Politics and the City

It is no surprise that with this new concept of “urban politics”, we are yet again presented with an incredibly ambiguous term. While having many meanings, it does not really have one. The previous concepts of “place” and “territory” can be applied fairly easily in regards to this new concept. All three of these concepts bring up the idea of being a process. They are always changing due to social influences, economic influences, and others. And just like “place” and “territory”, I never would have thought about urban politics as having changed over time.

The book brings up the differences between traditional urban politics, and modernized urban politics. Nowadays, it is very difficult, if even possible to put a perimeter on a city, or to define what makes a city, in fact, a city. Back in the day there was arguably a more distinct set of expectations are defining characteristics of the city. Now, however, cities hold a complex set of characteristics, and those characteristics are in no way universal across the globe. The culture has become increasingly diverse in cities, to a point where there may as well be cities within cities. Each separate cultural areas of a city develop their own characteristics separate from other parts of the same city. So, taking what we have learned of “politics” and how much social aspects determine how the politics sway, it is easy to apply that to urban politics as well.

It is interesting how the wealth or civil success of a city plays in to the politics. Mumbai, India is an interesting example of the influence of civil engineering. In Mumbai, they have a very large population, and could be considered wide-reaching as far as their reach; however, the social or rather technological evolution is very slow to take place, and so it effects how social characteristics show themselves, and how those characteristics then effect urban politics.

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