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The Moral Economy of Cities

The Moral Economy of Cities: Shaping Good Citizens

Series: Cultural Spaces
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    The Moral Economy of Cities
    Book Description:

    Using the redevelopment of the Yonge-Dundas intersection in downtown Toronto in the mid-1990s as a case study, Ruppert examines the language of planners, urban designers, architects, and marketing analysts to reveal the extent to which moralization legitimizes these professions in the public eye.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2808-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 The Good City
    (pp. 3-13)

    What makes the good city? This question has long mobilized various practices involved in the physical and symbolic making and remaking of the city. City-making practices such as urban planning, design, development, and architecture define and pursue the good and promise that they can deliver it through plans and policies. The pursuit of the good city is also the object of scholarly and lay discourses that promulgate critiques and constructive visions, negative and positive images, and utopian and dystopian futures for the city. Indeed, a long tradition of utopian thought is credited for having influenced citymaking practices over the past...

  6. 2 Making Yonge-Dundas Good
    (pp. 14-40)

    This quote well captures typical characterizations of Yonge Street as the city’s ‘main street’ as well as the types of debates and problematizations these have inspired. Throughout most of its two-hundred-year history, a discourse has persisted that both celebrates and condemns Yonge’s exhilarating and threatening aspects. This tense combination has fuelled aspirations to eliminate its transgressions against visions of the good city. Torontonians have variously described Yonge as ‘rough, dirty, busy, loud, lively, and sleazy, as well as fun, cheap, congested and exciting,’ as a ‘heterogeneous, pedestrian shopping street,’ and as the ‘location of City celebrations, protests and gatherings’ (Ex....

  7. 3 The Secure City
    (pp. 41-88)

    The good city is a secure city. Although consumption and aesthetics are also part of the vision of the good city, security was a central object in the remaking of Yonge-Dundas. This reflects the growing significance of crime and safety in city making, for which ‘governing through crime’ has become a prominent strategy (Simon 2000). However, although crime is often identified as an object of governance, for Yonge-Dundas the object was more generally conduct that created disorder and negative perceptions that the area was criminogenic and unsafe. It was the moralization of conduct such as squeegeeing, drug dealing, hanging out,...

  8. 4 The Consumer City
    (pp. 89-125)

    The good city is a consumer city. We have seen how the moralization of conduct underpinned the vision of the secure city, mobilized and activated professional practices, and justified the remaking of Yonge-Dundas. In particular, the vision of safety came to mean securing the space for particular consumer groups. In this way security was connected to consumption; although considered separately, they were understood to be interdependent facets of the good city.

    More generally, consumption has become a key strategy of redevelopment projects and increasingly central to city economies. It has also emerged as one of the key concerns of the...

  9. 5 The Aesthetic City
    (pp. 126-148)

    The good city is the aesthetic city. Since the City Beautiful movement of the late nineteenth century, aesthetic strategies have been part and parcel of modern city-making practices and the creation of the orderly and good city. In the 1890s, strategies focused on major public investments in monumental boulevards, ceremonial squares, civic buildings, and public gardens and parks (Hall 1988). These strategies connected aesthetics with the social order and with the well-being of the city as a whole. By the late twentieth century, consumption and aesthetics had become more central to the economy of city centres, and buildings, neighbourhoods, and...

  10. 6 The Governable City
    (pp. 149-190)

    At the OMB hearing, the moralization of the conduct of particular groups at Yonge-Dundas was the source of agreement and unity among various agents, including developers, professionals, and local business people and residents. However, it was professionals who articulated the moralization of conduct to develop a vision of the secure, consumer, and aesthetic city. They organized and rationalized problematizations and identified solutions and technologies for making Yonge-Dundas fit that vision of the good city. We now shift our focus from the substance of claims to an analysis of how the authority to make those claims was granted at the hearing....

  11. 7 Making the Good City
    (pp. 191-226)

    The preceding chapters analysed in detail how professional practices organize and rationalize problematizations and propose solutions and policies oriented to a vision of the good city. Practices moralize conduct, which is the activating force and the basis on which dominant groups unite and consent to a particular vision of the good city. However, the socially recognized authority of professional practices is based not on their moralization, but rather on their presumed objective, scientific, and rational knowledge. How are professions able to mobilize a vast regulatory web for achieving an ostensibly objective good city while underwriting it with the moralization of...

  12. 8 Yonge-Dundas Made Good?
    (pp. 227-234)

    Through a detailed analysis of a particular instance of the possible, this book has revealed how the moralization of conduct continues to underwrite visions of the good city in practice and how it activates, legitimizes, and authorizes professional practices. By speaking through their practices and professions, professionals symbolically made Yonge-Dundas ostensibly good. Yet as I have insisted throughout this book, it would be a mistake to conceptualize professionals as powerful orchestrators or functionaries of powerful interests. Rather, their interests can collide, collude, or compete with those of other agents. Where they collude in the city-making field is in their moralization...

  13. Appendix A: List of Exhibits
    (pp. 235-238)
  14. Appendix B
    (pp. 239-250)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 251-264)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-284)
  17. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 285-286)
  18. Index
    (pp. 287-292)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 293-293)