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The City, Revisited

The City, Revisited: Urban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York

Dennis R. Judd
Dick Simpson
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    The City, Revisited
    Book Description:

    The contributors to The City, Revisited trace an intellectual history that begins in 1925 with the publication of the influential classic The City, engaging in a spirited debate about whether the major theories of twentieth-century urban development are relevant for studying the twenty-first-century metropolis.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7517-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Part I. Revisiting Urban Theory

    • 1 Theorizing the City
      (pp. 3-20)
      Dennis R. Judd

      In 1925, a group of sociologists from the University of Chicago published a book that became a foundational work for generations of urban scholars. InThe City: Suggestions for Investigation of Human Behavior in the Urban Environment,¹ Robert Park, Ernest Burgess, Roderick McKenzie, and some of their colleagues proposed an elegant, sweeping version of social Darwinism to explain the dynamics of urban spatial and social structure (the first footnote of the book’s introduction is to Oswald Spengler). The “Chicago School” scholars interpreted cities as constantly evolving organisms subject to the processes of growth and decay, interdependence, competition and cooperation, health,...

    • 2 Grounded Theory Not Abstract Words but Tools of Analysis
      (pp. 21-50)
      Janet Abu-Lughod

      Is our question really about the trinity of urban theory: one or many? At the insistence of my children, I have begun to write my “intellectual memoirs” (a compromise with the more salacious account they perhaps hoped for). This may be why my memories of being a seventeen-year-old, starting in Hutchins College of the University of Chicago more than sixty years ago, led me back to vacuous medieval debates about the number of angels on the head of a pin.

      Having been so early imprinted, I shall always be a member of the Chicago School, but I think we are...

    • 3 The Chicago of Jane Addams and Ernest Burgess Same City, Different Visions
      (pp. 51-62)
      Daphne Spain

      Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century was an amazing place. Incorporated in 1837, burned to the ground in 1871, host to the glorious World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, and magnet for thousands of European immigrants, this was a city that was constantly reinventing itself. One of Chicago’s prominent citizens at the time was Jane Addams. Acknowledged leader of the American settlement house movement, Addams was the most famous American woman of the Progressive Era. With her friend Ellen Gates Starr, she opened the Hull House settlement on Halsted Street in 1889. It was the base from which she...

  4. Part II. The View from Los Angeles

    • 4 Urban Politics and the Los Angeles School of Urbanism
      (pp. 65-78)
      Michael Dear and Nicholas Dahmann

      The Los Angeles School of urban studies refers to a loosely affiliated group of scholars who since the 1980s have made Los Angeles their research focus. Initial work highlighted the emergence and consequences of economic restructuring in Southern California but quickly broadened to consolidate the knowledge base for what had hitherto been a relatively neglected city-region. Almost concurrently, a subset of researchers recognized in L.A. a particular form of contemporary urban transition that was characteristic of what they labeled as “postmodern urbanism.” Finally, by the late eighties, came the realization that many lessons from L.A. were relevant to scholars beyond...

    • 5 The Sun Also Rises in the West
      (pp. 79-103)
      Amy Bridges

      Portraits of Southern California and Los Angeles are prominent in noir novels, and “noirhas . . . remained the popular . . . anti-myth of Los Angeles.”¹ James Cain, Raymond Chandler, and, more recently, Walter Mosely have written stories with ironic and grim outcomes. In these stories no one is really good. At best, people are all too fallible, more likely they are selfish, criminal, or downright evil; the déclassé among them “invariably choose murder over toil.”² Contemporary academics similarly portray L.A. In Michael Dear’s accounts we see that “as the modern public expanded, it shattered into a multitude...

    • 6 From the Chicago to the L.A. School Whither the Local State?
      (pp. 104-134)
      Steven P. Erie and Scott A. MacKenzie

      Over the past two decades, Los Angeles has gone from an understudied metropolis to a critically acclaimed new paradigm for urban development around the world. One important factor accounting for L.A.’s recent prominence is the emergence of the L.A. School of Urbanism, composed of a core group of “Marxist geographers” and postmodernist scholars, and a larger interdisciplinary community of academics working in research centers across Southern California.¹ The L.A. School is known for its focus on the urban periphery; eclectic theories about the “social construction of urban space”; and lingering pessimism about the future of urban life. But the L.A....

  5. Part III. The View from New York

    • 7 The Rise and Decline of the L.A. and New York Schools
      (pp. 137-168)
      David Halle and Andrew A. Beveridge

      From the 1960s to the end of the twentieth century, the nation’s two largest cities each helped to nurture a distinct approach to urban analysis. In his introduction to this book, Dennis Judd discusses the Los Angeles School and a New York School. The former tended to emphasize the decentralization and fragmentation of urban areas; the latter the potential of the urban core. Each school offered valuable insights applicable to the study of all major urban regions, not just New York and Los Angeles. In this chapter we argue that it is time to move beyond the framework of these...

    • 8 School Is Out The Case of New York City
      (pp. 169-185)
      John Hull Mollenkopf

      Los Angeles, for Michael Dear, is all about the central importance of the deconcentration and fragmentation of social and political activities within a highly dispersed city-region, sometimes in “mutant” forms like gated communities. Viewing the L.A. region as the archetype of the postmodern epoch, he arrives at the distinctive proposition that urban periphery is now organizing the center. In his words, “the direction ofcausalityis from periphery to center, even if (as often happens) this finds expression as an absence of pressure or direction.”¹ Old urban power relations, he thinks, have melted away in a postmodern welter of new...

