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Postmodern Urbanism

Author(s): Michael Dear and Steven Flusty


Source: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp.
50-72
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American Geographers
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Urbanism
Postmodern
MichaelDear and StevenFlusty

SouthernCalifornia
StudiesCenter, ofSouthernCalifornia
University

Theories area scarcecommodity.


ofurbanstructure Mosttwentieth-century
analyseshavebeen
predicated on theChicagoSchoolmodelofconcentric zones,despitetheobviousclaimsof
competing models.ThispaperexaminesthecontemporaryformsofSouthernCaliforniaurbanism
as an initial
steptoward a concept
deriving of"postmodernurbanism."The LosAngeles model
consistsofseveralfundamental
characteristics,
including
a global-local
connection,a ubiquitous
anda reterritorialization
socialpolarization, oftheurban inwhich
process organizes
hinterland the
center (indirect
contradiction
totheChicago model).Theresultant
urbanism isdistinguished
by
a centerlessurbanformtermed whichweadvanceas thebasisfora research
"kenocapitalism,"
agendaincomparative urbananalysis.
KeyWords: postmodem,
urbanism,urban Chicago,
structure,
LosAngeles.

Sometimes, fallingasleepinSantaMonica,he won- ModernAgeis beingsucceded


bya post-modern
deredvaguelyif theremighthave been a larger period
(1959:165-66).
system, a fieldof greaterperspective.
Perhapsthe
whole of DatAmericapossessedits own nodal Millsbelievedthatit was vitalto conceptualize
points,infofaultsthatmightbe followeddownto the categoriesof changein orderto "graspthe
someotherkindoftruth, anothermodeofknowing, outlineofthenewepochwesupposeourselves to
deepwithinthegrayshoalsofinformation. Butonly be entering" (1959:166).
ifthereweresomeonethereto posetherightques- Have we arrivedat a radicalbreakin theway

O
tion(WilliamGibson,1996:39). citiesaredeveloping? Is theresomething called
ne ofthemostenervating
aspectsof a postmodern urbanism,whichpresumesthatwe
recentdebateson thepostmodern con- can identify someformoftemplatethatdefines
ditionis thenotionthattherehasbeen itscriticaldimensions?2 Thisinquiry isbasedon
a radical break frompast trendsin political, a simplepremise:thatjustas thecentraltenets
economic,and socioculturallife.There is no of modernistthoughthave been undermined,
clearconsensusaboutthenatureofthisosten- its core evacuated and replacedby a rushof
sible break.Some analystshave declaredthe competingepistemologies, so too have thetra-
currentconditionto be nothingmore than ditionallogicsofearlierurbanisms evaporated,
businessas usual, onlyfaster a "hypermod- and in the absenceofa singlenewimperative,
ern"or"supermodern" phaseofadvancedcapi- multipleurban (ir)rationalities are competing
talism.1Othershave noted that the pace of to fillthe void. It is the concretizationand
change in all aspectsof our global societyis localizationoftheseeffects, globalin scopebut
sufficientforus to beginto speak of "revolu- generatedand manifested locally,thatare cre-
tion." In this essay,we are cognizantof an atingthegeographies ofpostmodern society a
invocationof Jacques Derrida,who invited newtime-spacefabric.3 Webeginthissearchby
those interestedin assessingthe extentand outliningthefundamental preceptsoftheChi-
volumeof contemporary change to "rehearse cago School,a classicalmodernist visionofthe
thebreak,"intimating thatonlybyassuminga industrialmetropolis,and contrastingthese
radicalbreakhad occurredwouldourcapacity with evidence of a nascent postmodernLos
to recognizeit be released.Similaradvicewas Angeles School.4 Next we examine a broad
offeredby C. WrightMills in The Sociological rangeofcontemporary SouthernCaliforniaur-
Imagination(1959): banisms,beforegoingon to suggesta critical
reinterpretation of thisevidencethatencom-
We areat theendingofwhatis calledThe Modern passes and definesthe problematicof a post-
Age.Justas Antiquitywasfollowedbyseveralcen- modern urbanism.In conclusion, we offer
turiesof Orientalascendancy,whichWesterners
commentsintendedto assistin formulating an
called The Dark Ages, so now The
provincially
agendaforcomparative urbanresearch.
AnnalsoftheAssociation
ofAmericanGeographers,
88(1), 1998,pp.50-72
(? 1998byAssociation
ofAmericanGeographers
Published 350 MainStreet,Maiden,MA 02148,and 108CowleyRoad,Oxford,
byBlackwellPublishers, OX4 1JF,
UK.
Postmodern
Urbanism 51

FromChicagotoLos Angeles buildingsin the cityand stablesocial groups.


Beyondthis,newerand largerdwellings wereto
It has been a traditional
axiomofclassicalwriting be found, occupiedbythemiddleclasses.Finally,
aboutthecitythaturbanstructuresarethedomain thecommuters' zoneextendedbeyondthecon-
ofreasonJonathan Raban 1974:157). tinuousbuilt-up areaofthecitywherea consid-
erable portionof the zone's populationwas
employed. Burgess's modelwasa broadgenerali-
The ChicagoSchool zation,notintendedto be takentooliterally. He
expected,forinstance,thathis schemawould
ofurbanstructure
Generaltheories area scarce applyonlyin theabsenceofcomplicating factors
commodity.One ofthe mostpersistentmodelsof such as local topography. He also anticipated
urban structureis associated with a group of considerable variation withinthedifferent zones.
sociologists who flourishedin Chicago in the Otherurbanists notedthetendency forcities
1920s and 1930s. Accordingto MorrisJanowitz, to growin star-shaped ratherthan concentric
the "Chicago School" was motivated to regard form, alonghighways thatradiatefroma center
the city "as an object of detached sociological withcontrasting landusesintheinterstices. This
analysis,"worthyof distinctivescientificatten- observation gave riseto a sectortheory ofurban
tion: structure,advancedin thelate 1930sbyHomer
Hoyt(1933,1939),whoobservedthatoncevari-
The cityisnotan artifact
ora residualarrangement. ationsaroseinlandusesnearthecitycenter, they
On thecontrary, thecityembodiestherealnature tendedto persistas the citygrew.Distinctive
ofhumannature.It is an expressionofmankindin
generaland specifically
ofthesocialrelationsgen-
sectorsthusexpandedout fromtheCBD, often
eratedbyterritoriality
(Janowitz 1967:viii-ix). organizedalongmajorhighways. Hoytempha-
sizedthatnonrational factorscouldalterurban
The mostenduringoftheChicago School models form, as whenskillful promotion influenced the
was the zonal or concentric
ringtheory,
an account directionof speculativedevelopment. He also
of the evolution of differentiated urban social understood thatthe age ofbuildings could still
areas by E.W Burgess(1925). Based on assump- reflecta concentric ringstructure, and thatsec-
tions that included a uniformland surface,uni- torsmaynotbe internally homogeneous at one
versal access to a single-centered city, free specifictime.
competitionforspace, and the notionthatdevel- The complexities ofreal-world urbanism were
opmentwould take place outwardfroma central further takenup in themultiple nucleitheory of
core, Burgessconcluded thatthe citywould tend C.D. Harrisand E. Ullman(1945). They pro-
to forma seriesof concentriczones. (These are posedthatcitieshavea cellularstructure inwhich
the same assumptionsthatwerelaterto formthe landusesdeveloparoundmultiple growth-nuclei
basis ofthe land-rentmodelsofAlonso, Muth,et withinthemetropolis-aconsequenceofacces-
al.) The main ecological metaphorsinvoked to sibility-inducedvariationsin the land-rent sur-
describe this dynamicwere invasion,succession, face and agglomeration (dis)economies.Harris
and segregation, by which populations gradually and Ullman (1945) also allow thatreal-world
filteredoutwardsfromthe center as theirstatus urbanstructure is determined bybroadersocial
and level of assimilationprogressed.The model andeconomicforces, theinfluence ofhistory,and
was predicatedon continuinghighlevelsofinmi- international influences. But whateverthepre-
grationto the city. cise reasonsfortheirorigin,once nucleihave
At the core of Burgess'sschema was the Cen- beenestablished, generalgrowth forcesreinforce
tral Business District (CBD), which was sur- theirpreexistingpatterns.
rounded by a transitional zone, where older Much of the urbanresearchagenda of the
private houses were being converted to offices twentieth centuryhas been predicatedon the
and lightindustryor subdividedto formsmaller precepts oftheconcentric zone,sector, and mul-
dwelling units. This was the principal area to tiplenuclei theoriesof urbanstructure. Their
which new immigrantswere attracted,and it influences can be seendirectly infactorialecolo-
included areas of vice and generallyunstable or gies of intraurban structure, land-rentmodels,
mobile social groups.The transitionalzone was studiesofurbaneconomiesand diseconomies of
succeeded by a zone of working-men'shomes, scale,and designsforideal citiesand neighbor-
which included some of the oldest residential hoods.The specificand persistent popularity of
52 Dear and Flusty

