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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 3364F/G
Timothy Cobban

THE CITY AS A GROWTH MACHINE: TOWARD A POLITICAL ECONOMY OF PLACE – BARBARA  A city is conceived as the areal expression of the interests of some land based elite. An elite is seen to profit through the increasing intensification of the land use of the area in which its members hold a common interest  Governmental authority at the local and nonlocal levels is utilized to assist in achieving this growth at the expense of competing localities  Conventional definitions of city, urban space, or metropolis have led to conventional analyses of urban systems and urban based social problems  Few notions available to link the two issues coherently focusing on the urban settlement as a political economy  The desire for growth provides the operative motivation toward consensus for members of politically mobilized local elites  The very essence of a locality is its operation as a growth machine THE HUMAN ECOLOGY: MAPS AS INTEREST MOSAICS  Any given parcel of land represents an interest and that any given locality is thus an aggregate of land based interests  The emergence of concern for an aggregate of parcels: one sees that one’s future is bound to the future of a larger area that the future enjoyment of financial benefit flowing from a given parcel will derive from the general future of the proximate aggregate of parcels.  Each unit of a community strives, at the expense of the others, to enhance the land-use potential of the parcels with which it is associated  The intensity of group consciousness and activity waxes and wanes as opportunities for an challenges to the collective good rise and fall  An attempt is made to use government to gain those resources which will enhance the growth potential of the area unit in question  Individual land owners aggregate to extract neighborhood gains from the city government  Localities thus compete with one another to gain the preconditions of growth  Government decisions are not the only kinds of social activities which affect local growth chances; decisions made by private corporations also have major impacts  This organized effort to affect the outcome of growth distribution is the essence of local government as a dynamic political force  This is the politics which determines who in material terms, gets what, where and how  Public school curricula help build an ideological base for local boosterism and the acceptance of growth  A papers financial status of the locality tends to be wed to the size  Competing interests often regard the publisher or editor as a general community leader as an ombudsperson and arbiter of internal bickering  Good planning for sound growth thus is the key environmental policy of the nation’s local media and their statesmen allies  defer to others in the growth machine and public opinion environment necessary for institutional enhancement  this interest in the symbolic issues is thus substantially an after effect of a need for power for other purposes  those who come to the forefront of local government, therefore are not statistically representative of the local population as a whole nor even representative of the social classes which produce them  any political change which succeeded in replacing the land business as the key determinant of the local political dynamic would simultaneously weaken the power of one of the more reactionary political forces in the society LIABILITIES OF THE GROWTH MACHINE  growth does make such pathologies more difficult to deal with the larger the jurisdiction, the more difficult it becomes to achieve the goal of school integration without massive busing schemes  cost is directly related both to size of place and rate of growth at least for middle size cities – especially significant are per capita police costs
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