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Geography and Planning

Edward Soja: Contemporary Comparison of LA and Amsterdam Argument: LA and Amsterdam are 2 cities that would appear to be incomparably different at first glance. They are not identical or converging towards a simple model of global city formation. Rather, they are both undergoing broad restructur- ing due to their embeddedness within an emergent global urban system, and so their restructuring can show important as- pects of urban life under capitalism. Growth of outer cities. Decentralization of manufacturing from industrial capitalist cities. jobs and factories shift to suburbs that has been changing the international division of labour and spatial division of labour within urban regions LA Sprawling, de-centered metropolis. a ton of suburbs Housing Shortages Amsterdam Centered golden age- was the typical model of mercantile capitalism. survived many reformations to remain in the higher ranks of the contemporary world Increasing internationalization of the regional metropolis scope of internationalization in therm of capital and labour: control of world trade, international financeial investment by the national state. and NOW ADD the finances of industry and production services. tall this allows the world city to function on a global scale. Foreign Internationalization downtown LA: few constraints of foreign investment downtown Amsterdam: more controlled Attraction of alot of foreign workers LA & Amsterdam: many minorities working part time low pay But LA has huge housing shortages among immigrants Differences DOWNTOWN only 1/100 LA ers live downtown 10% of Amsterdammers are centrum dwellers Many LA ers never been downtown,attract few tourists Downtown Amsterdam attracts hoards of tourists Amsterdam: Cycle culture- environmentally conscious LA: 3/4 of downtown devoted to automobile LA Downtown Overview: business + commerce, clashing cultures, housing shortages, extreme wealth and poverty, many homeless (almost half of central city’s population) despite various attempts at gentrification and dispersal , boredom tamed by overindulgence AMSTERDAM Downtown Overview: Cultural + political activities, many different age groups, lack of housing shortages (much of city made up of public/social housing. accommodated a lot of immigrants in the past) , traditional urban form + function of suburbs URBAN GROWTH LA - Unconventional Urban Growth While most cities have emptied their manufacturing industry, LA has continued industrial growth in core and periphery. Amsterdam-Traditional Growth Traditional urban form +function of suburbs Economic Growth LA: rapider growth, welcomed foreign investment with few constraints -Widening gap of rich and poor, increase of low wage jobs Amsterdam: more stable, key industries: finance maintain concentration in american and japanese banks, # of foreign listings on stock exchangeexports and contol of dutch pensions. increase of low wage jobs, reduction in high wage jobs, higher unemployment Similarities Restructuring of urban form= both experienced complex decentralization and recentralization over last 30 years LA: Huge sprawl. huge economic output Amsterdam: 100 miles from centre. huge economic output. Internationalization of the regional economy Post -Fordist forms of industrial organization Increasing Social- economic polarization Industrial Restructuring Decentralization Shift to ‘Post Fordism’ of flexibility -decline of large scale mass production, vertical integration -re industrialization of small and middle sized firms - revitalizing older industrial areas Increasing Social and Economic Polarization LA: economic and restructuring has dramatically increased poverty, widening rich and poor divide (getting rid of middle class) Rich- technology Poor- larger numbers of immigrants and women surviving on welfare, part time jobs, informal jobs vertical and sectorial polarization of the division of labour reflected by the growing horizontal and spaital polarization of residential geography in LA. Amsterdam: greater growth in low paid services sector as well -alot of part time employment -decline in high wage employment (contrast to LA) Mayer, Margit (2000) “Urban Social Movements in an Era of Globalization”, Chapter 35: pp. 296-304 The intensifying globalization of the last decades has transformed many social and economic structures, among them the hierarchy of New Trends in Local Politics and Oppositional Movements - the new competitive forms of urban development, - the erosion of traditional welfare rights, - and the expansion of the urban political system, also described as a shift from ‘government’ to ‘governance.’ New Competitive Forms of Urban Development The contemporary forms of urban growth and development consist primarily of the efforts of cities to upgrade their locality in the international competition for investors, advanced services, and mega-projects. Local political actors everywhere emphasize economic innovation, seek entrepreneurial culture, and implement labor market flexibility in order to counter the crisis of Fordism and to meet the intensified international competition - rebuilding of downtown to producer -oriented service centers: impacts= gentrification, displacement, congestion, pollu- tion. City centre beautified, other neighborhoods abandoned or used to hide the ugly - Opposition movements: to protect neighborhood. petitions, political lobbying. argue too much traffic, development. usual- ly middle classed. usually suceed in averting an unwanted facility with the effect that a poor neighborhood is targeted. - Commonly target large development projects like the olympics , world expo. for the city overall. The concentration on prestige projects tends to detract attention and finances from other urban problems and to restrict investments in other ar- eas. The erosion of traditional welfare rights -another trigger for structural change in urban social movements -2 elements: 1. Dualization of labor markets -increase in informal, part time jobs - creation of alot of homeless 2. Regulation of Public Space: Anti-Homeless -drive out homeless from center of cities -impact: alot of protests and demonstrations of anti racism and homeless: see their action as a form of re- sistance against the political , social and eco relations in the country (Berlin) -Formation of many organizations, nonprofits run by and for the homeless, unemployed, poor, immigrants Very often, however, such projects are totally unaware that official politics increasingly looks to NGOs and community groups to replace state politics and to function as repair networks for the economic and political disintegration produced by globalization, and in fact manages to turn them into social entrepreneuers. The expansion of the urban political system, also described as a shift from ‘government’ to ‘governance.’ The state’s governance is becoming less hierichical and more moderating than directing Establishment of self-help and social service groups used by municipal and employment programs. Make use of the skills, knowledge and labour of such movement groups. Community and movement groups interested in solu- tions for urban renewal, drugs, immigrant integration, AIDS, unemployment -third novel trend in urban politics is that the local level of politics has gained renewed significance (and in the process has transformed itself). -Local politics partnering with NGOs: Goal of financial relief and political vitalization -many municipalities employ former social movement organizations in the development of alternative social services, cul- tural projects, housing and economic development has been around s
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