theChicagoconcentric ringmodelis harderto was reaching newnationalprominence, Los An-


explain,however, giventheproliferationofevi- geleshas begunto makeits impression on the
denceinsupport ofalternative The most
theories. mindsof urbanists. Their theoretical inquiries
likelyreasonsforitsenduranceare probably re- focusnot onlyon the specificcity,but also on
latedto a beguiling and theenormous
simplicity moregeneralquestionsconcerning urbanproc-
volumeofpublications producedbyadherents of esses.Cenzatticlaimsthatone concerncommon
theChicagoSchool.Evenas late as 1992,Mike to all adherents oftheL.A. Schoolis a focuson
Davis'svisionofan ecologyoffearinLosAngeles whichincludes
restructuring, deindustrialization
and
managedto producea sketchbasedon thenow- reindustrialization, the birthof the information
familiarconcentricrings(Davis 1992c). economy, thedeclineofnation-states, theemer-
genceofnewnationalisms, andtheriseofthePacific
Rim.Suchproliferating logicsofteninvolvemultiple
A "Los AngelesSchool"? theoretical frameworks thatoverlapandcoexistin
theirexplanations of theburgeoning global/local
Duringthe1980s,a groupofloosely-associated order a heterodoxy consistent withtheproject of
scholars,professionals, and advocatesbased in postmodernism.
Southern California
beganto examinethenotion Los Angelesis undoubtedly a specialplace.6
thatwhatwashappening intheLosAngelesregion But adherents oftheLos AngelesSchoolrarely
wassomehow symptomatic ofa broader socio-geo- assertthatthe cityis unique,nornecessarily a
graphic transformationtaking placewithin theU.S. harbinger ofthefuture, eventhoughbothview-
as a whole.Theircommonbutthenunarticulated pointsare at someleveldemonstrably true.7In-
projectwas based on certainsharedtheoretical stead,at a minimum theyassertthatSouthern
assumptions, and on theviewthatL.A. was em- California is a suggestive prototypea polyglot,
blematic ofsomemoregeneral urbandynamic. One polycentric, polycultural pastichethatis some-
of the earliestexpressions of an emergent "L.A. how engagedin the rewriting of the American
School"was theappearancein 1986ofa special socialcontract(Dear et al. 1996;Scottand Soja
issueofthejournalSociety and Space,whichwas 1996;Steinberg et al. 1992).The peculiarcondi-
entirelydevotedtounderstanding LosAngeles.5 In tionsthathave led now to the emergence of a
theirprefatory remarks to thatissue,AllenScott networkof Los Angeles-based scholarsmaybe
and EdwardSoja referred to Los Angelesas the coincidental:(a) thatan especiallypowerful in-
"capitalofthetwentieth century," deliberatelyin- tersection of empirical and theoretical research
voking WalterBenjamin's reference to Parisas the projectshave come togetherin thisparticular
capitalofthenineteenth. Theypredicted thatthe placeat thisparticular time;(b) thatthesetrends
volumeof scholarly workon Los Angeleswould are occurring in whathas historically been the
quicklyovertake thaton Chicago. mostunderstudied majorcityintheU.S.; (c) that
Theburgeoning outlinesofan L.A. Schoolwere theseprojectshaveattracted theattention ofan
givencrudeform bya seriesofmeetings andpubli- assemblage ofincreasingly self-consciousscholars
cationsthatoccurred during thelate1980s,andby andpractitioners; and (d) thattheworldisfacing
1990,inhispenetrating critique ofSouthern Cali- theprospect ofa Pacificcentury, inwhichSouth-
forniaurbanism (CityofQuartz),MikeDaviswas ern California is likely to become a globalcapital.
able to makespecificreference to the School's The vitality of the Los AngelesSchool derives
expanding consciousness.He commented thatits principally fromtheintersection oftheseevents,
practitionerswereundecidedwhetherto model and the promisetheyhold fora re-creation of
themselves aftertheChicagoSchool(namedprin- urban theory. The validity and potential of the
forthecitythatwasitsobjectofinquiry),
cipally or schoolwillonlybe decidedafterextensivecom-
the Frankfurt School (a philosophical alliance parativeanalysis basedin othermetropolitan ar-
namedonlycoincidentally after itsplaceofopera- eas oftheworld.
tions).Then,in 1993,MarcoCenzatti published a
shortpamphletthatwas the firstpublication to
examine
explicitly thefocusandpotential ofanL.A. WaysofSeeing:Southern
School.Responding toDavis,he underscored that Californian Urbanisms
theSchool'spractitioners combine precepts ofboth
the Chicagoand Frankfurt Schools.Justas the Thislatestmutation inspace-postmodern hyper-
ChicagoSchoolemerged at a timewhenthatcity space-hasfinally succeeded in transcendingthe
Urbanism
Postmodern 53

capacitiesof the humanbodyto locate itself,to capitalistaccumulation. Accompanying thisshift


