital investments to the secondary
or tertiary circuits
Features of the Secondary Circuit
- Fixed capital used as an aid to the production process
- Investments in the built environment (e.g., ports, factories, roads)
- Used over long periods of time
- Immobile in space (i.e., can't be moved, unlike more mobile capital (e.g., money))
- Value is incorporated within it; can't be moved without destroying value
- As the landscape of production changes, these investments often become less productive
Harvey notes that, “fixed capital in the built environment is immobile in space in the sense that the value incorporated in it cannot be moved without being destroyed. Investment in the built environment therefore entails the creation of a whole physical landscape for purposes of production, circulation, exchange and consumption.”
Features of the Third Circuit of Capital
- Investments in science & technology meant to revolutionize the means of production, increase the profit rate.
- Investments in means of cooptation, cooperation, ideological means (e.g., education, housing) to ensure that workers can reproduce themselves.
- Often coordinated by the state/government, with the interests of capital in mind.
: What is creative destruction?
Question: What is the role of the state (or government)
in transfering capital into the secondary or tertiary circuits,
or participating in the process of creative destruction?
: Recognize cities as spaces that are both socially and politically contested.
: Approach the city as a simultaneously social and spatial ("socio-spatial") process.
: Approach the study of cities from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Why did the transition to industrial capitalism necessitate the growth of cities? If cities grew as a response to capitalism, or capitalism required urban growth, what was it about cities that was so important?
Division of Labor
reflects the tendency for growth and development to be concentrated in some places, rather than others. The dynamic process of uneven development creates an imbalance, both between and within cities, and shifts as capitalism moves.
- Labor unrest, class conflict
- Unstable communities,
- Encounter with difference,
rise of immigration
- Diffusion of ideas
The Condition of the Working
Class in England
Why the blase attitude? It is central for self-preservation in the city.
“If the unceasing external contact of numbers of persons in the city should be met by the same number of inner reactions as in the small town, in which one knows almost every person he meets and to each of whom he has a positive relationship, one would be completely atomized internally and would fall into an unthinkable mental condition.”
"The Experience of Living in Cities"
“... a system’s inability to process inputs from the environment because there are too many inputs for the system to cope with, or because successive inputs come so fast that input A cannot be processed when input B is presented. When overload is present, adaptations occur.”
Anonymity and the Subway
Portraits of Walker Evans
Identify the main themes of Simmel's essay, The Metropolis and Mental Life, and explain how Simmel's observations emerged directly in response to the rise of the industrial city.
Critically explore our own adaptive responses to urban life, asking whether our responses have changed in the twenty-first century cities.
Consider the challenges of forming communities in modern cities.
Think about the consequences of increased anonymity in modern cities.
II. A model of
that borrowed from natural sciences (e.g., invasion, metabolism, symbiotic).
III. Concern with the
of growth and displacement, concentration and decentralization.
IV. Their framework examined
struggle between social groups
for positions within the city.
V. Social phenomenon (e.g., mental illness, homeownership) have distinctive
VI. Primarily concerned with
forces shaping urban life, rather than exogenous ones.
Urbanism as a Way of Life
How do we define an "urban" place in the United States?
According to the United States Census Bureau, an area is considered "urban" if the census blocks have a population density of 1,000 people per square mile or more (density) and the surrounding blocks have a density of 500 people per square mile or more. An "urbanized area" is a densely settled place containing more than 50,000 people (size).
Critique: Herbert Gans, Urbanism
and Suburbanism as a Way of Life.
The L.A. School
1. The L.A. School is often considered a school of "post-modern" urbanism. There is no cohesive research center, but rather, a group of scholars - based largely at the University of Southern California - concerned with a new form of urbanism.
II. Major critique: The Chicago model of a city growing concentrically from its central core is not applicable to contemporary cities.
III. Focus: Comparative urbanism
IV. Is LA the new paradigm? Can we generalize from the experience of Los Angeles? Is it the twenty-first century city, as Chicago was considered to be the twentieth-century city?
