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?
and corporate-service economy
Growth of corporate-service economy:
In general, postmodern urbanism --
1. Massive and continuing consturction of office space in the inner
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
3. The impact of incipient 'world-class' metropolitan status
on local property markets (84-86).
has rejected 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
Anti-Modernist 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 stadium)]
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 malls, supermarket]
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
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.
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)
Modernist 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)
cites a series of historical and contemporary instances of apparent 'multi-class'
-- "he finds such movements essentially 'reactive' because they
are 'not agents of structural change' but only 'symptoms of resistance
to social domination.' [1983: 326, 329]"
-- 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 state. (112)
-- "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)
". . . 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]" (111)
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 athere are 'many realities,
many truths, many revolutions' (1988:59).
Gentrification and The Residential Landscape -- the widespread transformation,
by middle-class resettlement, of older inner-city neighborhoods formerly
occupied by working-class and underclass communities. ¡K
C 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
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)
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."