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Lecture

Week 9 Lecture Note


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCC26H3
Professor
John Hannigan

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Weve now moved ahead with the discussion of sociology of urban growth into the 1970s
By 1970s, suburbanization particularly in North America has now been around for
about quarter of a century
Its beginning to move to the edges suburban is not as wonderful as it wants
Part of the course is that suburbs is no longer new, is beginning to age
Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to commercial side, in particular
shopping centres
Growth of suburban subdivisions and malls go hand in hand
One reason had to do with zoning suburban zoning was strictly residential and not
commercial
Zoning regulations prohibited this
Instead, stores, movie theatres, restaurants were clumped together in malls ranging
from small neighbourhood malls to regional malls
If you want to go shopping particularly in US cities, you had no choice to drive to the
mall
One of the things that certainly happened with malls was the line-up of stores became
very similar from mall to mall
It didnt matter whether you went to Fairview Mall or Yorkdale Mall or Mississaugas
Square One or whatever, but all the store were the same
Particularly the clothing stores were all chains, over time these chains have changed,
some have gone up some have gone down, some have closed
In essence, the mall got boring
In addition to that, what would be a big attraction to malls parking became difficult,
couldnt find a space to park (half a kilometre away)
The advantages of parking seemed to be minimized
The malls themselves became rather than exciting places to shop, became more of a
chore
Certainly by 1970s, the boom was off the roads
In addition to that, suburban life itself began to show issues
Partly, in connection with gender issues
When suburbs were built, there was strict gender division the expectation was that
women would stay home and look after the kids, while the dad would work in the city
away from the community
Over time, that idea became to go away from that the kids from 1950 are grown up
when its 1970s, so they left home
In initial phases, the suburbs were friendly, but by 1970s kids have left home
Kids were not alright, kids were too young to drive, nothing to do, nothing except to find
the mall and hang around, but the mall operators eventually cracking down on the
bunch of teenagers affecting business, so security guards asked parents of teenagers to
pose curfews
Suburbs were supposed to be crime free in contrast to the inner city
Suddenly, suburbs are seeing many of the kind of problems that were attributed to the
inner city
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You cannot blame the problems on minorities (Blacks, Latinos, etc.) because these were
the white middle class kids
So things began to break down
For a while, the trend is to build bigger malls (e.g. Yorkdale = supersized mall)
Then you look at the inner cities, particularly the US, are in bad shape
In cities like Detroit that have bailed out, leaving the inner city, are run down
Part of it is it doesnt have a tax-based anymore this is a problem
The inner city is characterized in many parts of it by crime, racial problems
All this boils over in the late 1960s when you begin to have urban rise
Cities after cities in US (Detroit, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Miami) suddenly in late
1960s when people think of inner cities, they think of fires
In other places like Britain, this is happening
In some ways, the inner city problems in UK are closer to US than in Canadian cities
Growth of middle class suburbs in UK has been tremendous immigration into UK from
South Asia, Caribbean, and many of these immigrants are suffering from poverty,
discrimination, lower incomes, all kinds of problems
UK has its own riots that are beginning during that period
By the time it reached the mid 1970s, first of all, its become quite evident that
something has to be done
Part of what has to be done is somehow reactivate and revitalize the central city
What we can see is were not successful in Detroit, thats the future if nothing is done
Something that has to do with investment money
If you read suburban political economy, they talk about third stream of investment
capital, which is flowing around and plugging in and making money
One stream of where invested capital goes is in real estate
A lot of this investment was directed into suburban buildings and suburban growth, as a
result a lot of millionaires were created by building suburbs
But by mid 1970s, the money that you can make out of investing in suburbs began to
decline in return
The suburbs isnt as good as an investment anymore
There are a couple of reasons for this:
oOne reason is that the amount of land that is available for building is shrinking
Initially, there were all kinds of land around the city and was relatively
cheap, so real estate developers bought huge portions of land and sat on it for
20 years and then built on it
Thats true in Toronto as much as in US, real estate who bought huge tracts
of land in Mississauga and began to build Erin Mills and things like that
oBank money is beginning to run out
oMunicipal governments are beginning to regulate, you no longer have a free hand to
build, you have restricted by laws and zoning regulations, level of permits,
developers are beginning to complain it takes too long to approve to build
suburban areas
They can no longer make the high rates of return
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