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Jason Richardson and Bruce Coffyn Mitchell

Cities are places where agglomeration effects and the intensification of economic exchange create a highly specialized and stratified social structure. Many urban areas in the United States seek to address the decline of their industrial sector via redevelopment and transformation. The extent to which legacy residents of communities in or near those former industrial zones are allowed and able to remain becomes an area of concern. In many cases these households are among the most vulnerable: people of color, the elderly, recent immigrants, or low-to-moderate-income (LMI) non-Hispanic whites. Residential segregation separates communities along racial, ethnic, and economic lines, presenting structural barriers to full participation in the opportunities and amenities that urbanization provides. In this new post-industrial dynamic, the question becomes what methods – data and techniques – can be used to identify zones of gentrification or disinvestment in order to guide policy and encourage reinvestment. This chapter examines techniques used to identify urban investment patterns under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) and the Affordable Housing Goals (AHG), a dynamic set of goals enshrined by the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992. Using datasets of mortgage and small business lending, and bank branch location, investment levels and financial access for different communities are exposed. This activity bears similarities with critical cartography strategies and uses GIS to examine spatial patterns of inequitable capital access for disadvantaged communities. Two case studies are presented: Baltimore and Oakland. Baltimore provides an example of the isolation of communities from spillover effects, despite considerable reinvestment. Spillover effects from San Francisco have initiated gentrification in Oakland, a community at the edge of a developing world-city.

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Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

This chapter introduces the problem that this book addresses: how do societies come to be constructed in such a way that residents cannot drink the water that is supplied to them? The example of the supply of water to Shanghai is taken as a case through which to examine this question. Shanghai, it is argued, is an assemblage of interacting actors. This book examines the properties and characteristics of four principal actors: the hydro-geological conditions and rivers that provide water; the people, corporations and institutions within Shanghai who use and pollute the water; the institutions of central and other governments that regulate the use of the rivers and the discharges into them; and the infrastructures that governments and corporations have built to manage the river. The chapter concludes by outlining the organisation of the chapters through which the book addresses the question.

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Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

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Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

Shanghai is critically dependent on the Changjiang, China’s largest river, for its water supply. The flow is very stable from year to year but has strong seasonal variation with 70 per cent of flow in the summer season. The total flow is robust in the face of significant human influences. The annual flow is 900 billion cubic metres and only 0.55 per cent of this is taken for Shanghai’s water supply. No significant threats exist to the total volume of water available but there are threats from seasonal low flows, diversions of water to other users, deteriorating water quality and salt water intrusions that affect the main water supply intakes for Shanghai. The operation of the Three Gorges Dam has induced changes to the monthly flow regime, reducing flows in October to fill the dam before the low flow season and raising flows January to March as that water is used for power generation.

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Kris Bezdecny and Kevin Archer

The past half-century has seen a fragmentation of urban theory, one that is also evidenced in city-spaces. Cities have been labeled post-modern, post-industrial, post-colonial, mega, global, sustainable, creative, neoliberal, gentrified, themed, among a multitude of theoretical framings. All of these framings are descriptive of key dynamics witnessed in some (but not all) cities, but none describe well all those dynamics in any city. This is a problem showcased by current debates in urban theory today, particularly the recent debate between Scott and Storper (2015) in their discussion of the nature of cities, contested by such researchers as Mould (2016) and Roy (2016b), which calls into question whether a shared theoretical understanding of the ‘city’ is even possible. Indeed, this kind of debate has only intensified as urbanization continues its hyper-acceleration on a planetary scale (Brenner, 2014). As of 2009, over half the world’s population lives in a city (UNDESA, 2014). This means that roughly twice as many people are (re)producing their lived spaces in cities than the entire global population in 1900. An estimated one in eight people live in a megacity, or in cities with a population greater than 10 million; nearly half live in cities with a population below 0.5 million (UNDESA, 2016). By 2050, it is anticipated that as many as two-thirds of all people will be living in cities – with modest gains in already urbanized North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe and exploding growth in Asia and Africa – ultimately resulting in as many city-people at mid-century as live on the Earth today (UNDESA, 2009). Not all cities are created equal. Cities are often ranked competitively, based on a variety of criteria: population size, areal size (land consumed), and economic value. There are currently 214 cities ranked as global cities, those deemed most important to facilitating the global economy (Friedmann, 1986; Beaverstock, Smith and Taylor, 1999; GaWC, 2016). These are further ranked as alpha (49), beta (81), and gamma (84) cities – further demarcating the disparities between the command-andcontrol centers of global capital (while erasing those cities that are not considered competitive enough to be ranked) (GaWC, 2016). The megacity, by contrast, ranks cities by absolute population size, with 47 cities meeting the megacity definition of a population of 10 million or greater, and roughly 600 more cities having a population of 1 million or greater (UNDESA, 2016). Interestingly, there is overlap between urban definitions, in that cities defined by one definition become more likely (or less likely) to also meet an alternative definition (shown by the 40 out of 47 megacities that are also ranked as global cities).

