1. Where are cities?
2. Where are people in cities?
Formal Models
Recent History of Cities
3. Problems of inner cities
Physical, social and economic
Housing, Redevelopment and Gentrification
4. Problems of suburbs?
5. Urban Policy and Planning
• Important point - 3) can not be understood without 4),
and vice versa.
Defining the city
• Impossible to understand the American City
without including the suburb.
• Historian/Geographer Bill Cronon claims
Chicago includes the plains and mountain
region, since Chicago uses these resources.
• As I will use it, the City comprises the Central
City and the Suburb
• What is to be done about the Atlantic Seaboard,
Is it one giant city?
City Life
• Mechanical vs organic solidarity
• Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
– Size, density, and dynamism
– Anomie and deviant bevavior (possible, but not necessary)
• Psychic overload (Georg Simmel – 1905)
• “Lonely Crowd” as liberating
• Louis Wirth
Size, Density and Heterogeneity
City dwellers are withdrawn, impersonal
Unrestrained and self-centered
Fragmentation of social life
• Generalization: Europeans have seen the city more positively
than Americans
City Models
• Concentric Ring
– Economic Rent
• Sector
– History matters
• Multiple Nuclei
– Cities don’t have just
one center
– Functional clusters
Concentric Rings (Burgess) Model
• The city grows
like an onion
Economic Models
• Land use is determined
by which use can earn
the most profit.
• Key factor is the
“willingness to pay” for
accessibility, land and
• Mercantile City (pre 1840)
– Commerce and elites are central
• Early industrial city (-1880)
– Commerce and Industry are central
– Free-for-all development
• Industrial City (-1920)
– Large-scale industrialization
– Generalized housing market
• Suburbanization (-today)
Land use zoning
Subsidized home ownership
Mass-produced housing
• Polycentric metropolis (1970- today)
– Edge Cities – suburban hubs of shops and offices
Urban Realms model
• Our lives are mostly
lived in one realm
• A economic model,
not a social model
Why are the poor centralized?
• Filtering and vacancy chains
• Obsolescence:
• Deindustrialization and the Spatial Mismatch
• Land rent theory
– Space vs Accessibility preferences.
What is Gentrification
• Definitions difficult, but…
• Renovation of housing and community in
older, low income neighborhoods through
the influx of more affluent residents (the
• Is gentrification bad or good?
Good Gentrification
• Reinvestment
• More private investment, less public
• Expansion of tax base without increase of
• Encourages retail activity
Bad Gentrification
• Displaces poor residents (900,000 / year?)
– Disproportionately elderly, female headed
• Raises rents
• Caters to the wants of the wealthy (fancy
pants academics like me call these wants
“consumption patterns”)
Why does it happen I
• David Ley (1996)
– Demand side
– Humanistic
– Cities are hip again
– Rejection of “cookie-cutter” suburbs and
modern downtown highrises.
– Appreciation for places with history and
ethnic/architectural diversity
• Early high-risk moves sanitize the ‘hood,
as well as make it more hip.
Why does it happen II
• Neil Smith (1996)
• “Back to the City” movement of capital
– Preconditions
• “Devalorization” during sprawl era
• Rent gap
– Initation
• Professional developers flipping properties
• Occupier-developers
• Landlord developers
Rent gap
• Capitalized vs
Potential Ground
• Investment,
Disinvestment and
the “spatial fix”