Politics and the City

Chapter 5 discusses the idea of changing geographies and how important urbanization is. Painter points out that urbanization is an ongoing process despite the fact that most people would believe it is a thing or a phenomenon. Urbanization has no distinct boundaries despite the fact that it is an ongoing process across and within a specific place. Urbanization is a much more generalized term that exceeds the boundaries of discrete places.  During the last century, the world has experienced a rapid rate of population growth.  This dramatic growth of populations is causing the urban populations to exceed formal city limits.  This population growth also causes an increased level of diversity within cities due to migrant labor among other factors.  The urban labor markets have been influenced by the disproportion of wage distribution which has caused a diverse mix of consumption patterns.

The topic of urbanization also brings up an important topic of infrastructure and the struggles of keeping up with the dramatic growth of populations within urban areas. When I think about infrastructure, I look at how every human being has to function on infrastructure. From the work force to everyday home living, infrastructure is always present. This idea can sometimes be overlooked until the idea comes to an end for some reason. Infrastructure can also be considered interdependent. An example of this aspect of infrastructure would be that the United States depends on foreign oil (when consumers and producers depend on each other). Human beings dependence on infrastructure has caused those people living in urban areas to be vulnerable. With that being said, however, we cannot say that ALL human beings rely on infrastructure. Chapter 5 also discusses the idea that those individuals that inhabit informal settlements live without any dependence on infrastructure. This reasoning is because infrastructure is rarely present in these settlements. Members of such areas are not treated equally as are other, more fortunate individuals living around the same area. These individuals would be considered poor because they do not have the privilege of getting the same public services that wealthier individuals would. To someone living in an informal population, their ideas and views of gentrification would be negative.

Gentrification, as described in the book, is initially related to housing. It referred to the movement of middle-class household into working-class or former industrial parts of the city. With that definition in mind, while many middle class individuals might view gentrification as being beneficial because it helps to improve urban areas, those people living an informal way of life would look at this as negative. The book describes scenarios where low-income people would be evicted from their homes and the homeless would have to relocate to another area so that the neighborhood could be rebuilt.

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