organizeits immediatesurroundings perceptually, is a postmodern consciousness, a culturaland
and cognitivelyto map itspositionin a mappable ideologicalreconfiguration altering howweexpe-
external Jameson1991:44).
world(Fredric
riencesocialbeing.The centerholds,however,
becauseitfunctions as theurbanpanopticon, the
TakingLos AngelesSeriously strategicsurveillancepointforthestate'sexercise
ofsocialcontrol.Out fromthecenterextendsa
Mostworldcitieshavean instantly identifiable melangeof"wedges"and "citadels," interspersed
signature: thinkof the boulevardsof Paris,the betweencorridors formed bytheboulevards. The
skyscrapers of New York,or the churchesof consequenturban structureis a complicated
Rome. But Los Angelesappearsto be a city quilt,fragmented, yetbound to an underlying
without a commonnarrative, exceptperhapsthe economicrationality: "Withexquisite irony,con-
freeways or a moregenericiconography of the temporary Los Angeleshas come to resemble
bizarre.Twenty-five yearsago, RaynerBanham morethaneverbeforea giganticagglomeration
(1973) providedan enduringmap of the Los ofthemeparks,a lifespacecomposedofDisney-
Angeleslandscape.To thisday,itremains power- worlds"(Soja 1989:246).
ful,evocative,and instantly recognizable. He Thesethreesketches providediffering insights
identifiedfourbasic ecologies:surfurbia (the into L.A.'s landscapes.Banhamconsidersthe
beach cities:"The beachesare whatotherme- city'soveralltorsoandidentifies threebasiccom-
tropolisesshouldenvyin Los Angeles.... Los ponents(surfurbia, plains,and foothills), as well
in the
Angeles is the greatestCity-on-the-shore as connecting arteries(freeways). Suismanshifts
world,"p.37); thefoothills
(theprivileged enclaves ourgazeawayfrom principal arteries to theveins
ofBeverly Hills,BelAir,etc.,wherethefinancial thatchanneleveryday life(theboulevards). Soja
and topographical contourscorrespondalmost considersthe body-in-context, articulating the
exactly);theplainsofId (thecentralflatlands:"An linksbetweenpoliticaleconomy andpostmodern
endless plain endlesslygriddedwith endless cultureto explainfragmentation and socialdif-
streets,peppered endlesslywith ticky-tacky ferentiation in Los Angeles.All threewriters
housesclusteredin indistinguishable neighbor- maintaina studieddetachment fromthecity,as
hoods,slashedacrossby endlessfreeways that thougha voyeuristic, top-downperspective is
have destroyed anycommunity spiritthatmay neededtodiscovertherationality inherent inthe
haveonceexisted, andsoon ... endlessly,"p. 161); cityscape. Yeta postmodern sensibility wouldre-
andautopia("[The]freeway system is
initstotality linquishthe modernism inherentin such de-
nowa single comprehensible place,a coherentstate tachedrepresentations oftheurbantext.What
ofmind,a complete wayoflife," p. 213). woulda postmodernism from belowreveal?
For Douglas Suisman (1989), it is not the One ofthemostprescient visionsanticipating
freeways buttheboulevardsthatdetermine the mappingoftheurbanis
a postmodern cognitive
city'soverallphysical structure.A boulevardis a
JonathanRaban'sSoftCity(1974), a readingof
surfacestreetthat:"(1) makesarterialconnec- Rabandividesthecityinto
London'scityscapes.
tionson a metropolitan scale; (2) providesa refers to the
hardand softelements. The former
framework forcivicand commercial destination;
materialfabricof the builtenvironment-the
and (3) acts as a filterto adjacent residential
streetsand buildings thatframethelivesofcity
neighborhoods." Suismanarguesthatboulevards
an organizational dwellers.The latter,bycontrast, is an individual-
do morethanestablish pattern;
"theirreduciblearmatureofthe izedinterpretationofthecity,a perceptual orien-
theyconstitute
city'spublicspace,"and are chargedwithsocial tationcreatedinthemindofeveryurbanite.8 The
thatcannotbe ignored.
andpoliticalsignificance relationshipbetweenthetwoiscomplexandeven
Usuallysitedalongtheedgesofformer ranchos, indeterminate. The newcomer to a cityfirst con-
thesevertebralconnectorstodayforman integral frontsthehardcity,butsoon:
link among the region'smunicipalities(Suisman thecity itawaits
goessoft; theimprint ofanidentity.
1989:6-7). orworse,
Forbetter youtoremake
itinvites it,to
For Ed Soja (1989), Los Angeles is a decen- itintoa shapeyoucanlivein.You,too.
consolidate
tered,decentralized poweredbythe
metropolis Decidewhoyouare,andthecitywillagainassume
insistent
fragmentation thatis,
ofpost-Fordism, a fixed around
form you.Decidewhatitis,andyour
flexible,
an increasingly regimeof
disorganized ownidentitywillberevealed(p. I 1).
54 Dear and Flusty

Raban makesno claimsto a postmodern con- (8) stylishness (appealingto the fashionable,
sciousness, yethisinvocation oftherelationship chic,and affluent),
betweenthecognitiveand therealleads to in- (9) reconnection withthelocal(involving delib-
sightsthatareunmistakably postmodern in their erate historical/geographical reconstruc-
sensitivities. tion),and
Ted Relph(1987) wasone ofthefirst geogra- (10) pedestrian-automobile split(to redressthe
phersto cataloguethebuiltforms thatcomprise modernist biastowardthecar).
theplacesofpostmodernity. He describespost- Raban'semphasis on thecognitive andRelph's
modernurbanism as a self-conscious and selec- on the concreteunderscore the importance of
tiverevivalofelements ofolderstyles, thoughhe both dimensionsin understanding sociospatial
cautionsthatpostmodernism is notsimply a style urbanprocess.The palletteof urbanisms that
but also a frameofmind(p. 213). He observes arisesfrommerging thetwois thickandmultidi-
howtheconfluence ofmanytrends gentrifica- mensional. We turnnowto thetaskofconstruct-
tion,heritageconservation, architectural fash- ingthatpalette(whatwe earlierdescribedas a
ion, urban design, and participatory template)by examiningempiricalevidenceof
planning causedthecollapseofthemodernist recenturbandevelopments in SouthernCalifor-
visionofa future cityfilledwithskyscrapers and nia (Table1). In thisreview,wetakeourleadfrom
otheraustereiconsofscientific rationalism.The whatexists,ratherthanwhatweconsidertobe a
newurbanism is principallydistinguishable from comprehensive urbanresearchagenda.9From
theold byitseclecticism. Relph'speriodization of this,we movequicklyto a synthesis thatis pre-
twentieth-century urbanism involvesa premod- figurativeofa protopostmodern urbanism,which
ern transitional period(up to 1940); an era of we hope willserveas an invitationto a more
modernist cityscapes (after1945);anda periodof broadly basedcomparative analysis.
postmodern townscapes(since 1970). The dis-
tinctionbetweencityscapeand townscapeis cru-
cial to his diagnosis.Modernistcityscapes, he Edge Cities
claims,arecharacterized byfiveelements(Relph
JoelGarreaunotedthecentralsignificance of
1987:242-50):
Los Angeles in understanding contemporary
(1) megastructural bigness(fewstreetentrances
metropolitangrowthin the U.S. He asserts
to buildings,littlearchitectural detailing,
(1991:3)that:"Every singleAmericancitythatis
etc.),
growing,isgrowing inthefashion ofLosAngeles,"
(2) straight-space / prairiespace (city-center
and refersto L.A. as the"great-granddaddy" of
canyons, endlesssuburban vistas),
edgecities(heclaimstherearetwenty- sixofthem
(3) rationalorderandflexibility (thelandscapes
withina five-countyareainSouthern California).
oftotalorder, verging on boredom),
ForGarreau,edgecitiesrepresent thecrucibleof
(4) hardnessand opacity(includingfreeways
America'surbanfuture. The classiclocationfor
and thedisplacement ofnature),
contemporary edgecitiesis at theintersectionof
(5) discontinuous serialvision (derivingfrom
an urbanbeltwayand a hub-and-spoke lateral
thedominanceoftheautomobile).
road.The centralconditions thathavepropelled
Conversely, postmodern townscapes aremorede-
suchdevelopment arethedominance oftheauto-
tailed,handcrafted, andintricate. Theycelebrate
mobileand theassociatedneed forparking, the
difference, polyculturalism, variety, and stylish-
communications revolution,and the entryof
ness(pp.252-58). Theirelementsare:
womenin largenumbers intothelabormarket.
(6) quaintspace(a deliberate cuteness),
AlthoughGarreauagreeswithRobertFishman
(7) textured facades(forpedestrians, richinde-
that"[a]11new cityformsappearin theirearly
tail,oftenwithan "aged"appearance),