I. The Chicago School laid the foundation for contemporary urban sociology, outlining particular patterns of generalizable, urban growth. It is both social and spatial in its conception of urban growth.
II. Chicago theorist drew largely from the metaphors of "human ecology" to build a model for thinking about city developments.
III. As a paradigm, or a way of knowing, the city, the Chicago School has distinct advantages and disadvantages. It has been challenged conceptually by other paradigms for understanding contemporary cities, including the LA School
1. Wirth is studying a particular urban form - namely, the inner city under industrial capitalism.
II. The transition from primary to secondary relationships could better be described as a transition from primary to quasi-primary relationships. (More intimate than secondary; more guarded than primary - for example, neighbors)
III. The empirical foundations of Wirth's claims are suspect; in other words, they're theoretically provocative, but backed by limited empirical evidence.
IV. Other factors (e.g., cultural patterns, family structures, etc.) could shield individuals from these consequences of urban life; in other words, urbanism is not an all-encompassing, overwhelming force; we maintain social or cultural ties that protect us from these overwhelming forces of urbanism.
Key Principles of the Garden City:
I. Provide the best of both
the countryside and the city.
II. Version of moderate decentralizatopm
(at least relative to Wright's later vision
of Broadacre City).
III. Cooperative Socialism;
collective ownership of land.
IV. Boundary for urban
growth, limited population size.
V. Series of Garden Cities, connected by railroad lines; allowed for the growing importance of the automobile without dominating Garden Cities.
VI. Open land, both at the
center and the periphery.
VI. Alternative to industrial
cities; not suburbs
I. Focus on the advent of new technologies (e.g., the telephone, the automobile) that would make proximity irrelevant.
II. Massive deconcentration of the city,
blending of the country and the city.
III. Decentralize power and the means of production
IV. Provide each family with at least one acre
of land, homesteading, land ownership.
V. Promote individuality, democracy and freedom.
VI. As for other utopian schemes, Broadacre City was the physical embodiment of a radically different society.
Principle of the City Beautiful Movement
- Wide, tree-lined streets and low architecture to declutter the chaotic city streets.
- Beautification of cities, construction of monumental buildings; architecture used as symbol of power.
- Engage citizens in the city itself, reforming the way they viewed their environments.
- Use architecture and planning to create moral reform, promote civic virtues.
- Aesthetic harmony and visual order were necessary for the creation of social order.
1. Consider the value of the utopian thinking in planning and urban studies.
II. While largely unbuilt, think about how the principles of utopian planners have guided urban development.
III. Recognize the vision of planning as socially transformative.
IV. Consider ways that the deconcentration of cities solved the urban problems of the early twentieth century, and whether this deconcentration, in turn, created new problems.
: With your classmates in your row, come up with the most important components of LeCorbusier's Vision for the City
II. Emphasized the science of town planning;
believed in expertise.
III. Rationality, Efficiency, Geometry and Order
IV. Decongest the Center
V. Increase the Density
VI. Facilitate and Rationalize Movement
VII. Increase Open Space
VIII. Separate Land-Use Functions
Offers a critique of what she calls the ...
So far, our discussion raises three
important questions to consider in
the context of Le Corbusier's plans
for the Radiant City.
I. What was the ideal shape for the
20th century city?
II. Could these cities be achieved the
through a process of gradualism?
III. What was the value of these
unrealized (or partially-realized) visions?
"The cramped and noisy business center made efficiency impossible’ antiquated building codes forbade modern methods of construction; housing was inadequate for all classes; worst of all, the automobile threatened to choke completely the city’s arteries and thus to destroy its economy and obliterate its beauty.” Fishman
I. Contempt for Paris
(and other meandering
Comparing Utopian Planners:
Similarities and Differences?
: What do you like
and dislike about LeCorbusier's
vision for the Radiant City?
