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Week 12 Lecture

4 Pages

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John Hannigan

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Urban Political Economy 4 Principles: 1. A city’s form and growth result not from “natural processes” but from decisions made by people and organizations that control wealth and other key resources. 2. Urban forms and urban social arrangements reflect conflicts over the distribution of resources. 3. Government continues to play an important role in urban life. 4. Urban growth patterns significantly result from economic restructuring. -was dominant type of economy -began in 1970’s -in 1920’s and 30’s, major problem had to do with migration and immigration -cities like Chicago had suddenly grown overnight into large tropical urban cities -job was not only to explain growth but to cope with the social disorganization -migrants and immigrants suddenly flooded into city -problems between different generations, crimes, divorce, marriage breakdown were impacts of these changes -American cities in 1960s and 1970s, problem was urban conflict that was based on racial differences -had roots in population shift, tremendous shift after WWII -Blacks, Port Ricans, Hispanic immigrations -urban riots (1967), American cities witnessed significant urban riots -large number of rioters would do things like looming, burning and become publicized on news -huge public policy concerns for politicians -Middle-class concerned about what happens if it spreads to ghettos/where we live/suburban areas? -you couldn’t explain these urban riots through theories or growth models -issue of race – in 1920s-30s, race has been relatively minor factor in ecology in various growth models -immigrants were coming from Southern and central Europe, race was not major factor -ethnicthy was more important factor than race -in 19 century, in cities like New York and Boston, the group that was most poorly treated were Irish -reflected situation in England, where there was tremendous discrimination -20 century, US certainly had discrimination against some European groups -Klu Klux Klan (KKK) targeted Greeks in southern states th -Italians faced a lot of discrimination in beginning of 20 century -race was not a major factor in earliest urbanization -by 1960s, race was replaced by ethnicity -Chicago school and various models assume each group would eventually be assimilated (fit into American melting pot) -start to live in rooming houses, and when they get better off would move out into middle class areas -assumption was how cities would face initial difficulties, but would eventually become the fabric of American life -explanation of how cities grew reflected this -did not work when dealing with visible minorities, but in 1960’s this process was happening with Americans -major reason was due to the discrimination and due to them being visible -became known as ghetto = areas where Jewish groups were confined in Europe -referred to Black ghettos in American cities where they had subsidized housing, welfare, high crime rates -the search for new perspective in sociology, minority groups were blocked in terms of social mobility, couldn’t move up into upper class, so need a new way to explain things -legal restriction specifically kept Blacks and Hispanics from moving into the better housing = covenants -in addition, there was redlining – kicked in when you can’t get a mortgage, financial institutions gave mortgages -certain areas of city were there was circled areas, would not give you a mortgage -was clearly about power and discrimination (e.g. housing developers, bankers, church companies were in powerful position and using their power to shape how the city would look like) -suggested a whole new way to look at city based on power or political economy -key activity in Canadian cities in 1960s-70s – urban renewal -a number of urban planners decided that they were going to clean up the city, concerned there were aging buildings and residential buildings around in CBD, low income housing with poor quality -so decided to engage in urban renewal process (slums clearance) -slums were areas that had look tired and had old buildings; idea was to knock it down -different levels of government were engaged in clearing these slums -idea was that at the end of this, the tired old neighbourhood would be revitalized -planning and politics got pushed aside and definitions got stretched -rather than knocking down low income housing and replacing with better quality, low income areas would be condemned with slums and designated for urban renewal -what would replace them would be shopping centres or financial towers (debt towers) -had the effect of targeting low income people, kicking them out, and replacing them with expensive stores -clearly this was unjust and bad policy, but that’s the way things were done in 1960s -classic case of urban renewal place was called Africville (1950s in Nova Scotia, Halifax) -Halifax was one of several places in Canada that had Black population there for a long time -end point of underground railroad during days of slavery, if slaves wanted to escape they would have to do so by hiding and crossing the border of Canada, so ended up in Halifax -settled in outskirts of Halifax -established neighbourhood particularly strong sense of community organized around local churches -planners in Halifax wanted to get rid of Africville because housing has been blighted = unacceptable level of criminal activity there -Africville’s location was on Atlantic ocean, and city wanted to grab land for industrial revolution and development -declared Africville (slum) and gave people notices to get out -families had been there for hundreds of years and
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