Sustaining Cities

Sustaining Cities: Urban Policies, Practices, and Perceptions

Edited by Linda Krause
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 178
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hjc59
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  • Book Info
    Sustaining Cities
    Book Description:

    What has happened to cities after the global economic recession?Sustaining Citiesanswers this question by explaining how failed governmental policies contributed to urban problems and offering best practices for solving them.

    From social scientists and urban planners to architects and literary and film critics, the authors of this unique collection suggest real responses to this crisis. Could the drastic declines in housing markets have been avoided? Yes, if we reframe our housing values. Do you want to attract corporate investment to your town? You might want to think twice about doing so. The extinction of the "Celtic Tiger" may be charted in statistics, but the response in popular Irish mystery novels is much more compelling. China, while not immune to market vicissitudes, still booms, but at a considerable cost to its urban identities.

    Whether constructing a sustainable social framework for Mexican mega-cities or a neighborhood in London, these nine essays consider some strikingly similar strategies. And perhaps, as the contributors suggest, it's time to look beyond the usual boundaries of urban, suburban, and exurban to forge new links among these communities that will benefit all citizens. Accessible to anyone with an interest in how cities cope today,Sustaining Citiespresents a cautionary tale with a hopeful ending.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5417-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-10)
    Linda Krause

    In one of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons, a distant mushroom cloud looms and cars jam the street as people flee the conflagration. Unfazed, a dog focuses on what’s in front of his nose. “And then Jake saw something that captured his attention.”¹ From my experience with selectively attentive canines, this rings true. And it is also true for the many human Jakes for whom urban matters are at best peripheral. But this human inattention is changing. Now that cities are facing the combined disasters of failing infrastructure, devalued housing, and high unemployment, the question arises: how can cities survive?...

  5. PART I Urban Policies:: Market Rules

    • SUSTAINABLE CITY: CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY IN MEXICO
      (pp. 13-24)
      Alfonso Iracheta

      During the last two or three decades, urban theories mainly have been directed toward analyzing the impact globalization has had in the territory being studied, and highlighting issues of squatter settlements, urban poverty, and environmental deterioration. As has been stressed by UN-HABITAT, new forces driving worldwide human settlements call for reconsideration by both society and government of how urban policy and planning are conducted.¹ Regions and cities are facing such complex phenomena as: hyperurbanization, poverty concentration, land-use disorder, climate change, cultural clashes, and migration. Typically these phenomena are analyzed from a mainstream perspective strongly oriented toward the relationship between globalization...

    • HOSTAGE CITIES: UNSUSTAINABLE COMPETITION FOR CORPORATE INVESTMENT
      (pp. 25-42)
      Linda McCarthy

      Newspaper reports like the following are increasingly common across the United States:

      In a move that is sure to set off a bidding war among communities in southeast Wisconsin and other states, Astronautics Corp. of America, a low-key but high-tech Milwaukee manufacturer, is seeking a new headquarters site that would employ 1,000 people. . . . Astronautics has retained Steve Palec, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis in Milwaukee, to conduct the search. Palec was involved in 2007 in procuring headquarters for GE Healthcare in Wauwatosa and Manpower Inc. in Milwaukee. . . . While Astronautics executives prefer to...

    • REFRAMING HOUSING VALUE
      (pp. 43-60)
      Sherry Ahrentzen

      Housing is fundamental to sustaining the quality of our cities: how we conceive, craft, conserve, and transform our residential communities shapes the health and vitality of our civic realm. Yet how we characterize and value housing in this country has been parochial. A narrow, privatized construct of housing value—most visible in economic positions of affordability and ownership, but also lurking in our social assessments of status, entitlement, and citizenry—has contributed to the sanitized and sometimes even crumbling nature of many American communities that cannot survive as a monoculture. Take, for example, the Phoenix area where I lived until...

