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New Urban SpacesUrban Theory and the Scale Question$
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Neil Brenner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190627188

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190627188.001.0001

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Openings: The Urban Question as a Scale Question?

Openings: The Urban Question as a Scale Question?

(p.1) 1 Openings: The Urban Question as a Scale Question?
(p.iii) New Urban Spaces

Neil Brenner

Oxford University Press

For over a century, the urban question has generated intense debate on matters of conceptualization, method, and interpretation. Since the 1990s, in the context of debates on post-Fordism, globalization, and urban restructuring, the urban question has been redefined as a question of scale. Why has this scalar redefinition of the urban occurred, and what does this mean for urban theory and research? What are its analytical possibilities and dangers? In what ways does such an approach reframe the long-standing emphasis on the “city” as the core focal point for urban studies? This opening chapter elaborates these questions in intellectual and geopolitical context, thus setting the stage for the explorations of urbanization, state spatial restructuring, and rescaling processes that follow in the rest of the book. This chapter also situates the book’s argument in relation to contemporary debates on abstraction, generalization, comparison, and contextual particularity in critical urban theory.

Keywords:   urban theory, urban restructuring, urban fabric, scale, rescaling, city-centrism, abstraction

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