“Le Corbusier was planning not only a physical environment. He was planning for a social utopia, too. Le Corbusier’s Utopia was a condition of what he called maximum individual liberty, by which he seems to have meant not liberty to do anything much, but liberty from ordinary responsibility. In his Radiant City, nobody, presumably, was going to have to be his brother’s keeper any more. Nobody was going to have to struggle with plans of his own. Nobody was going to be tied down.” Jacobs
Unrealized, but Influential
Planned away the joys of unplanned encounter
Inorganic, Paternalistic, Authoritative
Ahistorical, Irreverent toward History, Tradition
: As a social enterprise, how concerned should urban planners be with shaping (or reshaping) social interaction in the modern city? How much do you think the physical spaces of cities (e.g., design, layout, etc.) shape the social lives of their inhabitants?
- Contrast LeCorbusier's plan to concentrate the city with those put forward by Wright and Howard.
- Consider the role of authority and expertise in planning cities.
- Think about the importance (or not) of unplanned encounters to urban life.
- Ask how physical planning shapes social environments.
Lecture Goals: The City of Exchange and Renewal
Identify what Logan and Molotch mean when they talk about the political economy of place, and the ways that urban places, as commodities, are different than other commodities.
Distinguish between the use value and the exchange value, and the way these create conflict in cities.
Define the city as a growth machine.
Consider how place-based investment contribute to uneven development, and how the competition for these developments shape urban growth.
: Define 'political economy'. What do scholars mean when they talk about the political economy of place?
Six claims about the uniqueness of
'place' as a commodity.
(Use + Exchange)
1. Have you heard of Midtown, DC?
2. How often do realtors list property
in Burleith as being in Georgetown?
3. What's Penn Quarter (hint: It's Chinatown)
4. Where's West End?
Bring together two classic questions: who governs +
to what end?
What are the consequences of place stratification? Why does it matter - for urban life, for social justice, for economic competition, etc.
1. Consider place as a commodity and how markets for place differ.
II. Differentiate between use value and exchange value, including how struggles in the city often pit these against one another.
III. Think about the actions taken by structural spectators in their pursuit of rents.
IV. Define the city as a growth machine.
: According to neoclassical economics, how do markets work? More specifically, what is the response to increased demand for a commodity? (If more people want to buy pink cars, for example, how does the 'market' respond?)
What are some other examples of cities (or places) competing with one another to attract mobile capital?
1. Consider how capital investments shape the build environment of cities.
II. Define and illustrate (with examples) the process of creative destruction in urban environments.
III. Using Oakland (or other cities) to illustrate the growth machine and the process of urban boosterism.
According to, Harvey “Capital represents itself in the form of a physical landscape created for its own image, created … to enhance the progressive accumulation of capital.”
- Surplus value
- Class struggle
- Built environment for production
- Fixed capital
• Urbanization vs. Urbanism
• The capitalist mode of production
• Fordist production
• Uneven development
• Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft
• Use value vs. exchange value
• The growth machine
• The blasé attitude
• Adaptive responses to urban life
• Human ecology model
• Capital mobility
• Economic restructuring
• Surplus value
• Block busting
• Urban renewal
• Index of dissimilarity
• The second circuit of capital
• Structural speculators
• For David Harvey, why is it critical to think of the urban process under capitalism?
• Compare the design of the Garden City to the design of the Radiant City. Describe similarities and differences.
• Explain the three criteria Wirth thinks are important to a sociological definition of the city.
• Outline the spatial implications of economic restructuring in Detroit.
• Using an example, describe how urban conflict could be structured around competition between increasing use value and increasing exchange value.
• What is the central argument Denton and Massey make about the causes of racial segregation? Offer one critique of this argument.
• Explain the difference between urbanism and urbanization. Illustrate the difference using at least two authors from the course - one focused on urbanism and the other focused on urbanization.
• Explain three features of the human ecology model popularized by the Chicago School. Do you think this model is still relevant for understanding cities? Why or why not?