Table 1. A Taxonomy
ofSouthernCalifornia
Urbanisms
EdgeCities InterdictorySpace
Privatopia Historical
Geographies ofRestructuring
CulturesofHeteropolis Fordist/PostFordist
RegimesofAccumulation/Regulation
Cityas ThemePark Globalization
Fortified
City PoliticsofNature
Postmodern
Urbanism 55

stagestobe chaotic"(1991:9),he is abletoiden- (McKenzie1994:19).Ithasprovoked a cultureof


tifythreebasic typesof edge city.These are: nonparticipation.
uptowns (peripheralpre-automobile settlements McKenziewarnsthatfarfrombeinga benign
thathave subsequently been absorbedbyurban or inconsequential trend,CIDs alreadydefinea
sprawl);boomers (theclassicedgecities,located newnormforthemassproduction ofhousingin
atfreeway andgreenfields
intersections); (thecur- the U.S. Equallyimportant, theirorganizations
rentstate-of-the-art, "occurring at theintersec- are now allied throughsomethingcalled the
tionof severalthousandacresof farmland and Community AssociationsInstitute, "whosepur-
one developer's monumental ego" [p. 1161). posesincludethestandardizing andprofessional-
One essentialfeatureof theedgecityis that izingofCID governance" (1994:184).McKenzie
politicsis notyetestablished there.Intothepo- noteshowthis"secessionofthesuccessful" (the
liticalvacuummovesa "shadowgovernment"a phraseis RobertReich's)has alteredconceptsof
privatized protogovernment thatis essentially a in which"one'sdutiesconsistofsat-
citizenship,
plutocratic alternative to normal politics. isfyingone's obligationsto privateproperty"
Shadowgovernments can tax,legislatefor,and (1994:196).In herfuturistic novelofL.A. wars
policetheircommunities, buttheyarerarelyac- betweenwalled-community dwellersand those
countable,areresponsive primarily to wealth(as beyondthe walls (Parableof theSower,1993),
opposedtonumbers ofvoters),andsubjecttofew OctaviaButlerhasenvisioned a dystopian priva-
constitutional constraints (Garreau1991:187). topianfuture. It includesa balkanizednationof
Jennifer Wolch(1990) has describedtheriseof defendedneighborhoods at odds withone an-
theshadowstateas partofa society-wide trend other,whereentirecommunities arewipedoutfor
towardprivatization. In edgecities,"community" a handfuloffresh lemonsora fewcupsofpotable
is scarce,occurring notthrough propinquity but water;wheretorture andmurder ofone'senemies
via telephone, fax,and privatemailservice.The is common;and wherecompany-town slaveryis
wallsthattypically surround suchneighborhoods attractiveto thosewhoarefortunate enoughto
aresocialboundaries, buttheyact as community selltheirservicesto thehyperdefended enclaves
"recognizers," not community "organizers" (pp. oftheveryrich.
275-81). In theedge-city era,Garreaunotes,the
term"master-planned" community is littlemore
thana marketing device(p. 301). Otherstudies CulturesofHeteropolis
ofsuburbanization in L.A.,mostnotably byHise
(1997) and Waldie (1996), providea basis for One ofthemostprominent socioculturalten-
comparing pastpractices ofplannedcommunity denciesin contemporary SouthernCalifornia is
marketing in SouthernCalifornia. theriseofminority populations (Onget al. 1994;
Rosemanet al. 1996;Waldinger andBozorgmehr
1996). Provokedto comprehend thecausesand
Privatopia implicationsofthe1992civildisturbances inLos
Angeles,CharlesJencks(1993:32) zeroesin on
perhapsthe quintessential
Privatopia, edge- thecity'sdiversityas thekeyto L.A.'s emergent
cityresidential
form,is a privatehousingdevel- urbanism: "Los Angelesis a combination ofen-
opmentbasedincommon-interest developments claveswithhighidentity, andmultienclaves with
(CIDs) and administered byhomeowners' asso- mixedidentity,and,takenas a whole,itisperhaps
ciations.Therewerefewer than500suchassocia- themostheterogeneous cityin theworld."Such
tions in 1964; by 1992, therewere 150,000 ethnicpluralism has givenriseto whatJencks
associationsprivately
governing approximately calls a hetero-architecture,which has demon-
32 millionAmericans. In 1990,the 11.6 million stratedthat:"thereisa greatvirtue,andpleasure,
CID unitsconstituted morethan11 percentof to be had in mixingcategories,transgressing
thenation'shousingstock(McKenzie1994:11). boundaries,inverting customsand adoptingthe
Sustainedby an expandingcatalogueof cove- marginalusage" (1993:123). The vigor and
nants,conditions,and restrictions(or CC&Rs, imaginationunderlying theseintensecultural dy-
the proscriptiveconstitutionsformalizingCID namicsis everywhere evidentin theregion, from
behavioraland aestheticnorms),privatopia has the diversityof ethnicadaptations(Park1996)
beenfueledbya largedose ofprivatization, and through theconcentration ofculturalproducers
promotedby an ideologyof "hostileprivatism" intheregion(Molotch1996),tothehybrid com-
56 Dear and Flusty

plexities ofemerging culturalforms(Boyd1996, Thisis because"the800 telephonenumberand


1997). the piece of plastichave made timeand space
The consequentbuiltenvironment is charac- obsolete,"andtheseinstruments of"artificial
ad-
terized bytransience,energy, andunplanned vul- jacency"haveeviscerated thetraditionalpolitics
garity, in whichHollywoodis neverfaraway. ofpropinquity (Sorkin1992:xi).Sorkinobserves
Jencksviewsthisimprovisational qualityas a thatthe socialorderhas alwaysbeen legiblein
hopeful sign:"Themainpointofhetero -architec- urbanform;forexample,traditional citieshave
tureis to acceptthedifferent voicesthatcreatea adjudicatedconflicts via therelationsof public
city,suppress noneofthem,andmakefromtheir places such as the agora or piazza. In today's
interactionsome kind of greaterdialogue" "recombinant city,"however, he contendsthat
(1993:75). This is especiallyimportant in a city conventionallegibilitieshave been obscured
where minoritization, "the typicalpostmodern and/ordeliberately mutilated.The phone and
phenomenon wheremostofthepopulation forms modemhaverendered thestreetirrelevant, and
the 'other,'"is theorderoftheday,and where thenewcitythreatens an "unimagined sameness"
mostcitydwellers feeldistancedfromthepower characterized bytheloosening oftiesto anyspe-
strucure (Jencks 1993:84).DespiteJencks's opti- cificspace,risinglevelsofsurveillance, manipu-
mism, otheranalysts haveobserved thatthesame lationand segregation, and thecityas a theme
SouthernCalifornia heteropolishas to contend park. Of this last, Disneylandis the arche-
withmorethanitsshareofsocioeconomic polari- type described bySorkinas a place of"Taylor-
zation,racism,inequality, homelessness, and so- izedfun,"the"HolySee ofCreativeGeography"
cial unrest(Anderson1996; Baldassare1994; (1992:227) What is missingin thisnew cyber-
Bullard et al. 1994; Gooding-Williams 1993; neticsuburbia isnota particular buildingorplace,
Rocco 1996; Wolchand Dear 1993). Yetthese butthespacesbetween,thatis,theconnections
characteristics arepartofa sociocultural
dynamic thatmakesenseofforms(xii). Whatis missing,
thatis also provoking thesearchforinnovative then,is connectivity and community.
solutionsin labor and community organizing In extremis,Californiadreamscapesbecome
(e.g.,Pulido1996),as wellas in interethnic rela- simulacra. Ed Soja (1992:111),in a catalogueof
tions (e.g.,Abelmannand Lie 1995; Martinez SouthernCalifornia's urbaneccentricities, iden-
1992;Yoon1997). tifiedOrangeCountyas a massivesimulation of
what a cityshould be. He describesOrange
Countyas: "a structural fake,an enormous adver-
Cityas Theme Park tisement, yetfunctionally thefinestmultipurpose
facilityof its kindin the country." Callingthis
California in general,and Los Angelesin par- assemblage"exopolis,"or thecitywithout, Soja
haveoftenbeenpromoted
ticular, as placeswhere assertsthat"something newis beingbornhere"
theAmerican(suburban)Dreamis mosteasily basedon thehyperrealities ofmorecon-ventional
realized.Its oft-noted qualitiesofoptimism and themeparkssuchas Disneyland (1992:101).The
tolerancecoupled witha balmyclimatehave exopolisis a simulacrum, an exact copyof an
givenriseto an architecture and societyfostered originalthatneverexisted,withinwhichimage
by a spiritof experimentation, risktaking,and and realityare spectacularly confused.In this
hope.Architectural dreamscapes arereadily con- "politically-numbed" society,conventional poli-
vertibleintomarketable commodities, i.e., sale- ticsis dysfunctional.OrangeCountyhasbecome
ableprepackaged landscapesengineered tosatisfy a "scamscape,"notableprincipally as home of
fantasiesofsuburban Manywriters
living.10 have massivemail-fraud operations, savingsand loan
usedthe"themepark"metaphor to describethe failures,and county-government bankruptcy
emergence ofsuchvariegated cityscapes. Forin- (1992:120).
stance,MichaelSorkin,in a collectionofessays
appropriately entitledVariationsona ThemePark
(1992), describes themeparksas placesofsimu- Fortified
City
lationwithoutend, characterized by aspatiality
plustechnological and physicalsurveillance and The downsideof the SouthernCalifornian
control.The precedentsforthismodelcan be dreamhas,ofcourse,beenthesubjectofcount-
tracedbacktotheWorld's Fairs,butSorkininsists less dystopianvisionsin histories,
movies,and
thatsomething "whollynew"is now emerging. novels.11In one powerful account,MikeDavis
Postmodern
Urbanism 57