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Monica M. Brannon

‘Smart Cities’ initiatives have been lauded as offering new approaches and mechanisms to manage, plan, and enhance urban spaces and citizen experiences within them. Relying on new technologies, the ‘smart’ descriptor refers to utilizing new tools of efficiency as counter to traditional means of understanding and gathering information about cities and their residents. New technological development is often marketed as civic solutions, yet there is little discourse analyzing how digital and material projects relate to existing racial inequality and what data collection practices mean at the community level. This chapter seeks to fill a gap in literature in how technologies operate as social structures, in particular, how new technological infrastructures in urban spaces exacerbate, alter, or alleviate racial divides. The case under consideration here is Kansas City, Missouri, which represents an intersection between new technology and data-driven initiatives, and is also starkly racially segregated. This chapter examines the effects as parts of the city that are differently measured, and the variances between those that are within and those outside of new data collection practices, modes and definitions of surveillance, and smart initiatives. In short, it addresses technological inequality as it relates to geographical spaces. Specifically, it addresses the ideological intentions that shape the technological outcomes of space that result in a divided landscape. Therefore, taking as the foundation the inequality in the existing space, this research explains how technological ambitions affect it.

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Barney Warf

In many parts of the world, technologically sophisticated smart cities have been at the forefront of the deployment of digital information and communications technologies, including smart energy grids, transport systems, renewable energy, and smart homes. The rapid economic growth and social transformation of many East Asian societies has given rise to a series of smart cities that are globalized, internet-connected, and that have changed urban governance and daily life in numerous ways. This chapter examines three East Asian smart cities, Seoul, Singapore, and Shanghai, noting how each aspired to smart city status in different ways. In each, information technologies have facilitated the implementation of electronic government (e-government), improved commercial ties, improved energy use and environmental quality, and enhanced the quality of life.

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Edited by Kris Bezdecny and Kevin Archer

The majority of the world's population now live in cities, nearly a quarter of which boast populations of one million or more. The rise of globalisation has granted cities unprecedented significance, both politically and economically, leading to benefits and problems at national and international levels. The Handbook of Emerging 21st-Century Cities explores the changes that are occurring in cities, and the impacts that they are having, at the local, national and global scale.
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Michael Webber, Jon Barnett, Brian Finlayson and Mark Wang

Chapter 5 describes the major infrastructures that influence the discharge of the Changjiang, and the politics that underpinned their construction. Relying on the ideas of technopolitics, the chapter argues that technologies such as dams, levees and water diversions are social artefacts that have political roots but that nevertheless reflect understandings of the behaviour of the river. Three important infrastructures are described – the Three Gorges Dam, the Qingcaosha reservoir and the South–North Water Transfer Project. Each has a certain technical rationality – flood control, electricity production, water storage and providing water to relatively arid regions. Each, though, also has a political rationality – centralising political power, corporate revenue-seeking, inter-jurisdictional conflicts over water resources, and avoiding the need to directly control pollution. Engineering new infrastructures in each case has taken precedence over softer management options such as water demand management and pollution control.

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Christiana Saldana

If walls could talk, they would tell the tale of deindustrialization and social unrest that led Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) into a spell of poor equity, access, community and economy in the 1990s. The adaptive reuse of historical buildings was suggested by the Downtown Strategic Plan, published in 1993 and adopted in 1994, as a key strategy in combating these poor conditions. In particular, the reclamation of historical buildings to create new residential property was a priority highlighted by the creation of the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance in 1999. Loftification is the renovation of a historical building into a modern, up-to-code, mixed-use residential compound that exemplifies the combination of gentrification and preservation by marketing the historical façade to a new influx of economically specific consumers. Los Angeles as a case study demonstrates how incentive-driven ordinances can streamline this process, making it desirable for property owners and developers alike to take advantage of the valuable space historic buildings can provide. For others, the conversion of once undesirable neighborhoods begs the question of whether these changes truly benefit the public and the residents of DTLA. The City of Los Angeles is currently addressing these issues by means of zoning code and community plan updates, as well as community outreach. Will these measures, along with the mass revitalization of dwindling historic buildings, be part of the comprehensive solution DTLA so readily awaits? Or is the restoration and preservation of historical resources little more than a refurbished form of the cyclical gentrification dynamic?