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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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Urban Growth Machines—But at What Scale?

Urban Growth Machines—But at What Scale?

(p.233) 7 Urban Growth Machines—But at What Scale?
New Urban Spaces

Neil Brenner

Oxford University Press

Theories of the urban growth machine have long been a central analytical tool for contemporary research on urban governance. But in what sense are growth machines, in fact, “urban”? To what degree must “the city” serve as the spatial locus for growth machine strategies? To address such questions, this chapter critically evaluates the influential work of urban sociologists John Logan and Harvey Molotch on US growth machine dynamics. In contrast to an influential line of critique that reproaches these authors for their putative methodological localism, it is argued that their framework is, in fact, explicitly attuned to the role of interscalar politico-institutional relays in the construction of urban growth machines. These considerations lead to a dynamically multiscalar reading of the national institutional frameworks that have facilitated the formation of growth machines at the urban scale during the course of US territorial development. This analysis has broad methodological implications for the comparative-historical investigation of urban governance.

Keywords:   urban growth machines, urban regimes, methodological localism, Harvey Molotch, John Logan, urban governance, urban entrepreneurialism, rescaling

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