notedhowSouthern Californians'
obsessionwith or theself-contained "worldcitadel"clustersof
securityhastransformed theregionintoa fortress. defensibleofficetowers.
Thisshift is accurately
manifestedinthephysical One consequenceofthesociospatial differen-
formof the city,whichis dividedintofortified tiationdescribedbyDavis and Flustyis an acute
cellsofaffluence andplacesofterrorwherepolice fragmentation oftheurbanlandscape.Commen-
battlethe criminalized poor.These urbanphe- tatorswho remarkupon the strictdivisionof
nomena,accordingto Davis, have placed Los residentialneighborhoods alongrace and class
Angeles"on the hard edge of postmodernity" linesmissthefactthatL.A.'s microgeography is
(Davis 1992a:155).The dynamics offortification incredibly
volatileandvaried.In manyneighbor-
involvetheomnipresent application
ofhigh-tech hoods,simply turninga streetcornerwillleadthe
policingmethodsto the "high-rent securityof pedestrian/driverintototally
differentsocialand
gatedresidential developments"and"panopticon physicalconfigurations.One veryimportant fea-
malls."It extendsto "spacepolicing,"includinga tureoflocalneighborhood dynamics in theforti-
proposed satellite observationcapacitythat fiedcultureofSouthernCalifornian citiesis, of
wouldcreatean invisibleHaussmannization of course,thepresenceofstreetgangs(Klein1995;
Los Angeles.In theconsequent"carceralcity," Vigil1988).
theworking poorand destituteare spatially
se-
questeredon the "meanstreets," and excluded
fromtheaffluent "forbidden
cities"through "se- HistoricalGeographiesofRestructuring
curitybydesign."
Historicalgeographies ofSouthernCalifornia
arerelatively whencompared
rare,especially with
Interdictory Space thenumber ofpublished accountsofChicagoand
New York.Forreasonsthatareunclear, Los An-
Elaboratingupon Davis's fortress urbanism, gelesremains, in ourjudgment, theleaststudied
StevenFlustyobservedhowvarioustypesoffor- majorcityin theU.S. UntilMikeDavis'sCityof
haveextendeda canopyofsuppression Quartz(1990)brought
tification theurbanrecorduptothe
andsurveillance acrosstheentirecity.His taxon- present, studentsofSouthernCalifornia tended
omyofinterdictory spaces(1994:16-17) identi- to relyprincipallyon CareyMcWilliams's (1973)
fieshow spaces are designedto excludeby a seminalgeneralhistory and Fogelson'sTheFrag-
combination oftheirfunction andcognitive sen- mented Metropolis(1967),anurbanhistory ofL.A.
Some spaces are passivelyaggressive: up to 1930.Otherchronicles
sibilities. oftheurbanevolu-
spaceconcealedbyintervening objectsor grade tion of SouthernCaliforniahave focusedon
changesis "stealthy"; spacethatmaybe reached transportation (Bottles1987; Wachs1996),the
onlybymeansof interrupted or obfuscated ap- Mexican/Chicano experience (delCastillo1979),
proachesis "slippery." Otherspatialconfigura- realestatedevelopment andplanning (Erieforth-
tions are more assertivelyconfrontational: coming;Hise 1997;Weiss1987),and oil (Tygiel
deliberatelyobstructed"crusty"space sur- 1994). The politicalgeography of the regionis
roundedbywallsand checkpoints; inhospitable onlynowbeingwritten (Fulton1997;Sonenshein
"prickly"spacesfeaturing benchesin
unsittable 1993),butseveralmorebroadly-based treatments
areasdevoidofshade;or "jittery" spaceostenta- ofCalifornian politicsexist,includingexcellent
tiouslysaturatedwithsurveillancedevices.Flusty studieson art,poetryandpolitics(CandidaSmith
noteshowcombinations ofinterdictory
spacesare 1995),railways(Deverell1994), and theriseof
beingintroduced "intoeveryfacetoftheurban suburbia(Fishman1987).
environment, generatingdistinctly unfriendly In hishistory
ofLosAngelesbetween1965and
mutanttypologies" (1994:21-33). Some are in- 1992,Soja (1996a) attempts tolinktheemergent
dicativeofthepervasiveinfiltration offearinto patternsof urbanformwithunderlying social
the home, includingthe bunker-style "block- processes.He identified sixkindsofrestructuring,
home,"affluent palisaded"luxurylaager"com- whichtogether definetheregion's contemporary
munities,or low-income residential areas urbanprocess.In additionto Exopolis(noted
converted into"pocketghettos" bymilitary-style above),Soja lists:Flexcities,associatedwiththe
occupation.Othertypological formsbetray a fear transitionto post-Fordism, especiallydeindustri-
of the publicrealm,as withthe fortification of alizationandtheriseoftheinformation economy;
commercial facilities
into"strongpointsofsale," and Cosmopolis, referring to theglobalization of
58 Dear and Flusty

Los Angelesbothin termsofitsemergent world- Post-Fordist


regimesofaccumulation areasso-
citystatusanditsinternal diversifi-
multicultural ciatedwithanalogousregimesof regulation, or
cation. Accordingto Soja, peripheralization, Perhapsthemostprominent
socialcontrol. mani-
post-Fordism, and globalization
together define festationofchangesin theregimeofregulation
theexperience in LosAn-
ofurbanrestructuring has beentheretreat fromthewelfarestate.The
geles.Threespecificgeographiesareconsequent rise of neoconservatism and the privatization
uponthesedynamics: Labyrinth,
Splintered which ethoshavecoincidedwitha periodofeconomic
describestheextreme formsofsocial,economic, recessionand retrenchment whichhasled many
and politicalpolarization of the
characteristic to thebrinkofpoverty justat thetimewhenthe
postmodern city;CarceralCity,referringto the socialwelfare"safety
net"is beingwithdrawn. In
new"incendiary urbangeography"brought about Los Angeles,as in manyothercities,an acute
bythe amalgamof violenceand policesurveil- socioeconomic hasresulted.
polarization In 1984,
thetermSoja usestodescribe
lance;andSimcities, thecitywasdubbedthe"homeless capital"ofthe
thenewwaysofseeingthecitythatareemerging U.S. becauseof the concentration of homeless
fromthestudyofLos Angeles-a kindofepiste- peoplethere(see Wolch1990;Wolchand Dear
mologicalrestructuringthatforegrounds a post- 1993;Wolchand Sommer1997).
modernperspective.