    • 9 Radical Uniqueness and the Flight from Urban Theory
      (pp. 186-202)
      Robert A. Beauregard

      Imagine, for the moment, a world in which each and every city is incontestably unique. I do not mean simply different but so dissimilar that if you were to enter a city for the first time, having no prior knowledge, you would be wholly disoriented. Nothing that you know about, say, La Paz or Kiev would be applicable to Mumbai. Cities would be profoundly incomparable.

      In such a world, a world of radical uniqueness, urban studies—based as it is on a comparative perspective—would come to a halt. Although one might study Mumbai while in La Paz, there would...

  6. Part IV. The View from Chicago

    • 10 The New Chicago School of Urbanism and the New Daley Machine
      (pp. 205-219)
      Dick Simpson and Tom Kelly

      At the beginning of the twentieth century, social scientists at the University of Chicago sought “scientifically” to capture the city of Chicago.¹ They framed their direct observations around ecological images such as rings of growth, like the growth rings of trees; racial patterns of settlement like the patterns of plant ecology; immigration patterns of expansion along radial lines; and an organic machine politics. They varied between the unique, textured, direct accounts of participant observation of real slums, gangs, politics, and other Chicago phenomena and the universal, scientific, abstract social science models they created.²

      Collectively they created the Chicago School of...

    • 11 The New Chicago School Notes toward a Theory
      (pp. 220-241)
      Terry Nichols Clark

      Every city is unique. Cities partially shape their residents, sensitizing them to some concerns, while discouraging others. This chapter explores how the city of Chicago has encouraged a distinct flavor in the research and theorizing about cities by persons who have done time in Chicago’s environs. The last section considers how these ideas may be joined together as components of a new Chicago School. It should be noted at the outset that the participants in the Chicago Not-Yet-a-School of urban politics—also known among themselves, tongue-in-cheek, as the Chicago Preschool—differ on the question of whether a new Chicago school...

    • 12 The Mayor among His Peers Interpreting Richard M. Daley
      (pp. 242-272)
      Larry Bennett

      In the first chapter of this volume, Dennis Judd sketches brief accounts of the Chicago, L.A., and New York schools of urban studies. In the case of the Chicago School, the more typical characterization of Robert Park, Ernest Burgess, Louis Wirth, et al., specifies a Chicago School ofsociology.¹ Nevertheless, in the early to mid-twentieth century there was a group of notable political scientists engaged in Chicago research, that is, research on Chicago. These included Harold F. Gosnell, Edward C. Banfield, and James Q. Wilson. What is less frequently noted is that there was, in that period, a clear theoretical...

    • 13 Both Center and Periphery Chicago’s Metropolitan Expansion and the New Downtowns
      (pp. 273-302)
      Costas Spirou

      William Cronon in his classicNature’s Metropolisdocuments Chicago’s emergence during the nineteenth century by focusing on the distinct role of ecologic and economic changes that aided the city’s ascendance. Utilizing an environmental perspective on historical development, Cronon shows the dynamism and the powerful influence of Chicago in facilitating the westward expansion and in the process transforming American culture. But this unparalleled growth was also fueled by the city’s dominance and control over the surrounding region and beyond. In reality, the region was subjugated to Chicago’s economic interests, further aiding its unprecedented change. This dominance reveals the importance of “the...

  7. Part V. The Utility of U.S. Urban Theory

    • 14 The City and Its Politics Informal and Contested
      (pp. 305-331)
      Frank Gaffikin, David C. Perry and Ratoola Kundu

      The primary collaborator in the study of the city is the city itself. The essays here suggest that the cities of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have been, and continue to be, instrumental to our understanding of the forces and conditions of contemporary urbanism. The key word here iscontinuebecause they have been driving centers of modernist urbanism for most of the past two centuries. As such centers, or what Connell¹ calls “metropoles,” of the modernist-colonial production of the city’s key economic role, it is unsurprising that they are considered integral to scholarship that addresses the primacy of...

    • 15 Understanding Deep Urban Change Patterns of Residential Segregation in Latin American Cities
      (pp. 332-355)
      Francisco Sabatini and Rodrigo Salcedo

      Statistical and empirical research in Chilean cities, as well as clues from (the scarce) available data and studies of other cities in Latin America, lead us to think that, though varying in speed, composition, and intensity, the traditional patterns of residential segregation are undergoing a consistent and radical shift throughout urban Latin America: there have been decreases in the scale of segregation even while social inequality remains very high. The spatial dispersion of the Latin American urban elites from the “affluent cone,” where they had gradually concentrated along most of the twentieth century, toward different sections of the urban periphery,...

    • 16 Studying Twenty-first Century Cities
      (pp. 356-366)
      Dick Simpson and Tom Kelly

      Twentieth-century urban theory has proven inadequate to tackle urban issues of the twenty-first century. Even Chicago, home of the Chicago school of urban studies, no longer fits the paradigms of these earlier scholars. These older theories describe cities outside the United States even less well. Today’s cities exhibit different patterns of development, economics, politics, culture, society, and government from the manufacturing-based city of the early twentieth century.

      The essays in this book do not offer a single uncontested theory that fits all cities and metropolitan regions. There is no single paradigm capable of replacing the one created by the Chicago...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 367-370)
  9. Index
    (pp. 371-381)