posturban transformation

The May 29th issue of the Economist finally came today and it has one of the most intelligent articles about suburbs that I’ve read lately. It comes back to one of the key issues for my Network City project. Cities, as Lewis Wirth pointed out in his seminal article, Urbanism as a Way of Life, had traditionally been places of difference, places in which individuals from rural backgrounds were deterritorialized (to use Deleuzean terms) to become new, urban beings. But something strange has happened over the last two decades.

The Economist piece "An Age of Transformation" talks about how minorities, immigrants, and increasingly, gays and lesbians are leaving cities (one staggering statistic: at current rates of departure, there will not be a single African American in Los Angeles by 2050). As the global city becomes increasingly homogeneous, today’s advocates of the creative city may seem as backwards to us as Corbusier did to Jane Jacobs. 

 

The May 29th issue of the Economist finally came today and it has one of the most intelligent articles about suburbs that I’ve read lately. It comes back to one of the key issues for my Network City project. Cities, as Lewis Wirth pointed out in his seminal article, Urbanism as a Way of Life, had traditionally been places of difference, places in which individuals from rural backgrounds were deterritorialized (to use Deleuzean terms) to become new, urban beings. But something strange has happened over the last two decades.

The Economist piece "An Age of Transformation" talks about how minorities, immigrants, and increasingly, gays and lesbians are leaving cities (one staggering statistic: at current rates of departure, there will not be a single African American in Los Angeles by 2050). As the global city becomes increasingly homogeneous, today’s advocates of the creative city may seem as backwards to us as Corbusier did to Jane Jacobs. 

 

2 thoughts on “posturban transformation

  1. global suburb
    it’s not just the changing american suburbia that has distorted the notion of suburb. suburbs, like anything else americana, were exported to europe and latin america throughout the fifties and sixties, and more recently to asia, and i’m not only talking about these mock-up copycat suburbs (orange county china etc.) the suburban germ has been mutating for quite some time now. i spotted an exhibit at mimi zeiger’s blog (worlds away at the walker art center), which seems terribly interesting as well.

    http://design.walkerart.org/worldsaway/

  2. Does suburb or suburbia even
    Does suburb or suburbia even have any meaning now? I can think of dozens of types of suburbs in the East Coast, off the top of my head. I find it difficult to pin down the exact distinction between city and suburb that the article notes, beyond geographic and political boundaries, which have been relatively static since the 1920s, more or less. (Unless a consolidation like Marion County/Indianapolis.) Though the demographic shifts the Economist notes are interesting, I feel this is more the case of journalism catching up with post-1945 urbanism sixty years late. Does every article on suburbs have to mention Levittown (not to mention cite Kunstler or the tedious Kotkin)?

    Also, not necessarily a propos, but for some reason popped into my head:

    New York is gradually, year by year, becoming the home of the very rich and the very poor.

    New York Herald (April 19, 1877)

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