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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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Understanding Change in Today’s Changing Urban Mosaic

Understanding Change in Today’s Changing Urban Mosaic

(p.23) Chapter 2 Understanding Change in Today’s Changing Urban Mosaic
Claiming Neighborhood

John J. Betancur

Janet L. Smith

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the effects of classifying neighborhoods based on ecological indicators, both in the form of representations of space and in the policies/interventions derived from their use. It starts with the assumption that existing theories of neighborhood change have given rise to a particular discursive space in which to interpret urban dynamics. After tracing the origin and evolution of the stable homogeneous neighborhood rooted in human ecology theory, the chapter considers two recent efforts to classify Chicago neighborhoods that demonstrate how we can investigate differently and better understand neighborhoods as sites of consumption and flexible accumulation as well as social reproduction. It shows that today's neighborhoods are spaces of social control in which institutions in a particular combination play a supervisory role and everybody inhabiting the space is expected to reproduce specific positions. The chapter concludes by proposing an alternative view for interpreting neighborhood change.

Keywords:   neighborhood, urban dynamics, homogeneous neighborhood, human ecology theory, Chicago, consumption, flexible accumulation, social reproduction, social control, neighborhood change

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