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The Political Economy of Capital Cities by Heike Mayer, Fritz Sager, David Kaufmann, and Martin Warland (London and New York, Routledge, 2018)

Reviewed by: Sabina E. Deitrick, University of Pittsburgh

“Not all capital cities are alike,” Sir Peter Hall began a chapter on capital cities in a 2006 volume by David Gordon. The Political Economy of Capital Cities begins with this same premise and addresses many important economic development issues for a specific set of capital cities in Europe and North America identified as smaller cities in their nation’s economic landscape. These so-called ‘secondary’ capital cities have fulfilled different roles historically but are joined together in that they truly are – at least until most recently – second tier economic centers in their own nations and especially when compared to global capital cities.

Bern, The Hague, Ottawa, and Washington, D.C. are the study capitals of this interesting and compelling volume. Analyzing and comparing the histories, political-institutional settings, and economic characteristics of these cities create the conditions for understanding why it’s important not to overlook secondary capitals and their economic geographies.

The four capital cities shared common aspects in that all were chosen as national capitals to balance power and proximity in federalist systems but differed when selected by their economic and physical importance at the time. Despite differences in history, the authors build their case that these secondary capital cities have become knowledge-based economies that now drive regional innovation systems. They find that, over decades, the forces for the new political economy of secondary capital cities are characterized by changing relations between public demand and private supply, led by knowledge-driven private firms and innovation. The benefits of location and the ability of firms to enter into regional innovation networks through interactions and embedded knowledge with the public sector has changed the economic geography of Washington, D.C., Ottawa, The Hague, and Bern in today’s national and global economies.

Pages: 182

The reviewer may be reached via e-mail at sabinad@pitt.edu.

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This article can be found in the Special Issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Rural Migrants in Transitional Chinese Cities: Marginality, Agency, and Social Justice.

This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.

To move or to stay in a migrant enclave in Beijing: The role of neighborhood social bonds, by Mingjie Sheng, Chaolin Gu, & Weiping Wu

Abstract

The social integration of migrants in developing countries has long been an important issue in academic research, and analyzing migrants’ intentions to stay in current migrant enclaves may shed light on how they view their prospects in host cities. Given the importance of migrant social bonds in helping to build their urban lives, this article evaluates the effect of neighborhood social bonds on migrants’ intentions to stay in migrant enclaves. Based on data collected from one of the largest migrant enclaves in Beijing in 2012, this article concludes that neighborhood social bonds, rather than residential satisfaction, act as the strongest predictor of intention to stay as well as intervening variables. However, some widely accepted moving triggers among urban residents show little effect in this study, suggesting that China’s migrants follow a different mobility decision-making process because of institutional barriers.

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This article can be found in the Special Issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Rural Migrants in Transitional Chinese Cities: Marginality, Agency, and Social Justice.

This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.

The impacts of city-specific factors on social integration of Chinese migrant workers: A study using multilevel modeling, by Ming Tian, Zheng Tian, &Wei Sun

Abstract

Rural migrants in China often face obstacles that prevent them from integrating economically and socially into their host cities. We explore the effects of host city–specific factors on the social integration of migrant workers in this article. To do this, we use a survey data set that includes a sample of migrants in nine cities in eastern and central China. We estimate a multilevel linear model (MLM), taking into account both individual and city characteristics; in the first place, we show that female, highly educated migrants who accompany their family members to new host cities are most easily integrated into local society. Regarding city-specific factors, individuals who move into urban areas within their own provinces where the dialect is similar and there is a relatively small existing rural migrant population tend to more easily integrate. We show that the economic conditions of a host city can exert both positive and negative effects on social integration.

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This article can be found in the Special Issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Rural Migrants in Transitional Chinese Cities: Marginality, Agency, and Social Justice.

This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.

Migrants on exhibition: The emergence of migrant worker museums in China as a neoliberal experiment on governance, by Junxi Qian & Junwan’guo Guo

Abstract

This article develops a critical investigation of the recent emergence of migrant worker museums (MWMs) in Chinese cities. Though studies on migrant workers in urban China have examined in detail the state and popular discourses that construct migrants as uncivilized and inferior, limited attention has been dedicated to a more recent line of discursive formulation, which idealizes and romanticizes migrant workers as docile, hard-working subjects making laudable contribution to the development of postreform urban China. The MWMs are built in accord with such new discourses. With a detailed analysis of the MWMs in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, this article argues that MWMs depoliticize both the domains of labor and everyday life and render invisible exploitative labor relations by eulogizing migrant labor; advocating enterprising, self-reliant migrant subjects; and praising the generous care of the state. Hence, though the MWMs contribute to reversing the negative stereotypes of migrant workers, they can nonetheless be theorized as a neoliberal experiment on the governance of people and labor.

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The past few days on our social media accounts we have been sharing some metrics from our year in 2018. Take a look below for a comprehensive account of our top cited articles and downloads!

The following articles are the top cited articles from 2018 that were originally published in 2016:

The next set of articles are the top cited articles from 2018 that were originally published in 2017:

Finally, as shown below, is a graph that shows the growth in our article downloads since publication with Routledge, beginning in 2017:

Thank you all for viewing our articles and helping us to increase these download numbers!

To be prepared for what 2019 has in store please follow us on our social media accounts on Facebook (@JournalofUrbanAffairs) and on Twitter (@JUAurban). And don’t forget, our third Special Issue of 2019 is available for download now!

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This article can be found in the Special Issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Rural Migrants in Transitional Chinese Cities: Marginality, Agency, and Social Justice.

This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.