Globalization
Regimesof
FordistversusPost-Fordist
Accumulationand Regulation Needless to say, any considerationof the
changing natureofindustrial production sooner
Manyobservers agreethatone ofthemostim- or latermustencompasstheglobalization ques-
portant underlying shifts in thecontemporary po- tion(cf.KnoxandTaylor1995).In hisreference
liticaleconomy is froma Fordist to a post-Fordist to the globalcontextof L.A.'s localisms,Mike
industrial organization. In a seriesof important Davis (1992b)claimsthatifL.A. is in anysense
books,AllenScottandMichaelStorper havepor- paradigmatic, itisbecausethecitycondensesthe
trayed theburgeoning urbanism ofSouthern Cali- intended andunintended spatialconsequences of
forniaas a consequence of this deep-seated post-Fordism. He insiststhatthereis no simple
structural changeinthecapitalist political
economy master-logicofrestructuring,focusinginsteadon
(Scott1988a, 1988b,1993; Storperand Walker twokeylocalizedmacro-processes: theoveraccu-
1989).Forinstance, Scott'sbasicargument is that mulationin SouthernCaliforniaof bank and
therehavebeentwomajorphasesofurbanization real-estatecapital, principallyfromthe East
intheU.S.Thefirst related toaneraofFordist mass Asian tradesurplus, and therefluxoflow-wage
production, during whichtheparadigmatic citiesof manufacturing andlabor-intensiveserviceindus-
industrial capitalism (Detroit,Chicago,Pittsburgh, tries,following upon immigration fromMexico
etc.)coalescedaroundindustries thatwerethem- and CentralAmerica.Forinstance,Davis notes
selvesbaseduponideasofmassproduction. The how the Cityof Los Angelesused tax dollars
secondphaseis associated withthedeclineofthe gleanedfrom capitalinvestments
international to
Fordist era and theriseofa post-Fordist "flexible subsidizeitsdowntown(BunkerHill) urbanre-
production." This is a formof industrial activity newal,a processhe refersto as "municipalized
basedon small-size, small-batch unitsof(typically land speculation"(1992b:26). Throughsuch
subcontracted) production thatare nevertheless connections, whathappenstodayin Asia and
integrated intoclusters ofeconomicactivity. Such CentralAmericawilltomorrow havean effect in
clusters havebeenobserved intwomanifestations: Los Angeles.This global/local dialectichas al-
labor-intensive craft forms (inLosAngeles, typically readybecomean important (ifsomewhat impre-
garments andjewelry), andhightechnology (espe- ofcontemporary
cise) leitmotif urbantheory.
ciallythedefenseand aerospaceindustries). Ac-
cordingto Scott,theseso-called"technopoles"
untilrecently constituted theprincipal geographical PoliticsofNature
lociofcontemporary (sub)urbanization inSouthern
California (a development prefiguredin Fishman s The naturalenvironment ofSouthern Califor-
description ofthe"technoburb"; seeFishman 1987; niahasbeenunderconstant assaultsincethefirst
CastellsandHall 1994). colonial settlements. Human habitationon a
Postmodern
Urbanism 59

metropolitan scalehasonlybeenpossiblethrough on itsemasculationthroughhumanintervention


a widespread manipulation ofnature,especially (Davis 1996) and on its potentialforpolitical
thecontrolofwaterresourcesin theAmerican mobilizationby grass-roots
movements(Pulido
West(M. L. Davis 1993; Gottleiband FitzSim- 1996).In addition,
Wolch'sSouthernCalifornia-
mons 1991; and Reisner1993). On one hand, basedresearchhas led herto outlinean alterna-
SouthernCalifornians tendto hold a grudging tivevisionofbiogeography's
problematic (Wolch
respectfornature,livingas theydo adjacentto 1996).
one oftheearth'smajorgeological hazardsandin
a desertenvironment thatispronetoflood,land-
slide,and fire(see, forinstance,McPhee 1989; Urbanism
Synthesis:Protopostmodern
Darlington 1996).On theotherhand,itsinhabi-
tantshave been energetically, ceaselessly,and If theseobservers of the SouthernCalifornia
sometimes carelesslyunrolling thecarpetofur- scenecouldtalkwitheach otherto resolvetheir
banizationoverthe naturallandscapeformore differences and reconciletheirterminologies,
thana century. Thisuninhibited occupationhas howmighttheysynthesize theirvisions?At the
engendered itsownrangeofenvironmental prob- riskofmisrepresenting theirwork,we suggesta
lems,mostnotoriously air pollution,but it also schematic thatis powerful,
yetinevitablyincom-
bringsforth habitatlossand dangerousencoun- plete(Figure1). It suggestsa "protopostmodern"
tersbetweenhumansand otheranimals. urbanprocess,drivenby a globalrestructuring
The forceofnatureinSouthern Californiahas thatis permeatedand balkanizedbya seriesof
spawneda literature thatattempts toincorporate interdictorynetworks; whosepopulations areso-
environmental issuesintotheurbanproblematic. ciallyand culturally heterogeneous, but politi-
The politicsof environmental regulationhave callyandeconomically polarized;whoseresidents
longbeenstudiedin manyplaces,including Los areeducatedand persuadedto theconsumption
Angeles(e.g.,FitzSimmons and Gottleib1996). ofdreamscapes evenas thepoorestareconsigned
The particular combination ofcircumstances in to carceralcities;whosebuiltenvironment, re-
SouthernCalifornia has stimulated an especially flectiveoftheseprocesses, consistsofedgecities,
politicalviewofnature,however, focusing both privatopias,and thelike;and whosenaturalen-

Globalization/Restructuring

Culturesof Political-Economic
Heteropolis Polarization

Spaces
Interdictory

Dreamscapes CarceralCities
Edge Cities/Privatopia Fortified
Cities/MeanStreets

PoliticsofNature

Figure1. A conceptofprotopostmodern
urbanism.
60 Dear and Flusty

vironment, of theseprocesses,is
also reflective instancesand disciplines (e.g.,Knox and Taylor
beingerasedtothepointofunlivability
while, atthe 1995). Neologismshave been used herein cir-
sametime,providing a focusforpoliticalaction. cumstanceswhentherewereno existingterms
to describeadequatelytheconditions we sought
toidentify,whenneologisms servedas metaphors
Postmodern
Urbanism to suggestnewinsights,whena singletermmore
conveniently substitutedfora complexphraseor
The onlytheoryworth havingisthatwhichyouhave stringof ideas, and when neologisticnovelty
tofight
off,notthatwhichyouspeakwithprofound aidedour avowedefforts to rehearsethebreak.
fluency(StuartHall 1992:280). The juxtaposing ofpostmodern and moretradi-
tionalcategories ofmodernist urbanism is alsoan
Recognizingthat we may have caused some
essentialpiece of our analyticalstrategy. That
offensebycharacterizing others'workin thisway,
thereis an overlapbetweenmodernist and post-
let us move swiftlyto reconstructtheirevidence
moderncategories shouldsurprise no one;weare,
into a postmodernurban problematic(Table 2).
inevitably, buildingon existingurbanisms and
We anchor this problematicin the straightfor-
epistemologies. The consequentneologistic pas-
wardneed to account forthe evolutionofsociety
tichemaybe properly regardedas a tacticof
over timeand space. Such evolutionoccurs as a
postmodernanalysis;otherscould regardthis
combinationof deep-time (long-term)and pre-
strategy as analogousto hypothesis-generation,
sent-time(short-term) processes,and it develops
oras thepracticeofdialectics.
over several differentscales of human activity
(which we may representsummarilyas micro-,
meso-,and macroscales) (Dear 1988). The struc- UrbanPatternand Process
turingof the time-spacefabricis the resultofthe
interactionamong ecologicallysituated human
We beginwiththeassumption thaturbanism
agents in relationsof production,consumption, is madepossiblebytheexerciseofinstrumental
and coercion. We do not intend any primacyin
controloverbothhumanand nonhumanecolo-
thisorderingofcategories,but insteademphasize
gies(Figure2). The veryoccupationand utiliza-
their interdependencies-allare essential in ex-
tion of space, as well as the productionand
plainingpostmodernhuman geographies.
distribution
of commodities, dependsupon an
Our promiscuoususe of neologismsin what
anthropocentric reconfigurationofnaturalpro-
followsis quite deliberate.12This technique has
cessesandtheirproducts. As thescopeandscale
been used historicallyto good effectin many
of, and dependencyupon, globallyintegrated

