The global trope and urban redevelopment: The American experience

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This paper examines a new “political opportunity structure” in United States Rust Belt cities - globalization - currently being used by redevelopment governances. An investigation of two cities reveals that this discourse (“the global trope”) has helped to produce a new socio-spatial polarization in US cities. Globalization here is now not merely a new reality, but also a powerful rhetorical device whose invoking is proving to be a potent political tool for capital in its drive to transform cities. At this rhetoric’s core, a supposed new hyper-competitive reality makes Rust Belt cities easily discardable as places of investment. These once-enclosed containers of “the economic”, in the rhetoric, have recently become leaky landscapes rife with a potential for economic hemorrhaging. Against this supposed reality, cities are portrayed as beset by a kind of accumulation disorder that now haunts them. Through this, the new governmentality’s dominant contours - a proposed shock treatment of re-regulation - is rationalized. This generates a new uneven development across US cities that marginalizes low-income African-American communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalGeographica Helvetica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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