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Claiming NeighborhoodNew Ways of Understanding Urban Change$
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John J Betancur and Janet L Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040504

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040504.001.0001

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Prevailing Approaches to the Study of Neighborhoods and Change

Prevailing Approaches to the Study of Neighborhoods and Change

(p.1) Chapter 1 Prevailing Approaches to the Study of Neighborhoods and Change
Claiming Neighborhood

John J. Betancur

Janet L. Smith

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines prevailing approaches to the study of neighborhoods and neighborhood change, paying attention to how they help describe and explain as well as produce urban dynamics. It begins with a chronological review of the early work of the Chicago School and subsequent theories it generated—filtering, life cycle, racial tipping, and revitalization—and the corresponding assumptions each makes about the cause of neighborhood change. It then discusses critical approaches that interpret neighborhood change in terms of the social relations of reproduction, capital accumulation, and control of surplus value. It also looks at the issue of community vs. commodity and the notion that neighborhoods are relatively homogeneous and occupied by a majority white, middle- or higher-income homeowners. It argues that both mainstream and critical frameworks not only homogenize neighborhood space in terms of class and race but also conflate the relationship between the physical place and the social space that leads to specific expectations for the site and its occupants. It shows that each variation in neighborhood change theories reproduced social norms about what constitutes a neighborhood.

Keywords:   neighborhood, neighborhood change, urban dynamics, racial tipping, capital accumulation, community, commodity, class, race, social space

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