Table2. Elements
ofa Postmodern
Urbanism
GLOBAL LATIFUNDIA
HOLSTEINIZATION
PRAEDATORIANISM
FLEXISM
NEW WORLD BIPOLAR DISORDER
Cybergeoisie
Protosurps
MEMETIC CONTAGION
KENO CAPITALISM
CITISTAT
Commudities
Cyburbia
Citidel
In-Beyond
Cyberia
POLLYANNARCHY
DISINFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY
Postmodern
Urbanism 61

consumptionincreases,institutionalaction con- manifestationsisflexism,a patternofecono-cul-


vertscomplex ecologies into monoculturedfac- turalproduction and consumption characterized
tors of productionby simplifying nature into a by near-instantaneous deliveryand rapidredi-
globallatifundia.This process includes both ho- rectability
ofresourceflows.Flexism's fluidity
re-
mogenizinginterventions,as in Californiaagri- sults fromcheaper and faster systemsof
culture's reliance upon vast expanses of single transportationand telecommunications, globali-
crops, and forcefulinterdictionto sustain that zationofcapitalmarkets, and concomitant flex-
interventionagainstnaturalfeedbacks,as in the iblyspecialized,
just-in-timeproductionprocesses
aerial sprayingofpesticidesto eradicatefruitflies enablingshortproduct-and production-cycles.
attractedto these vast expanses of single crops. These resultin highlymobilecapitaland com-
Being part of nature, humanityis subjected to modity flows,abletooutmaneuver geographically
analogous dynamics.Holsteinization is the process fixedlabormarkets, communities, and bounded
of monoculturingpeople as consumersso as to nationstates.Globalization and rapiditypermit
facilitatethe harvestingof desires,includingthe capitaltoevadelong-term commitment toplace-
decompositionofcommunitiesinto isolatedfam- based socioeconomies, thusenablinga crucial
ily units and individuals in order to supplant social dynamic of flexism:whereas, under
social networks of mutual support with con- Fordism,exploitation is exercisedthroughthe
sumershedsof dependent customers.Resistance alienationof laborin the place of production,
is discouragedby means of praedatorianism, i.e., flexismmayrequirelittleorno laborat all froma
the forcefulinterdictionby a praedatorianguard givenlocale.Simultaneously, localdown-waging
withvaryingdegreesof legitimacy. and capitalconcentration operatesynergistically
The global latifundia, holsteinization, and to supplantlocallyownedenterprises withna-
praedatorianismare, in one formor another,as tionalandsupranational chains,therebytransfer-
old as the global politicaleconomy,but the over- ringconsumercapitaland inventory selection
archingdynamicsignalinga break withprevious everfarther awayfromdirectlocalcontrol.

NEW WORLD BIPOLAR DISORDER

|CYBERGEOISIE ||PROTOSURPS|

memetic
contagion memetic
contagion
Figure2. Elementsofa postmodern - 1.
urbanism
62 Dear and Flusty

Fromtheseexchangeasymmetries emergesa lappingin bothmembership and space,resulting


newworldbi-polar disorder. This is a globally bi- in a classofmarginalized indigenous populations
furcated socialorder,manytimesmorecompli- andperipheral immigrants whoarerelatively less
cated than conventionalclass structures, in holsteinized.
whichthoseoverseeing thegloballatifundia en- The sociocultural collisionsandintermeshings
joyconcentrated power.Thosewhoare depend- ofprotosurp affinity
groups, generated byflexist-
ent upon theircommand-and-control decisions inducedimmigration and severesocialdifferen-
findthemselves inprogressively weakerpositions, tiation, serves to produce wild memetic
pittedagainsteach otherglobally, and forcedto contagion.13This is a processbywhichcultural
acceptshrinking compensation fortheirefforts elementsofone individual or groupexertcross-
(assuming thatcompensation isoffered inthefirst overinfluences uponthecultureofanother, pre-
place). Of thetwogroups,thecybergeoisie reside viouslyunexposedindividual/group. Memetic
inthe"bighouse"ofthegloballatifundia, provid- contagionis evidencedin Los Angelesbysuch
ingindispensable, presently unautomatable com- hybridized agentsand intercultural conflicts as
mand-and-control functions. They are Mexicanand CentralAmericanpractitioners of
predominantly stockholders, thecoreemployees Afro-Caribbean religion (McGuire and
of thinned-down corporations, and write-your- Scrymgeourforthcoming), blue-bandanna'd
own-ticket freelancers (e.g.,CEOs, subcontract Thai Crips,ortheadjustments prompted bypoor
entrepreneurs, and celebrities). They mayalso African-Americans' offenseat Korean mer-
sheltermembers ofmarginal creativeprofessions, chants'disinclination to smilecasually.Memetic
who comprisea kindof paracybergeoisie. The contagion shouldnotbe takenfora mereepiphe-
cybergoisie enjoyperceivedsocioeconomic secu- nomenonof an underlying politicaleconomic
rityand comparatively long-term horizons in de- order,generating colorfullychaoticornamenta-
cisionmaking;consequently theiranxietiestend tionsfora flexistregime.Rather,it entailsthe
towardunforeseen socialdisruptions suchas mar- assemblageof novelwaysof seeingand being,
ketfluctuations and crime.Commanding, con- from whencenewidentities, cultures, andpoliti-
trolling,and prodigiously enjoying thefruits ofa cal alignments emerge.Thesenewsocialconfigu-
sharedglobalexchangeofgoodsandinformation, rations,in turn,may act to forcechange in
thecybergoisie exerciseglobalcoordination func- existing institutionsandstructures, andtospawn
tionsthatpredispose themto a similarideology cognitive conceptions thatareincommensurable
and,thus,theyarerelatively heavilyholsteinized. with,thoughnotnecessarily anylessvalidthan,
Protosurps,on theotherhand,are theshare- existing models.The inevitable tensions between
croppersof the globallatifundia. They are in- theanarchicdiversification bornofmemetic con-
creasingly marginalized "surplus" laborproviding tagionand themanipulations oftheholsteiniza-
just-in-time serviceswhencalleduponbyflexist tion processmayyet proveto be the central
productionprocesses,but otherwisealienated culturalcontradiction offlexism.
fromglobalsystems ofproduction (thoughnotof Withthe flexist imposition of globalimpera-
consumption). Protosurps includetemporary or tiveson localeconomiesandcultures, thespatial
daylaborers, fire-at-will serviceworkers, a bur- logicof Fordismhas givenwayto a new,more
geoningclassofintra-andinternational itinerant dissonant internationalgeographical order.
In the
laborers specializinginpursuing themigrations of absence of conventionalcommunication and
fluidinvestment. Truesurpdom isa stateofsuper- transportation imperatives mandatingpropin-
fluitybeyondpeonage-a vagrancythatis in- quity,the once-standard ChicagoSchool logic
creasinglycriminalizedthroughantihomeless hasgivenwayto a seemingly haphazard juxtapo-
ordinances,welfare-state erosion,and wide- sitionoflandusesscattered overthelandscape.
spreadcommunity intolerance(of,forinstance, Worldwide, lands sproutmonocul-
agricultural
all forms ofpanhandling). Protosurps are called turesofexportable strawberry orbroccoliin lieu
upontoprovideas yetunautomated servicefunc- ofdiversestaplecropsgrownforlocalconsump-
tionsdesignedto be performed byanyone.Sub- tion.Sittingamidthesefields, identicalassembly
jected to high degreesof uncertainty by the linesproducethesamebrandofautomobile, sup-
omnipresent threatof instantunemployment, pliedwithpartsandmanagedfrom distantconti-
protosurps are proneto clustering into affinity nents.Expensivecondominiums appearamong
groupsforsupport in thefaceofadversity. These squatterslums,indistinguishable in formandoc-
affinitygroups, however, arenotexclusive, over- cupancyfrom(and oftenin directcommunica-
Postmodern
Urbanism 63