2. Chicago: Urbanism as a Way of Life?
Social Life and the Modern City
3. Brasilia: Imagining the Utopian City
4. London: The City of Exchange
6. Washington, DC: Segregation
and the Modern Metropolis
7. Los Angeles: The City Beyond Black and White
8. Houston: The City Explodes
9. New York City:
The City Rediscovered
10. Berlin: Publics
and Public Spaces
11. Abu Dhabi: Financialization,
Inequality and Globalization
11. Shanghai: Financialization,
Inequality and Globalization
12. Mumbai: Megacities and Slums in the Global South
The City: Approaches to Urban Studies
1.Manchester: Industrialization and the Rise of the Capitalist City
5. Detroit: An American City in Decline
Introducing the Urban Question
What are the key features of
capitalism, or the capitalist
mode of production?
"The psychological foundation, upon which the metropolitan individuality is erected, is the intensification of emotional life due to the swift and continuous shift of external and internal stimuli."
For sociological purposes,
what defines a city (for Wirth)?
: Do you think the Chicago
School model remains a valid model
for explaining cities in the twenty-first
century? Why or why not?
From your readings, what are the key principles of the Chicago School of Urban Sociology?
Park & Burgess: The Founders of the Chicago School
Chicago School theorist and author of "Urbanism as a Way of Life."
"Urbanization no longer denotes merely the process by which persons are attracted to a place called the city and incorporated into its system of life. It refers also to that cumulative accentuation of the characteristics distinctive of the mode of life which is associated with the growth of cities, and finally to the changes in the direction of modes of life recognized as urban which are apparent among people, wherever they may be, who have come under the spell of the influences which the city exerts by virtue of the power of its institutions and personalities operating through the means of communication and transportation." - Wirth
"The central problem of the sociologist of the city is to discover the forms of social action and organization that typically emerge in relatively permanent, compact settlements of large numbers of heterogeneous individuals." Wirth
Contacts become secondary, rather than primary;
impersonal, rather than intimate.
Interaction continues to be face-to-face, but is now
"impersonal, superficial, transitory and segmental."
In New York, "the streets are at right angles and
the mind is liberated."
What do you know about Paris?
: With your classmates in your row, compare the three utopian cities we have considered. What are key similarities / differences between their rationale for imagining new cities, and the plans they devised?
: What are some strategies that property owners or city dwellers might use to create differential rents, or to make the value of their property change relative to other properties?
Serendipitous entrepreneurs find themselves in the right place at the right time, just happening into a good situation.
Active entrepreneurs take a more pro-active role. They might scout out the 'next big neighborhood,' or organize to promote particular types of changes in their community.
Structural speculators are the most active, often lobbying the government or bringing together large investments to create differential rents.
How united are we, DC?
Although these properties are similar (e.g., square footage, building type, etc.), we can't explain difference in property values simply in terms of features of the housing itself.
"For those who count, the city is a growth machine, one that can increase aggregate rents and trap related wealth for those in the right position to benefit. The desire for growth creates consensus among a wide range of elite groups, no matter how split they might be on other issues." - Logan and Molotch
Are efforts to attract the 'creative class' simply efforts to compete for mobile capital?
Capitalists make a profit through the creation of
. There are two ways that they do so - either through the
absolute surplus value
(e.g., getting workers to work longer hours for the same pay) or
relative surplus value
(e.g., raise the productivity of workers so they make more products in the same amount of time). Innovation and revolutions in the work process result in increase productivity of labor, and as a result, increased surplus value and greater profits for capitalists.
Through this process, capitalists compete with each other to create innovations in productivity.
One result of this competition among capitalists is the tendency toward overaccumulation - in other words, too much capital is produced relative to opportunities to productively employ this capital. We might call this 'accumulation for accumulation's sake.' This results in several related problems:
- Overproduction of commodities (e.g., too much of a product on the market)
- Falling rates of profit (e.g., the price of goods falls)
- Surplus capital (e.g., too much money that you, as an individual capitalist, cannot employ productively in the pursuit of more profit)
This is the primary circuit of capital, which Harvey argues takes place in a singe / short time horizon.