Unraveling the marginalization of new generation peasant workers in China: Cultural reproduction and symbolic construction, by Kun Wan & Shenjing He

Abstract

As China accelerates its urbanization progress, the once homogenous peasant worker group has now become more diversified with the rise of a new generation of peasant workers (NGPWs). Whereas previous literature is preoccupied with making intergenerational comparisons or recounting their marginality, how they become marginalized in the first place continues to be an on-topic area of research. Referring to theories of cultural reproduction and social stigmatization, this study adds to the body of literature by underscoring the often-neglected cultural dimension of marginality. We introduce a temporal dimension in examining NGPWs’ cultural marginality by first tracing back to their pre-urban education process and then unraveling the stigmatization of their cultural identity in cities. Methodologically, it incorporates macro-institutional and micro-individual perspectives, based on both qualitative and quantitative data. We argue that NGPWs’ inferior position in the urban social hierarchy is to a great extent determined by their marginalized cultural capital, which is molded by both institutional education and family education. After NGPWs enter the urban labor market, their identity is further stigmatized by the hegemonic symbol producers. Cultural reproduction is essentially a “group-making” process leading to the “mass production” of NGPWs and class consolidation, and the hegemonic urban discourse system enforces a symbolic construction of their stigmatized cultural identity.

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This Special Issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs presents a set of articles regarding rural migrants in transitional Chinese cities, with a focus on marginality, agency, and social justice.

. Below you will find the table of contents and links to the eight articles in the issue.

All articles currently have free access and are available to read.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Rural migrants in transitional urban China: Marginality, agency and social justice, by
Shenjing He, Junxi Qian & June Wang

2. Unraveling the marginalization of new generation peasant workers in China: Cultural reproduction and symbolic construction, by Kun Wang & Shenjing He

3. Migrants on exhibition: The emergence of migrant worker museums in China as a neoliberal experiment on governance, by Junxi Qian & Junwan’guo Guo

4. The impacts of city-specific factors on social integration of Chinese migrant workers: A study using multilevel modeling, by Ming Tian, Zheng Tian & Wei Sun

5. To move or to stay in a migrant enclave in Beijing: The role of neighborhood social bonds, by Mingjie Sheng, Chaolin Gu & Weiping Wu

6. The return intentions of China’s rural migrants: A study of Nanjing and Suzhou, by Shuangshuang Tang & Pu Hao

7. Economic incentives and settlement intentions of rural migrants: Evidence from China, by Jie Chen & Wei Wanginnovations, by Bruno Paschoal & Kai Wegrich

8. Mixed embeddedness and entrepreneurial activities of rural migrants in the host region: The case of Yuhuan City, China, by Huasheng Zhu, Junwei Feng & Fenghua Pan

Each article will be featured in individual posts in the upcoming weeks, and be sure to check out all of the book reviews published in this Special Issue as well!

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Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.

Challenging the market logic of school choice: A spatial analysis of charter school expansion in Chicago, by Stephanie Farmer, Chris D. Poulos, & Ashley Baber

Abstract:

Corporate education reformers take for granted that market competition in the public schools system will improve education conditions. We conducted a spatial analysis of Chicago Public Schools, examining the spatial features of charter school expansion in relation to under-18 population decline, school utilization, and school closure locations. Our findings indicate that 69% of new charter schools were opened in areas with significantly declining under-18 population and approximately 80% of charter schools were opened within walking distance of closed school locations. Our findings show, contrary to corporate education reform logic, that a competitive charter school market created spatial and financial inefficiencies resulting in school closures and systemwide budgetary cuts primarily impacting distressed neighborhoods. We explain the overproduction of charter schools through the lens of the firm-like behavior of charter school operators driven by a self-interested growth mandate that can undermine the stability of the public schools system as a whole.

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Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.

Surviving suburban redevelopment: Resisting the displacement of immigrant-owned small businesses in Wheaton, Maryland, by Willow S. Lung-Amam

Abstract:

In the past several decades, the suburbs of many U.S. metropolitan regions have seen rising levels of poverty, immigration, and racial and ethnic diversity. At the same time, suburban redevelopment has led to more “urban-like” development patterns and struggles over gentrification and displacement. In a case study of Wheaton, Maryland, this article explores how redevelopment impacted suburban immigrants and small businesses and how they fought back. Using interviews with key stakeholders and secondary documents about Wheaton’s redevelopment, it shows several challenges to advancing equitable development in suburbs, including the capacity of community-based organizations, political representation, and limited government policies and programs. However, grassroots activists and grasstops policymakers have slowly built the capacity of communities to balance the scales of development. As suburbs redevelop, the article offers lessons about the consequences for socially and economically vulnerable groups and the political and community-based structures and support needed to advance equitable outcomes.

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Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online prior to print.

Speculators and specters: Diverse forms of second homeowner engagement in Boston, Massachusetts, by Meaghan Stiman

Abstract:

Drawing on interview data with second homeowners, this article identifies and explains diverging modes of second homeowner engagement in Boston, Massachusetts. Though recent scholarship suggests that second homeowners’ primary form of engagement is through financial transactions in real estate, this analysis uncovers 2 kinds of second homeowners—whom I call city speculators and city specters—who engage with the city in other, yet consequential ways. City speculators engage in city-building projects through direct civic and political participation and place-entrepreneurial activities and are motivated to do so by the pursuit and promise of economic capital. City specters more inconspicuously shape the contours of urban life through donations to and participation in elite, high cultural institutions. Specters suggest that they are not motivated by economic capital but by the high cultural value that their second home engagements afford. Documenting these differences sheds light on a growing group of urban dwellers, demonstrates and explains the heterogeneity of affluent in-migrants’ practices and variable place-making projects, and underscores the complex set of challenges that cities face today.

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