Social Justice and the City

Social Justice and the City

David Harvey
Copyright Date: 1973
Edition: REV - Revised
Pages: 356
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  • Book Info
    Social Justice and the City
    Book Description:

    Throughout his distinguished and influential career, David Harvey has defined and redefined the relationship between politics, capitalism, and the social aspects of geographical theory. Laying out Harvey's position that geography could not remain objective in the face of urban poverty and associated ills, Social Justice and the City is perhaps the most widely cited work in the field. Harvey analyzes core issues in city planning and policy-employment and housing location, zoning, transport costs, concentrations of poverty-asking in each case about the relationship between social justice and space. How, for example, do built-in assumptions about planning reinforce existing distributions of income? Rather than leading him to liberal, technocratic solutions, Harvey's line of inquiry pushes him in the direction of a "revolutionary geography," one that transcends the structural limitations of existing approaches to space. Harvey's emphasis on rigorous thought and theoretical innovation gives the volume an enduring appeal. This is a book that raises big questions, and for that reason geographers and other social scientists regularly return to it.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-3604-6
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 9-20)

    The biographical details of how this book came to be written are relevant to reading it since they serve to explain features in its construction that might otherwise appear peculiar. After completing a study of methodological problems in geography, which was published under the title Explanation in Geography, I began to explore certain philosophical issues which had deliberately been neglected in that book. In particular, I felt it important and appropriate to explore how ideas in social and moral philosophy—ideas that are customarily regarded as distinctive and separate avenues of enquiry from the philosophy of science which had hitherto...

    • Chapter 1 Social Processes and Spatial Form: (1) The Conceptual Problems of Urban Planning
      (pp. 22-49)

      The city is manifestly a complicated thing. Part of the difficulty we experience in dealing with it can be attributed to this inherent complexity. But our problems can also be attributed to our failure to conceptualize the situation correctly. If our concepts are inadequate or inconsistent, we cannot hope to identify problems and formulate appropriate policy solutions. In this essay, therefore, I want to address myself to the conceptual problems only. I shall ignore the complexity of the city itself and seek instead to expose some of the problems which we ourselves generate by our characteristic ways of looking at...

    • Chapter 2 Social Processes and Spatial Form: (2) The Redistribution of Real Income in an Urban System
      (pp. 50-95)

      Any overall strategy for dealing with urban systems must contain and reconcile policies designed to change the spatial form of the city (by which is meant the location of objects such as houses, plant, transport links, and the like) with policies concerned to affect the social processes which go on in the city (i.e., the social structures and activities which link people with people, organizations with people, employment opportunities with employees, welfare recipients with services, and so on). Ideally, we should be able to harmonize these policies to achieve some coherent social objective. We are far from such a capability...

    • Chapter 3 Social Justice and Spatial Systems
      (pp. 96-118)

      Normative thinking has an important role to play in geographical analysis. Social justice is a normative concept and it is surprising, therefore, to find that considerations of social justice have not been incorporated into geographical methods of analysis. The reason is not far to seek. The normative tools characteristically used by geographers to examine location problems are derived from classical location theory. Such theories are generally Pareto-optimal since they define an optimal location pattern as one in which no one individual can move without the advantages gained from such a move being offset by some loss to another individual. Location...

    • Chapter 4 Revolutionary and Counter-revolutionary Theory in Geography and the Problem of Ghetto Formation
      (pp. 120-152)

      How and why would we bring about a revolution in geographic thought? In order to gain some insight into this question, it is worth examining how revolutions and counter-revolutions occur in all branches of scientific thought. Kuhn (1962) provides an interesting analysis of this phenomenon as it occurs in the natural sciences. He suggests that most scientific activity is what he calls normal science. This amounts to the investigation of all facets of a particular paradigm (a paradigm being a set of concepts, categories, relationships, and methods which are generally accepted throughout a community at a given point in time)....

    • Chapter 5 Use Value, Exchange Value and the Theory of Urban Land Use
      (pp. 153-194)

      “The word VALUE, it is to be observed, has two different meanings, and sometimes expresses the utility of some particular object, and sometimes the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys. The one may be called ‘value in use’, the other, ‘value in exchange’. The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; and on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use.” (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776, 28.)

      The distinction between use value and...

    • Chapter 6 Urbanism and the City—An Interpretive Essay
      (pp. 195-284)

      Robert Park once wrote:

      “Cities, and particularly the great metropolitan cities of modern times . . . are, with all their complexities and artificialities, man’s most imposing creation, the most prodigious of human artifacts. We must conceive of our cities therefore . . . as the workshops of civilization, and, at the same time, as the natural habitat of civilized man.” (1936, 133.)

      Since urbanism, and its tangible expression, the city, have for so long been regarded as the locus of civilization itself, it is not surprising to find that the phenomenon of urbanism has been scrutinized from many points...

    • Chapter 7 Conclusions and Reflections
      (pp. 286-314)

      The previous six chapters of this volume are characterized by analysis. It remains to take a final step into synthesis—to try to distill some conclusions. This is not too awesome a task if we are prepared to undertake a reconstitution of method, a re-formulation of the sense in which we may validly speak of a “theory” of urbanism, and a re-evaluation of the nature of urbanism in its historical and geographical contexts. These are big “ifs” however. But since the essays here assembled are positioned on an evolutionary path of thought and experience, it seems proper to try to...

  7. The Right to the City (2008)
    (pp. 315-332)

    We live in an era when ideals of human rights have moved center stage both politically and ethically. A great deal of energy is expended in promoting their significance for the construction of a better world. But for the most part the concepts circulating do not fundamentally challenge hegemonic liberal and neoliberal market logics or the dominant modes of legality and state action. We live, after all, in a world in which the rights of private property and the profit rate trump all other notions of rights. I here want to explore another type of human right, that of the...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 333-344)
  9. Index of authors
    (pp. 345-347)
  10. Index of subjects
    (pp. 348-354)