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Finishing Chapter 14. GEOG 340: Day 20. Housekeeping Items. Reminder about the Urban Issues Film Festival this Friday – I will pass around the agenda . I would like to sign people up for their final presentations.

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housekeeping items
Housekeeping Items
  • Reminder about the Urban Issues Film Festival this Friday – I will pass around the agenda.
  • I would like to sign people up for their final presentations.
  • Paul Manly, who has made a number of films – including about water – will be on campus next Wednesday the 13th. He will be speaking in Environmental Geology downstairs at 1:30 in Room 107. It is open to everyone. He will also be speaking, and showing clips from his films, that evening at 7 in Building 200, Room 203 (auditorium).
  • Today, Thanh will be presenting on gendered spaces and I will present on most of the remainder of the chapter.
chapter 14 cont d
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • I won’t attempt to be comprehensive, but picking up from Doug’s treatment of Louis Wirth, Wirth talks about how we have to assume numerous roles in the city – presenting different faces at work, at school, at home, in relationships, with friends – and this pile-up of conflicting “selves” can create stress and even mental illness.
  • As already mentioned, urbanites can also become apathetic about anti-social and ‘deviant’ behaviour, possibly in part because of fear.
chapter 14 cont d1
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • Arguably, relationships become more fleeting in cities, as people are often busy. They can be casual or superficial. We also often favour efficiency over friendliness.
  • But this varies from city and also varies depending on the size of the city. Someone in class noted that it’s quite easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger in Nanaimo.
  • Even as we may become more distant from the many we can still nurture deep, meaningful relationships with family and friends and even with groups with shared interests on the Internet. These urban geographers and sociologists were writing before the Internet and social media. What impact do you think they are having on human relationships?
chapter 14 cont d2
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • Does suburbia promote social isolation or friendliness on one’s immediate block?
  • What about high-rises?
  • One author who strongly disagreed

with Wirth was Herbert Gans, author

of UrbanVillages. Gans noted that

some neighbourhoods, especially of

certain ethnic groups had the character-

istics of ‘villages,’ while also suffering

overcrowding. Ironically, these were

often the areas that were being

subjected to urban renewal. Nonetheless,

they possessed a common ‘lifeworld.’

chapter 14 cont d3
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • The book also talks about how lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered (LGBT) people are drawn to big cities for their greater safety and tolerance, though this has been

hard won (e.g. Stonewall riots).

  • Cities, in turn, that have a higher

population of LGBTs have noted

as being more tolerant and attrac-

tive to members of the ‘creative


  • Gays have even led the wave of

gentrification in some instances, as

the Castro district in San Francisco.

  • While some areas have a higher gay

population (the West End), they are

never that exclusively.

chapter 14 cont d4
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • I won’t spend a lot of time on Pierre Bordieu’s idea of habitus (European philosophers have a way of making things unnecessarily complicated!). A simpler term, which probably doesn’t encompass the richness intended would be lifestyle– i.e. it “derives from its members’ everyday experience and operates at a subconcious level, through commonplace daily practices, dress codes, use of language, and patterns of consumption…”
  • Examples might include punks, bikers, gamers, bingo fanatics, and people into bondage, etc.
  • When one’s habitus is a relatively affluent residential neighbourhood, and threats to the status quo arise, it might at least temporarily take the form of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) protests.
chapter 14 cont d5
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • Chris capably covered mental maps. The book also talks about how we appraise areas – i.e. that places are individually and socially constructed to possess meaning, but they often have different meaning for different people.
chapter 14 cont d6
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • See the discuss of time-space routines and think about your own and also of the various constraints that can mess them up.
  • I take a little bit different (and more simple take) on the structuration concept. I’m more interested in urban structures and spaces, how they shape us, and how we subvert them. Examples:
  • Gays using parks as cruising grounds
  • Skateboarders using courthouse steps and railings as practice grounds
  • People in my high school using the church pews next door to make out and smoke pot
  • Nudists carving out their own ‘free territory’ at Wreck Beach to spend time away from social constraints.
chapter 14 cont d7
Chapter 14 (cont’d)
  • While spaces and the built environment definitely constrain us (this classroom, for example), whether streets are used for cars or for play, people have intervened and done unorthodox things to change how places function. For instance, City Repair in Portland:
  • Or the redesign of Bogota, Colombia under Enrique Peňalosa:
  • See also