  6. PART II Urban Practices:: Connecting Communities

    • NOTES TOWARD A HISTORY OF AGRARIAN URBANISM
      (pp. 63-75)
      Charles Waldheim

      The agrarian and the urban are two categories of thought that have more often than not been opposed to one another. Across many disciplines, and for many centuries, the city and the country have been called upon to define each other through a binary opposition. Contemporary design culture and discourse on cities are, by contrast, awash in claims of the potential for urban agriculture. Enthusiasm for agricultural production in and around cities has grown through an increased environmental literacy on behalf of designers and scholars. Equally, this renewed interest in the relation of food production to urban form has been...

    • THE ART OF PLACE-MAKING
      (pp. 76-94)
      Georgia Butina Watson

      Many people today, throughout the world, seem to feel that any place, be it city or neighborhood, should have its own distinctive character, its own place identity. In an ever globalizing world, once regionally inflected built form—the kind of environment that signaled the uniqueness of a place—is no longer a given. Now, urban designers, planners, architects, landscape architects, politicians, and people from all walks of life are investigating how to achieve distinctive and positive place identities. Such places, it is argued here, are rooted in the past but are also evolving and changing to meet different cultural and...

    • BEYOND BOUNDARIES
      (pp. 95-108)
      Mo Zell

      Andrea Kahn, in “Defining Urban Sites,” contrasts the urban boundary conditions of a sixteenth-century sketch of Milan by Leonardo da Vinci to an historical eighteenth-century plan depicting an ideal Renaissance plan of Palmanuova. The Renaissance plan has a clear edge delineated by a heavy defensive boundary wall, while the Leonardo sketch has no clearly defined boundaries or edges. Although these two images convey different notions of representation (the former image is a plan, the latter an evocative sketch illustrating Leonardo’s imagined Milan), they reveal an important condition regarding the nature of boundaries. Kahn states “in Leonardo’s image no border divides...

  7. PART III Urban Perceptions:: Tigers, Tricksters, and Other Urban Legends

    • CHINESE CITIES: DESIGN AND DISAPPEARANCE
      (pp. 111-121)
      Ackbar Abbas

      As a way of “envisioning the urban,” let us, first, list six characteristics of the Chinese city today found almost everywhere. The first characteristic is a certain operatic quality. In the Chinese Sichuan Opera, there is a secret technique known as “changing face,” orbian lian, where the actor changes one painted face for another with a quick turn of the head. There is something of this “changing face” effect when we look at the changing space of the Chinese city. We see the transformations, but we cannot believe our eyes or our ears when we hear the famous formulation,...

    • FROM “THE DEAD” TO THE DEAD: THE DISPOSABLE BODIES AND DISPOSABLE CULTURE OF CELTIC TIGER NOIR
      (pp. 122-134)
      Andrew Kincaid

      Detective Carl McCadden is a lonely man. His wife has just left him. “‘I felt like a case you’d solved,’” she explains. “‘I was interesting once. Years ago.’” McCadden’s mood is black. He’s “calmly, almost contentedly, waiting to hit the bottom.”¹ It is in the midst of this crisis of alienation and confusion that he’s called to investigate a series of brutal murders. Young blond women are turning up dead, beaten beyond recognition. McCadden’s investigation draws him into a sordid underworld of prostitution and pornography, drugs and political corruption—the geography of a bleak and segregated city, replete with blind...

    • IMAGINING AND REIMAGINING A PROMISED LAND: THE GANGSTER GENRE AND HARLEM’S MYTHIC PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
      (pp. 135-154)
      Paula J. Massood

      In the opening scene of Ridley Scott’sAmerican Gangster(2007), crime boss Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson takes his protégé, Frank Lucas, to a newly opened big-box electronics store on 125th Street. Johnson uses the occasion to bemoan the changes in the community that he believes have resulted in the diminishment of the area’s character. Shortly after his condemnation of chain stores and franchises, Johnson collapses and dies of a heart attack. Through its sympathetic presentation of the elderly Johnson, the scene suggests that Harlem gangsters of the past were gentlemen, and that the neighborhood, despite the presence of drugs and crime,...

  8. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 155-158)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 159-168)