Building American Cities Building American Cities: The Urban Real Estate Game
By Joe R. Feagin and Robert E. Parker
2002/06 - Beard Books
1587981483 - Paperback - Reprint - 330 pp.

A volatile story of social conflict that rends the very fabric of our society, but in the end gives shape to our urban centers.

Publisher Comments

Category: Real Estate

Of Interest:

Early American Land Companies: Their Influence on Corporate Development

Land Use Policy in the United States

One Hundred Years of Land Values in Chicago: The Relationship of the Growth of Chicago to the Rise of Its Land Values, 1830-1933

The Rise of the Community Builders

The startling story of how American cities emerge, grow, change, contract, decay, and become resuscitated. With keen insight, the authors analyze urban social processes, such as population migration to suburbia and the effect of foreign capital investment on U.S. real estate ventures. Examining patterns in the location, development, financing, and construction decisions of small and large corporations, the book looks at the interplay of industrial and development corporations with various levels of government. In addition to political aspects, it reflects on the social costs of unbridled urban growth and decline, pollution, wasted energy, congestion, and the negative impact on minorities. But above all, it is the story of people, powerful key developers such as Trump, Moses, Levitt, Reichmann, and Hines and the major role they have played in reshaping our cities, and courageous citizens who resisted some of their actions with tenacity and conviction. It is a volatile story of social conflict that rends the very fabric of our society and in the end gives shape to our urban centers.

From Book News, Inc.

A detailed analysis of how US cities are actually built, how they grow, decline, and how they are eventually structured. Treats the "new urban sociology" and the impact of global economic changes on US cities, including foreign investments in US real estate. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

From Book News, Inc.

This reprint provides an astute, critical overview and analysis of urban development in the US. The volume's ten chapters include discussion of traditional market-oriented social science perspectives on cities and newer critical perspectives; the factors shaping American cities including corporate location decisions, developers and speculators, multiple-use projects, gentrification, auto use and highways, shopping centers, suburbs, and the government and urban development; and a final chapter on citizen protest. 

Joe R. Feagin earned a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University and has been a faculty member at the University of California and the University of Texas before moving to the University of Florida (Gainsville) in 1999 where he is the graduate research professor in Sociology. A major contributor to the debate on racism and discrimination and also urban real  estate matters in the United States, Dr. Feagin also served as scholar-in-residence at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also a past president of the American Sociological Association.

Robert E. Parker (Ph.D. University of Texas) is currently a full professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he has taught and researched since 1989. In addition to Building American Cities, he is the author of Flesh Peddlers and Warm Bodies: The Temporary Help Industry and Its Workers (Rutgers, 1994). He has authored approximately 65 other articles, chapters, and book reviews, most of which are in the areas of urban sociology and the sociology of work.

Preface xi
Chapter 1.  Building American Cities: Traditional and Critical Perspectives 1
Introduction 1
Growth and Decline of Cities: Traditional Social Science Perspectives 4
Growth and Decline of Cities: The Critical Urban Perspective 9
Powerful Agents of Urban Change: Private Producers 16
Government and Urban Development 22
Protesting and Humanizing Development: Urban Citizen Movements 28
Conclusion: The Need for Public Balance Sheets 30
Notes 32
Chapter 2. Corporate Location Decisions 37
Introduction 37
Scale and Character of the Job Losses 38
The Logic of corporate Location Decisions 41
Cycles of Uneven Development: Some Urban History 47
Government Subsidies for Corporate Locations 55
Conclusion 58
Notes 59
Chapter 3. Developers, Bankers and Speculators: Shapers of American Cities 63
Introduction 63
the Roles and Types of Developers 65
The Organization, Bureaucratization, and Operation of Developers 68
Bankers, Insurance Companies, and Other Lenders 77
The Increasing Importance of Foreign Investment 85
Construction Firms and Realtors 88
Land Development and Land Speculation 89
Conclusion: The Downside of Development 93
Notes 94
Chapter 4. Skyscrapers and Multiple-Use Projects 101
Introduction 101
Changing Skylines: Skyscrapers and Other Office Buildings 102
Boom and Bust: Cycles in Office Construction 106
High-rise Hotels: Another Type of Secondary-Circuit Development 109
Financing High-Rise Development 111
Problems in High-Rise Development 113
Multiple-Use Developments 118
Conclusion: Citizens Questioning Large-Scale Development 123
Notes 124
Chapter 5.  Gentrification and Redevelopment in Central Cities 129
Introduction 129
Uneven Urban Development 130
Central-City Development: Who Decides? 132
Gentrification: A Closer Look 138
Urban Displacement 141
Urban Redevelopment as Institutionalized Racism 145
Conclusion 148
Notes 148
Chapter 6. Autos, Highways, and City Decentralization 153
Introduction 153
The Rise and Fall of Mass Rail Transit 154
Centralization and Costs of the Automobile 159
Construction of Roads and Highways 161
Congestion and Other Social Costs 165
The Impact of City Decentralization 168
Urban and Suburban Space 172
Reviving Mass Transit? 173
Conclusion 176
Notes 177
Chapter 7. Shopping Centers and Business Parks: Decentralized Urban Growth 181
Introduction 181
Modern Shopping Centers 183
Protesting and Defending Development 191
Shopping Centers: Modern Village Squares? 195
Moving Industry Out of Cities: Industrial and Business Parks 198
Conclusion 201
Notes 202
Chapter 8. Suburbs and Central Cities: Residential Housing Development 207
Introduction 207
Housing Developers 209
Consumers and Producers 214
Government and Housing 221
Suburbs: The Negative Side 228
The Myth of an Innate Desire for Homeownership 231
Tenants and Renters: Critical Housing Issues 233
The European Experience 240
Conclusion: An Affordable Housing Crisis 242
Notes 243
Chapter 9.  Governments and the Urban Development Process 249
Introduction 249
Government Action in the Cities 252
Developers, Growth Coalitions, and Governmental Assistance 252
Traditional Governmental Subsidies 254
Other Types of Public-Private Partnerships 256
Federal Government Aid for Growth and Development 258
Federal Aid in Controlling Land Use 261
Government Fiscal Crises 264
Conclusion 268
Notes 269
Chapter 10.  Citizen Protest: Democratizing Urban Investment and Development 273
Introduction 273
Citizens Protesting Urban Development and Redevelopment 274
Tenants' Movements 281
Traditional Planning and Advocacy Planning 285
The Need for Public Balance Sheets: Controlling Development 289
Conclusion: Reinvigorating Democracy in Urban Settings 298
Notes 300

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