| Major Argument: This chapter explores
the emergence of postmodernist urbanism and of the residential
geography of the corporate city, broader processes in which middle-class
resettlement of older inner-city neighborhoods in any
given setting must be placed.
Issues for Discussion: 1. In what
ways is Taipei also a postmodern city?
2. Of the different views on the possibilities of social movements
in postmodern city, which do you agree with?
de-industrialization and corporate-service economy
In general, postmodern
1. Massive and continuing consturction of office space in the
2. The growth of Toronto' s corporate gentry meant a proliferation
through downtown of these kinds of restaurants and of high-priced
shops and specialty boutiques whose exclusive merchandise and
impeccably furnished interiors affirmed ¡K the taste and discrimination
of their customers and clients.
3. The impact of incipient 'world-class' metropolitan
status on local property markets (84-86).
modernism' s perception of the historical city as a problem
to be solved by comprehensive restructuring according to ¡Ka
'universal architecture' committed to a 'unified organization
of life' . In contrast, among postmodernist planning' s
central principles has been a celebration of traditional
urban form and social and cultural heterogeneity. (97)
City Form [intellectual influences of J. Jacobs,
Mumford, and Venturi]
[e.g. the re-introduction
of the old form of ballfield (instead of the massive, multipurpose
In Toronto, postmodernist urbanism has been evident
in the preservation and often renovation of older residential
housing and neighbourhoods, commercial strips, and downtown
office and institutional buildings. ¡Kin the construction of
new housing and retail facilities compatible with, rather
than dissonant from, the city' s historical fabric. (99)
[vernacularism and nostalgia
as a popular commercial trend, e.g. in restaurants, in
- J. Jacobs -- argued
that modernist design eviscerated the spatial logic of historical
urban fabric and stripped cities of an organic capacity
for social vitality and economic regeneration.
- Mumford -- condemned
modernism's treatment of the city according to the analogue
of the machine, an outlook that he believed engendered
a ruthless disregard for communcal and humanizing qualities
of traditional urban culture and landscape.
- Venturi -- attacked
modernism's compulsion for orderly and heroic cityscapes that
erased old urban quartiers whose diverse architectural forms
expressed distinct local patterns of everyday life.
(underline added; pp. 102-103)
- For Mumford and
Venturi, modernist form severed city-dwellers' everyday connections
from who they had been, by destroying continuity with
urban landscapes of the past, by replacing local vernacular
architecutres with a monolothic 'internationalist' architecture
imposed from outside. . ."
This kind of
fetishization of postmodernist styles yields landscapes and
interiors that have a kind of Disneyesque quality, ¡K (105)
urbanism' s utopia is a 'voiceless object of ... deduction'
, an uncovered metaphysical truth to which metropolitan life
shall henceforth conform. In contrast, post-modernist urbanism
conceives of a multiciplicty of diverse and reverberating lifeworlds,
'a plurality of full valid voices' (Bakhtin 1984: 34),
whose combination moves toward an unknown city.
Postmodernism and Urban Social Movements
The book argues that
the process of middle-class resettlement has constituted, in
part, a critical social movement: a collective social action
undertaken in 'resistance to tendencies [of dominant groupings
and institutions] to colonize the lifeworld' or in opposition
to 'existing forms of closure and repression'" (110)
- Castells cites a series of historical and contemporary
instances of apparent 'multi-class' movements.
-- "he finds such movements essentially 'reactive'
because they are 'not agents of structural change' but only
'symptoms of resistance to social domination.' [1983: 326,
-- directed at the worng 'targets' precisely because
they are oriented toward specific, more parochail circumstances
rather than general, more strategic objectives - say, processes
of 'economic production' or the working of technocratic central
-- "he sees their ultimate value mainly in terms of their
capacity for 'nurturing the embryos' of later movements
that may be more effectively directed." (113)
- Harvey ". . . views urban forms in the context
of a determining economic structuralism.. . .Harvey
conceives suburbs as simply 'the creation of the capitalist
mode of production.' . . . postmodern urbanism
. . . as 'nothing more than the cultural clothing' of the
new economic order visible in cities like Toronto - deindustrializing
metropolitan areas functioning in the framework of an emerging
global economy of flexible accumulation [Harvey 1987: 279]"
- Warren Magnusson and Rob Walker -- "it is
the very strength of many contemporary critical social formations
that they are rooted in particular local circumstances;
they arise as concrete practices in relation to specific dilemmas
in a complex world where there are 'many realities, many
truths, many revolutions' (1988:59).
The Residential Landscape -- the widespread transformation,
by middle-class resettlement, of older inner-city neighborhoods
formerly occupied by working-class and underclass communities.
argues that the seeds of gentrification have included patterns
of critical social practice and that the 'gentrified' landscape
is highly paradoxical, embodying both the emerging dominance
of a deindustrialized urban economy and an immanent critique
of contemporary city-building.
the context of Toronto' s 'gentrification' -- These
include the emergence of a popular movement of municipal 'reformism,'
arising to contest the city-building practices of modernism
and boosterism; heightening patterns of deindustrialzation
and the parallel growth of the city's corporate economy and
culture; and three key facets of inner-city demographic
and neighborhood change. (Par I, 3 61-92)
Four sets of attitudes were
at the roots of reformism. They arose in the contexts
of: traditional popular outlooks toward city-building in Toronto;
changing values in planning and related professions; the growth
of the city' s young adult population affiliated with marginal
political and cultural groupings; and the increasing number
of middle-class households settling in the inner city. (67)
Inner-City Demographic Shifts -- 3 groups:
1. Chinese community, 2. Gay community, 3. Marginal young people
assoicated with the arts and bohemian communities. [They are
relatively smaller communities, but they have strong impact
on the forms, functions and meanings of particular inner-city
"One argument of this book is that middle-class resettlement
of older inner-city neighbourhoods in Toronto is at least partly
rooted in the critical and sometimes utopian subtext of postmodernist
urbanism¡Xthat among the seeds of 'gentrification' have
been, first, resistance among a specific segment of city-dwellers
to certain key aspects of the contruction of contemporary urban
space (particularly modernism and suburbanism as
theswe have been refracted through the interest of capital and
the state), and, second, an impulse toward a more human and
more urbane city." (p. 109)