While urban preservation is almost as old as cities themselves,
it has become increasingly controversial in modern cities. In this
book, Yue Zhang presents a cross-national comparative analysis of
the politics of urban preservation. Based on comprehensive archival
research and more than two hundred in-depth interviews in Beijing,
Chicago, and Paris, Zhang finds that urban preservation provides a
tool for diverse political and social actors to frame their
propositions and advance their favored courses of action.
In cities from West to East, divergent political and economic
interests have caused urban preservation to become contested.
Exploring three of the world's great cities, Zhang deftly navigates
readers through each case study, illustrating the complexities of
the politics of urban preservation in each city. In Beijing, urban
preservation was integral to promoting economic growth and
enhancing the city's image during the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics;
in Chicago, it is used to increase property values and revitalize
neighborhoods; and in Paris, it offers a channel for national and
municipal governments to compete for control over urban space.
Although urban preservation serves various purposes in these
cities, Zhang explains how different types of political
fragmentation have affected the implementation of preservation
initiatives in predictable ways, thus generating distinct patterns
of urban preservation. A comparative urban politics study of
unusual breadth, The Fragmented Politics of Urban
Preservation gives us insight into the complex policy process
of urban preservation through which political institutions are
intertwined with interests and inclinations, fundamentally shaping
the direction of urban development, the physical forms of cities,
and the lives of citizens.
Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, Political Science
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