Harvey analyzes core issues in city planning and policy--employment and housing location, zoning, transport costs, concentrations of poverty--asking in each case about the relationship between social justice and space. How, for example, do built-in assumptions about planning reinforce existing distributions of income? Rather than leading him to liberal, technocratic solutions, Harvey's line of inquiry pushes him in the direction of a "revolutionary geography," one that transcends the structural limitations of existing approaches to space. Harvey's emphasis on rigorous thought and theoretical innovation gives the volume an enduring appeal. This is a book that raises big questions, and for that reason geographers and other social scientists regularly return to it.
The contributors provide cutting-edge analyses of contemporary urban restructuring, including the issues of neoliberalization, gentrification, colonization, "creative" cities, architecture and political power, sub-prime mortgage foreclosures and the ongoing struggles of "right to the city" movements. At the same time, the book explores the diverse interpretive frameworks – critical and otherwise – that are currently being used in academic discourse, in political struggles, and in everyday life to decipher contemporary urban transformations and contestations. The slogan, "cities for people, not for profit," sets into stark relief what the contributors view as a central political question involved in efforts, at once theoretical and practical, to address the global urban crises of our time.
Drawing upon European and North American scholarship in sociology, politics, geography, urban planning and urban design, the book provides useful insights and perspectives for citizens, activists and intellectuals interested in exploring alternatives to contemporary forms of capitalist urbanization.
"Think Globally, Act Locally" is an oft used phrase to encourage citizens to take steps close to home as part of addressing overarching environmental issues. Critics of this view point to the potential for parochial or even myopic approaches, while supporters argue that it creates both a more sustainable and a more culturally grounded environment. Remaking Metropolis brings together real world experiences that combine local action with a global world view, to demonstrate the continuum between the local and the remote.
At the same time the compartmentalization of contemporary perspectives towards human life in the fields of science, design, ecology, medicine, and politics is leading to increased fragmentation of the mind, body, city, and globe. By bridging these artificial divides between disciplines, this collection of individual case studies demonstrates the holistic approach necessary for a genuinely sustainable urban condition.
Neo-pragmatism is an approach that has been, in the past, best expressed or implied in the writing of Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty, and, in particular, Donald Davidson, John Rawls, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Thomas L. Harper furthers this tradition by providing the context for this theoretical application from his academic background in economics and management as well as his practical experience with political decision-making processes, community planning, and economic development.
The result is a fresh synthesis of ideasâa new approach to thinking about planning theory and its implications for, and relationship with, practice. Philosopher Michael Walzer has asserted that "philosophy reflects and articulates the political culture of its time, and politics presents and enacts the arguments of philosophy." Similarly, the authors view planning theory as planning reflected upon in tranquility, away from the tumult of battle, and planning practice as planning theory acted out in the confusion of the trenches. Each changes the other in a dynamic way, and the authors demonstrate the intimate and inextricable link between them.
Fainstein applies theoretical concepts about justice developed by contemporary philosophers to the concrete problems faced by urban planners and policymakers and argues that, despite structural obstacles, meaningful reform can be achieved at the local level. In the first half of The Just City, Fainstein draws on the work of John Rawls, Martha Nussbaum, Iris Marion Young, Nancy Fraser, and others to develop an approach to justice relevant to twenty-first-century cities, one that incorporates three central concepts: diversity, democracy, and equity. In the book's second half, Fainstein tests her ideas through case studies of New York, London, and Amsterdam by evaluating their postwar programs for housing and development in relation to the three norms. She concludes by identifying a set of specific criteria for urban planners and policymakers to consider when developing programs to assure greater justice in both the process of their formulation and their effects.
Combining his passions for politics and geography, David Harvey charts a cosmopolitan order more appropriate to an emancipatory form of global governance. Political agendas tend to fail, he argues, because they ignore the complexities of geography. Incorporating geographical knowledge into the formation of social and political policy is therefore a necessary condition for genuine democracy.
Harvey begins with an insightful critique of the political uses of freedom and liberty, especially during the George W. Bush administration. Then, through an ontological investigation into geography's foundational concepts space, place, and environment he radically reframes geographical knowledge as a basis for social theory and political action. As Harvey makes clear, the cosmopolitanism that emerges is rooted in human experience rather than illusory ideals and brings us closer to achieving the liberation we seek.
In Seeking Spatial Justice, Soja argues that justice has a geography and that the equitable distribution of resources, services, and access is a basic human right. Building on current concerns in critical geography and the new spatial consciousness, Soja interweaves theory and practice, offering new ways of understanding and changing the unjust geographies in which we live. After tracing the evolution of spatial justice and the closely related notion of the right to the city in the influential work of Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey, and others, he demonstrates how these ideas are now being applied through a series of case studies in Los Angeles, the city at the forefront of this movement. Soja focuses on such innovative labor–community coalitions as Justice for Janitors, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, and the Right to the City Alliance; on struggles for rent control and environmental justice; and on the role that faculty and students in the UCLA Department of Urban Planning have played in both developing the theory of spatial justice and putting it into practice.
Effectively locating spatial justice as a theoretical concept, a mode of empirical analysis, and a strategy for social and political action, this book makes a significant contribution to the contemporary debates about justice, space, and the city.