Review by Choice Review
This fascinating collection of papers deconstructs the conceit that informs its organization, namely, that urban theory can be based on the characteristics of a single city (e.g., Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago). The strongest essays (Amy Bridges and John Mollenkopf among them) demonstrate that easy generalizations about the most prominent US cities are often unsustainable. A particularly skillful essay by Robert Beauregard argues that city-based theory is cast too narrowly to unveil the mechanics of urbanism, but is also cast too broadly to reveal cities in their interesting uniqueness. Thoughtful essays consider the overlooked role of the mayor in US cities (Larry Bennett) and the importance of the differences of race, class, and relation. There is an implicit but underexamined suggestion throughout all of the essays that the next challenge of urban theory is to develop conceptual tools to account for the local dimensions of globalism. Judd and Simpson (Both, Univ. of Illinois) do a good job of orchestrating lively disagreements among the contributors on various points, which makes for good reading. They also balance theoretical essays with case study and demographic analysis. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduate students, graduate students, and research faculty. R. M. Flanagan CUNY College of Staten Island
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