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The Social Sustainability of Cities

The Social Sustainability of Cities: Diversity and the Management of Change

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    The Social Sustainability of Cities
    Book Description:

    Some cities have been more successful than others in creating environments conducive to the cohabitation of a diverse population. Case studies analyze ten cities in North America, South America, Europe, and Africa in terms of their social sustainability.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8239-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    Ali Kazancigil

    Within its own fields of competence, and especially in the Social and Human Sciences sector, UNESCOʹs message on urban issues is both moral and intellectual: cities must serve the people who live in them. For UNESCO, the real challenge is to improve the conditions in which urban growth takes place in order to build cities of peace, democracy, and development.

    The cities of the twenty-first century must place the citizen at the centre of public policy, reinvent the concept of the city, and realize the many ways of sharing in urban life.

    The impact of globalization on urban systems and...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Mario Polèse and Richard Stren
  5. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. 1 Understanding the New Sociocultural Dynamics of Cities: Comparative Urban Policy in a Global Context
    (pp. 3-38)

    The idea of a project dealing with the management of the social and cultural diversity of cities was born in February 1994 in a café in Vienna, following the first Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme workshop on the theme of ʹcities.ʹ That Vienna should be the birthplace of this project is entirely appropriate, for few cities, certainly few in Europe, better exemplify the essential meaning and challenge of what we call ʹsocial sustainability.ʹ As we shall explain, ʹsocial sustainabilityʹ refers topolicies and institutions that have the overall effect of integrating diverse groups and cultural practices in a just...

  7. 2 The Social Sustainability of Montreal: A Local or a State Matter?
    (pp. 39-67)

    This book is about building inclusive cities through local policy. Local affairsdomatter, or so Mario Polèse and Richard Stren write in chapter 1. For the past two decades, decentralization has been regarded highly in many advanced industrial countries. Notable among its many perceived advantages is the potential to increase efficiency in the delivery of public services, making them more accessible to the population while enhancing local democracy. According to this vision of decentralization, local power appears headed for a bright future.

    To what point, however, should we encourage decentralization? And, even more important, what should we decentralize? For...

  8. 3 Governance and Social Sustainability: The Toronto Experience
    (pp. 68-97)

    Within North America, Toronto often serves as a model of effective urban governance primarily because of three characteristics that imply a high level of social sustainability: the economic vitality and social well-being of its downtown business and residential districts; a public transit system that has performed more effectively and efficiently than all others in North America; and the relatively uniform quality of local public goods and services provided in all parts of the metropolitan region. These three characteristics make Toronto an ideal setting in which to investigate the contributions that governance, broadly defined, can make to urban social sustainability.


  9. 4 Miami: Governing the City through Crime
    (pp. 98-122)

    Crime is often recognized as one of our oldest ʹurban problemsʹ (Silver 1967, 1). Indeed, in many respects crime has been a constitutive feature of the modern city. Representing crime helped give rise to the mass urban newspaper of the nineteenth century (Leps 1992). Analysing crime was a primary focus of the new social science of sociology as it began to establish itself as a distinctively urban discourse at the beginning of the twentieth century (Durkheim 1933; Park, Burgess and McKenzie 1925). Fighting crime has frequently been the context for important efforts at urban reconstruction, including initiatives to clear ʹslums,ʹ...

  10. 5 ʹA Third-World City in the First Worldʹ: Social Exclusion, Racial Inequality, and Sustainable Development in Baltimore, Maryland
    (pp. 123-156)

    Despite periodic reports of an ʹurban renaissance,ʹ social and economic conditions have persistently deteriorated in U.S. cities since the 1960s. Particularly in the older, historically industrial cities of the northeast and Midwest, the grim litany of urban problems is familiar: high rates of crime and unemployment; concentrated neighbourhood poverty; deteriorating housing stock, schools, and social services; racial inequality; and the flight of the middle class to outlying suburbs. Across the country, suburban, ʹEdge Cityʹ locations are supplanting central cities as regional economic hubs. By the mid-1990s, according to one study, thirty-four cities had declined beyond ʹa critical ʺpoint of no...