Next, Harvey references
. He says that fixed capital typically aids in the production process, but this is capital not directly used in the production of commodities. In other words, they're the roads where the shoes are moved, the ports from where they're shipped, etc., rather than the leather and lace that make the shoe itself.
For fixed capital that functions "as a physical framework for production," Harvey refers to this as the built environment for production. (Built environment simply means buildings, roads, infrastructure, etc.) Often, this built environment serves the production + consumption processes.
The key feature of the fixed capital in the built environment is that, unlike mobile capital (e.g., money), it is both immobile in space and the value it adds to the production process cannot be moved without being destroyed.
Think about the purpose of a port for an industrial city. Unlike, say, the leather required to build the shoe (which I can move from factory to factory without losing value), the value of a port to the production process is destroyed if it is moved.
Harvey argues that capital creates an entire set of buildings, infrastructure, roadways, etc. to aid these process of capitalist production - what he calls "a whole physical landscape for purposes of production, circulation, exchange and consumption."
Investment into the production of this built environment is known as the second circuit of capital.
Yet, switching capital into the second circuit poses a challenge because individual capitalists, on their own, have no incentive to invest in the second circuit of capital, despite the fact that it is beneficial to their production process. After all, capitalists are competing against each other in the production of goods, creating little unity as a class.
Harvey notes that, "individual capitalists left to themselves will tend to under-supply their own collective needs for production." In other words, they over-accumulate in the first circuit of capital, and under-invest in the second circuit.
The state (i.e., government) helps to organize capitalists into a single class, and to direct investments into the second and third circuits of capital. The third circuit includes investments in science, technology or education, or other ways that helps labor reproduce itself.
Critical theorists argue that capitalism, as it grows and changes, must destroy the landscape (built environment) that is has created. This landscape no longer functions in the accumulation and circulation of capital. We will see this in the coming weeks in our discussions of urban renewal, the reuse of industrial buildings, the cutting of neighborhoods with highway investments ... What happens to the built environment when they are no longer productive for the further accumulation of capital?
Question: According to Harvey, what is the third circuit for capital?
An alternative to (or, perhaps,variant of) creative destruction is
Adaptive reuse refers to the tendency to use the built environment of the city for new purposes, reflecting the demands of a different type of city. We begin to use buildings and infrastructure in ways that they were not intended to be used, but which reflects the current demands of the city.
: What are some examples of adaptive reuse of the built environment for production in American cities?
Now that we have this fixed landscape - the built environment of capitalism - what happens when these fixed investments are no longer productive for the further accumulation of capital? We engage in a process of
What do urbanists mean when we describe something as a socio-spatial phenomenon?
Why are many urbanists concerned about linking the mode of economic production to the city - discussing the capitalist city, or the city under capitalism, for example.
What did Engels and Riis tell us about patterns of inequality within late-19th century cities?
Explain uneven development, both within & between cities.
Distinguish Gemeinschaft from Gesselschaft, and describe why they're useful in thinking about social relations & communities in the modern city.
What did early urbanists mean by the 'adaptive responses to urban life,' and what are some examples of adaptive responses?
What is the dartboard model of urbanism proposed by the Chicago School?
What is human ecology, and why might it be a useful framework for studying cities?
Describe the LA School of Urban Studies.
Briefly describe the different visions of LeCorbusier, Howard and Frank Lloyd Wright, and give an example of how they inform future models of urbanism or urban development.
What is the political economy of place? How is place, as a commodity, different from other things that we buy & sell?
What is the difference between use value & exchange value?
What are the different types of place entrepreneurs that Logan & Molotch identify in Urban Fortunes?
How does the Growth Machine contribute to place stratification?
Why does David Harvey make such a big deal about investments in the built environment - or, as he calls it, investments in the secondary circuit of capital?
What is creative destruction, as it relates to contemporary cities?
What was Pruitt Igoe?