Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place by John R. LoganA classic of urban sociology, using a deceptively simple framework for assessing urban development, by asking who controls the exchange value of a given urban site, and how their power lines up against the stakeholders of the (current) use value of the urban locale. Ironically, there appears to be a deep conservatism at the root of the book -- that is, a bias in favor of urban incumbents, over those who would change the urban fabric to make way for new kinds of uses. Certainly many of the latter or often motivated by little more than venality, and often their would-be clients are not a particularly pleasant lot (bourgies); but this hardly means that we should romanticize the daily round of the urban incumbents. Even seen from the point of view of the urban poor, achieving historical social justice may be easier through mobility to new locales than through attempts to force incumbent urban power structures to be more fair by holding developers hostage. Often the only choice facing the urban poor is continued poverty and social exclusion in their current site, on the one hand, versus displacement on the other. The fact that many of the urban poor move out of their incumbent neighborhoods as soon as they have the money to do so and social barriers to mobility (e.g. segregation, formal or otherwise) are removed, is a good sign that these are neighborhoods that do not necessarily warrant defense in their current mode. In short, just because developers act as urban vandals doesnt mean that the thing that they are vandalizing is necessarily all that nice. That has to be assessed on a case by case basis.
ISBN 13: 9780520063419
John Logan and Harvey Molotch are concerned with the way in which land values impact city growth as well as the way in which the pursuit of profiting from land values influences life chances. Their view is that commodification of places and the political economy have great influence over city growth. Through land monopolies and collective action, growth entrepreneurs secure control of property for profit through exchange values. Their goal is to mask the negative consequences the growth machine has on society and urban development. Houses are not just places where we live, housing is viewed as a commodity that can be bought and exchanged, creating value; value that Logan and Molotch term as special use values and special exchange value. Places hold special use value as they are not disposable and are available for continued use, and unlike other commodities, their price does not decrease following use.
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John R. Logan , Harvey Luskin Molotch. That is the fundamental assumption of Urban Fortunes. Compared to some other approaches to an urban sociology, we get physical. We study the land and how real estate becomes a commodity that people put buildings on.