  11. 6 Geneva: Does Wealth Ensure Social Sustainability?
    (pp. 157-174)

    Is it enough to be one of the worldʹs wealthiest cities to be a socially sustainable city? Geneva would seem to offer an extraordinary success story, certainly in the sense defined by UNESCOʹs MOST program. The city has, to all outward appearances, created an urban environment that encourages social integration and harmony. Geneva has developed a clear sense of political and social identity. The city has been just as successful in nurturing an environment that fosters cultural and scientific creativity – examples being its university and research centres, such as the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) – and in...

  12. 7 Room to Manoeuvre: Governance, the Post-industrial Economy, and Housing Provision in Rotterdam
    (pp. 175-201)

    The phenomenon of globalization, the growing integration of the world into a global economy and a worldwide financial system, is now seen by many scholars as one of the major structural trends of our epoch (Dieleman and Hamnett 1994; Daniels and Lever 1996). For the welfare states of the Western world, the emergence of the global economy coincides, and is interrelated in a complex way, with a transition from an industrial to a post-industrial society, the advent of which is first and foremost characterized by shifts in the economic base consisting of a sharp erosion of employment in manufacturing together...

  13. 8 São Paulo and the Challenges for Social Sustainability: The Case of an Urban Housing Policy
    (pp. 202-227)

    The challenges confronting the management of Brazilʹs large cities are closely linked to the countryʹs complex and difficult struggle for democracy. After more than twenty years of military government, the so-called democratic issue is still present in Brazil as an enigma in the social fabric, weaving in paradox, ambiguity, and uncertainty – perhaps we could use the terms ʹantinomyʹ or ʹdisjunctionʹ to express a sense of conflict, doubt, and contradiction. To understand the democratic issue we have to understand the difficulties it has encountered and the absence of ʹbridges,ʹ which seem to collapse before they can offer passage to important...

  14. 9 Downtown San Salvador: Housing, Public Spaces, and Economic Transformation
    (pp. 228-249)

    The current state of development of central San Salvador is in many ways paradoxical.¹ While, on the one hand, its commercial dynamism negates any suggestion of economic decline, on the other hand, El Salvadorʹs capital city presents a patent case of spatial segregation and social exclusion with a clear social and spatial division between the old city-centre and high-income areas (see figure 9.1).

    Important changes have occurred in central San Salvadorʹs economy. In a movement that began in the 1950s, becoming more pronounced in later decades and especially since the late 1960s, bank headquarters, specialized business services, and the most...

  15. 10 Social Transformation in a Post-colonial City: The Case of Nairobi
    (pp. 250-279)

    During its short history of 100 years, Nairobi has experienced two major social transformations and appears to be undergoing a third, which is the subject of this chapter. By ʹsocial transformationʹ is meant a fundamental and relatively abrupt change in social structure and organization, as opposed to social changes that are both gradual and less extensive. As this chapter will show, none of these social transformations has so far been conducive to social sustainability, in the sense of fostering social integration of culturally diverse groups, with improvements in the quality of life for all segments of the population (Polèse and...

  16. 11 Cape Town: Seeking Social Sustainability in a Fast-Growing City
    (pp. 280-307)

    On 1 July 1997, a new structure of local government was formally instituted in Cape Town, bringing to an end over a century of institutionalized racial segregation. The new structure replaces a complex system of multilevel and segregated racial area authorities (see figure 11.1), each having a racial classification that defined the group permitted to live permanently within it – a racially defined zoning policy that resulted in what is known as the ʹapartheid city.ʹ¹ The new structure consists of a metropolitan council and six local councils (see figure 11.2). In accordance with government policy, the boundaries of the new...

  17. 12 Learning from Each Other: Policy Choices and the Social Sustainability of Cities
    (pp. 308-334)

    The ten cities examined in this volume all exhibit spatial segregation and social segmentation in varying degrees, whether based on class, ethnicity, or language. The reader may well ask, What is really new? Throughout history, cities have been divided, residentially, commercially, and socially. The very word ʹghettoʹ has its origins in renaissance Venice, more than 500 years ago, where it designated an enclosed quarter restricted to Jews. In the eighteenth century, in both Paris and London, the west of the city was already clearly fashionable, and the east plebeian, perhaps because the prevailing wind blows from the west, perhaps because...