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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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A Thousand Layers: Geographies of Uneven Development

A Thousand Layers: Geographies of Uneven Development

(p.256) 8 A Thousand Layers: Geographies of Uneven Development
New Urban Spaces

Neil Brenner

Oxford University Press

The question of uneven spatial development has long been a central concern for critical sociospatial theorists. But how, precisely, is the spatiality of this process to be conceptualized? Drawing on Henri Lefebvre’s striking metaphor of social space as a mille-feuille—a flaky French pastry composed of “a thousand layers”—this chapter argues that the geographies of uneven development are best conceived as a polymorphic superimposition and interpenetration of sociospatial relations. Alongside its scalar dimensions, uneven spatial development is also mediated through the dynamics of territorialization, place-making, and networking. The morphologies of sociospatial relations under capitalism are too intricately interwoven to be reduced to a single dimension, scalar or otherwise. This chapter thus offers a series of autocritical reflections on the scalar analytics elaborated in the preceding chapters while also outlining several major challenges for future research on the variegated spatialities of capitalist urbanization.

Keywords:   uneven spatial development, scale, place, territory, networks, urbanization, urban fabric, geohistory of capitalism

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