The axioms and anxieties associated with the perceived decline of the North American city (particularly that within the U.S. context) became a defining feature of the cultural politics of the 1970s and 1980s. Nevertheless, the once pervasive disavowal of the very idea, let alone the experience, of the contemporary city has been conclusively arrested by a perceptible economic and emotional (re)turn to North Americas urban landscapes. Certainly, today's vibrant city spaces bear little resemblance to the dystopic urban environments that dominated public perceptions and experiences of the American city less than a generation ago. Wrought by broader shifts from industrial to postindustrial orders (Harvey 1989), and attendant transformations in the dominant mode of economic (re)production and regulation (see, e.g., Gottdiener 2000; MacLeod, Raco, and Ward 2003), cities (as understood to be the confluence of particular social, cultural, economic, and political forces and spatial arrangements associated with the instantiation of modernity/the modern) have become preoccupied with the reconstitution of urban space- or more accurately, select parcels of urban America-into multifaceted environments designed for the purpose of encouraging consumption-oriented capital accumulation (Friedman, Andrews, and Silk 2004; Zukin 1991). The presence of, in various permutations, shopping malls, themed restaurants and bars, entertainment-oriented museum and gallery installations, gentrified housing developments, conference complexes, waterfront pleasure places, and professional sport mega-complexes has, at least partially, precipitated the advancement of a new epoch in the material (re)formation of the American urban landscape. High-profile redevelopment zones within cities such as Baltimore, Cleveland, Memphis, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle (see, e.g., Bockmeyer 2000; Davis 1990; Friedman, Andrews, and Silk 2004; Gibson 2003; Harvey 2000; Silk 2004, 2007; Silk and Andrews 2008; Soja 1989) are the primary vehicles through which the culture of the city in general, and that of specific cities in particular, has been symbolically (re)defined in more positive terms to both internal and external constituencies alike. The subsequent rush to instantiate "spectacular urban space" (Harvey 2001, 92) can thus be seen as a response to ever more intensifying interplace competition, waged on the terrain of what have become increasingly domineering logics of flexible, diversified capital accumulation, and through which new urban economies based on tourism, entertainment, and culture (Gottdiener 2000; Judd and Simpson 2003; Savitch and Kantor 2003) have come to the fore.
|Title of host publication||Project Muse 4|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|