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  • Series: Research Handbooks in Geography series x
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Ilse Van Liempt and Francesco Vecchio

Refugees are both the outcome and the cause of processes of globalization. Their number has increased in recent years, illustrating the massive population shifts away from rural, marginalized and impoverished lives into larger, networked cities. When refugee networks expand, new resources become available; eventually more people are able to move along these established paths. Simultaneously, different state policies, politics and refugees’ growing dependency on third parties for their migration impact on and cause a distortion in refugee mobility. While many refugees continue to head for hard-to-reach yet desirable cities in Europe – for example, London – other refugees in developing countries now pragmatically head for countries – such as Hong Kong – that are more open to migration and/or less capable of enforcing immigration regulations. This chapter examines the interplay between global economics, states and refugees, arguing that Agamben’s conditions of ‘exception’ in relation to refugee camps also apply to those of refugees in cities. At the same time, such conditions are conducive to certain refugee agency.

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Tim Schwanen and Denver V. Nixon

Like other fields, Urban Geography has experienced an ‘infrastructural turn’ over the past two decades or so. This is in part because of the large interest in, and sometimes controversy over, infrastructures among state authorities, supranational bodies, businesses, civil society organizations and other actors. Another driver behind the infrastructural turn has been the realization that infrastructures offer a useful and effective lens on the contemporary urban condition, nature–society relations, everyday life and experience in the city, and politics and governance in specific spaces and times. This chapter reviews the sprawling literature about infrastructures in Urban Geography through discussion of four tensions that cut across it: between visibility and invisibility, connection and disconnection, standardisation and differentiation and normalcy and disruption. It then illustrates these infrastructural tensions through a focus on cycling infrastructures in London and São Paulo.

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Markus Hesse

This chapter takes a critical look at city regions from an urban geography perspective. As subject matter, it first identifies city regions that have evolved through the course of urban growth and expansion, representing an assemblage of an urban core and associated neighbour cities and suburbs that are functionally linked. Second, it also addresses the specialization of some of these city regions that host advanced services, political functions, higher education infrastructure or gateway functions, which make them being classified as ‘metropolitan’ regions. Further, it emphasizes the processes through which regions are labelled and thus created as metropolitan areas: ‘metropolization’. This labelling includes indicator-based observations, political manifestations and also discursive representations.

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Tom Hutton

Cultural industries develop on a base of institutions, territory, social and human capital, and agglomeration economies. Digital technology is allied with arts and design capabilities in production processes, while the Internet is a critical channel for outsourcing and marketing. Cities generate important demand factors for cultural products and services, including the consumption preferences of the new middle class and, more recently, aspirational cohorts of high net worth individuals deploying high-value cultural cues to signal status. Space, place and territory represent critical factors in the cultural economy of the city: artists represent the vanguard of gentrifiers within the inner city, while many creative enterprises exhibit a preference for the textured landscapes of heritage districts. But as high-value design firms displaced the early populations of artists in the first decade of the twenty-first century, cultural industries are dislodged from their preferred territories in the city by waves of ‘innovation economy’ industries characterized by deeper technological content and higher profit potential.

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Jonathan Ward and Phil Hubbard

There is now a substantial academic literature in urban studies critiquing the way that restrictive ideas of culture are deployed in urban policy, to the exclusion of many forms of vernacular creativity whose role in urban life remains unacknowledged. The way that the visual arts are often deemed an appropriate mechanism for urban regeneration is a case in point, with many schemes to reinvigorate declining or shrinking cities pursuing strategies based on the creation of arts quarters or flagship art galleries. This chapter examines the consequences of such strategies, taking the example of Folkestone (England), a town struggling with legacies of post-industrialism associated with the decline of its port status. Exploring the way that Folkestone is being reinvented as a ‘cultural destination’, the chapter highlights the limitations of this approach, focusing on the way that current policies have alienated and excluded certain forms of local creativity at the same time they have encouraged a putative gentrification process that threatens to displace those that arts-based gentrification set out to assist.

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Andrés Luque-Ayala and Simon Marvin

Smart urbanism (SU) is emerging at the intersection of visions for the future of urban places, new technologies and infrastructures. SU discourses are deeply rooted in seductive and normative visions of the future where digital technology stands as the primary driver for change. Yet our understanding of the opportunities, challenges, and implications of SU is limited. Research in this field is in its infancy, fragmented along disciplinary lines and often based on single city case studies. As a result, we lack both the theoretical insight and empirical evidence required to assess the implications of this potentially transformative phenomenon. There is an urgent need to critically engage with why, how, for whom and with what consequences SU is emerging in different urban contexts. This review unpacks the different logics and rationales behind SU discourses and proposals, in this way understanding the ways by which imaginaries of urban futures are currently being constructed, along with their socio-technical and political implications for future research priorities.

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Jon Coaffee

From the 1970s onwards, Western governments have sought to defend selective urban areas from terrorist attack through a plethora of measures aimed at territorially controlling space both physically and technologically where the disruption to the orderly flow of commerce, or other activities, is minimized. This chapter tracks the changes to the landscape of Britain’s financial heart, the City of London, from the 1990s to the current day, as its leaders and security agents have sought to defend the area from terrorist attack through the construction of territorially-bounded security cordons – so-called ‘rings of steel’ – that can be characterized by regulatory management, fortification and surveillance, which aim explicitly to categorise, divide and control urban space. This chapter also considers how in the post-9/11 era consideration of the ability of cities to continue to thrive against an ever-present threat of terrorism through the enhancement of urban resilience have come to dominate urban security agendas.

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Chris Hamnett

Urban inequality has existed for as long as cities have existed, although the size, scale and form of inequalities will vary from time to time and place to place. Urban inequality has been a continuing concern for many social commentators, social scientists, politicians and policy makers. This chapter discusses key definitional issues with regard to urban inequality. It then goes on to reflect on its geographical scope, its forms and dimensions, including inequalities of resources, access and capabilities. It also covers underlying structural inequalities in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, and income and wealth. The chapter also analyses the role of the state and market in promoting or reducing inequality, including the impact of austerity policies.

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Masayoshi Oka and David W. S. Wong

Segregation is one form of stratification in a society, and is a complex phenomenon resulted from multiple societal forces at work. In this chapter, we highlight the pervasiveness of segregation across different socio-geographical spaces and between population groups classified according to socio-demographic characteristics. We review some issues related to the measurement of segregation, particularly the inability of traditional measures in capturing the spatial nature of segregation. Using data from two cities in the United States, we demonstrate how the local spatial isolation index (SIi) can be used to assess the interplay between racial-ethnic and socio-economic groups at the neighbourhood (or local) level. Analyzing relationships between these population groups can provide valuable information toward the understanding of the complexity of segregation in today’s increasingly stratified societies.

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Sako Musterd, Roger Andersson and George Galster

Residents, academics, and policy makers frequently believe that certain neighbourhood compositions impact on opportunities of those who are exposed to them. Social outcomes such as those connected to employment, levels of education and income and the risk of becoming involved in illegal activity, are frequently seen as influenced by the neighbourhood one is living in. However, isolating the so-called ‘neighbourhood effect’ on social outcomes from other impacts on these outcomes is not trivial. In this chapter we address some of the challenges researchers and policy makers are confronted with when getting involved in ‘neighbourhood effects’ debates. Challenges include conceptual issues related to the types of contexts (residential, work, school) and types of compositions (social or other); questions related to the scales to consider, and how to approach the temporal dimension; issues about what mechanisms would produce the effects; and methodological issues (data types, model choices, sources of bias, detecting thresholds).