tion with)luxuryhousingbuiltatop homeless habitatpreferences ofthewell-recompensed cy-


encampments elsewhere intheworld.Yetwhatin bergeoisie.They commonly consistof carefully
close-upappearsto be a fragmentary, collaged manicured residential and commercial ecologies
polycultureis,froma longerperspective, a geo- managedthroughprivatopianself-administra-
graphically disjointedbut hyperspatially inte- tion,and maintained againstinternaland exter-
gratedmonoculture, thatis, shuffled samesset nal outlaws by a repertoireof interdictory
amid adaptiveand persistent local variations. prohibitions.Increasingly, theseprepackaged en-
The resultis a landscapenotunlikethatformed vironments jockeywithone anotherforclientele
bya kenogamecard. The carditselfappearsas a on thebasisofrecreational, cultural,security,and
numbered grid,withsomesquaresbeingmarked educational amenities. Commonly locatedon dif-
duringthe courseof the gameand othersnot, ficult-to-accesssiteslikehilltopsor urbanedges,
accordingto some randomdraw.The process farfromrestless populations undergoing conver-
governingthis markingultimately determines sion to protosurpdom, individualcommudities
whichplayerwillachievea jackpot-winning pat- are increasingly teleintegrated to formcyburbia
tern;itis,however, determined bya rationalized (Dewey1994),theinteractive tollways compris-
setofprocedures beyondtheterritory ofthecard ingthehigh-rent districtofCitistat's hyperspatial
Similarly,
itself. theapparently randomdevelop- electronicshadow.(Thisprocessmaysoonfinda
mentand redevelopment of urbanland maybe geographical analogintheconversion ofautomo-
regardedas the outcomeof exogenousinvest- tivefreeways linkingcommudities via exclusive
mentprocesses inherent toflexism, thuscreating tollways.)Teleintegration is alreadycomplete
thelandscapesofkenocapitalism. (andde rigeur) forthecitidels, whicharecommer-
Keno capitalism's contingent mosaicof vari- cialcommodities consisting ofhighrise corporate
egatedmonocultures rendersdiscussionof "the towersfromwhichthecontroland coordination
city"increasingly reductionist. Moreholistically, and distribution in thegloballati-
ofproduction
thedispersed netofmegalopoles maybe viewed
fundiais exercised.
as a singleintegrated urbansystem, or Citistat
Citista-t's
internalperiphery and repository of
(Figure3). Citistat, thecollectiveworldcity,has
cheap on-calllaborlies at the in-beyond, com-
emergedfromcompeting urbanwebsofcolonial
prisedof a shifting matrixof protosurp affinity
andpostcolonial erastobecomea geographically
clusters.The in-beyond maybe envisionedas a
diffusehubofan omnipresent periphery, drawing
patchworkquilt of variouslydefinedinterest
laborandmaterials fromreadilysubstitutable lo-
groups(withdiffering levelsof economic,cul-
cationsthroughout thatperiphery. Citistatisboth
in thesensethaturban tural,and streetinfluence), none ofwhichpos-
geographically corporeal,
placesexist,and yetageographically etherealin sesses the wherewithal to achieve hegemonic
the sensethatcommunication systems createa statusor to secede.Secessionmayoccurlocally
virtualspace, permitting coordinationacross to somedegree,as in the cases of the publicly
physicalspace. Both realmsreinforce each an- subsidizedreconfiguration ofL.A.'s LittleTokyo,
otherwhile(re)producing thenewworldbipolar and theconsolidation ofKoreatown through the
disorder. import, adjacentextraction, and community re-
Materially,Citistatconsistsof commudities circulationofcapital.The piecemealdiversity of
(centersofcommandandcontrol), andthein-be- thein-beyond makesita hotbedofwildmemetic
yond(internal peripheries simultaneously under- contagion.The globalconnectivity ofthein-be-
goingbutresisting instrumentalization in myriad yondis considerably lessglamorous thanthatof
ways).Virtually, Citistatconsistsofcyburbia, the the cybergeoisie's commodities, butit is no less
collectionof state-of-the-art data-transmission, extensive.Intermittent phonecontactandwire-
premiumpay-per-use, and interactive services serviceremittancesoccur throughout cyberia
generallyreliantuponcostlyand technologically (Rushkoff 1995;alsosee KnoxandTaylor1995).
complexinterfaces; and cyberia,an electronic The pot-holedpublicstreetsofCitista-t's virtual
outlandofrudimentary communications includ- twinare augmentedby extensivenetworksof
ing basic phone serviceand telegraphy, inter- snailmail,personalmigration, and thehand-to-
wovenwithandpreceptorally conditioned bythe handpassageofmediatedcommunications (e.g.,
disinformation superhighway (DSH). cassettetapes). Such contactsoccasionallydif-
Commudities are commodified communities fuseintocommodities, as withtheconversion of
createdexpressly to satisfy (and profitfrom)the cybergeosie youthto wannabegangstas.
64 Dear and Flusty

DISINFORMATIONSUPERHIGHWAY

/CBER EI IEa /ROTOSURPa


COMMUDI IES | IN-BEYOND

< ~~memetic
contagionX

POLLYANNRCY
Figure3. Elements
ofa postmodern - 2.
urbanism

Politicalrelations inCitistattendtowardpoly- bolicvalueofcommodities. At thesametime,it


anarchy, a politicsofgrudging toleranceofdiffer- servesas thehighly filtered
sensory organthrough
ence that emerges from interactions and whichcommodities and thein-beyond perceive
accommodations withinthe in-beyond and be- theworldoutsidetheirunmediated dailyexperi-
tweencommodities, andlessfrequently, between ences. The DSH is Citistat's"consentfactory"
in-beyondand commudity. Its morepervasive (Chomsky and Herman1988),engineering me-
formis pollyannarchy, an exaggerated, manufac- meticcontagionto encourageparticipation in a
turedoptimism thatpromotes a self-congratula- globallatifundia thatisrepresented as bothinevi-
toryawareness andrespectfordifference andthe tableanddesirable. ButsincetheDSH isa broad-
asymmetries of power.Pollyannarchy is thusa band distributorof informationdesigned
pathological form ofpolyanarchy, disempowering primarily to attractand deliverconsumersto
thosewhowouldchallengethecontrolling bene- advertisers, the ultimatereceptionof messages
ficiaries
ofthenewworldbipolardisorder. Polly- carriedby the DSH is difficult to targetand
annarchy is evidentin thecontinuing spectacle predetermine. ThustheDSH alsoservesinadver-
ofelectoralpolitics, orin thecitywide unitycam- tentlyas a vectorformemetic contagion, e.g.,the
paignrun by corporatesponsorsfollowing the conversionof cybergeoisie youthto wannabe
1992uprising in Los Angeles. gangstas viathedissemination ofhip-hopculture
Wiredthroughout thebodyofthe Citistatis overcommudity boundaries. The DSH servesas
thedisinformation superhighway(orDSH), a mass a networkof preceptoral control,and is thus
info-tain-mercial mediaownedby roughly two distinctfromthe coercivemechanismsof the
dozen cybergeoisie institutions.
The DSH dis- praedatorian guard.Overlapbetweenthetwois
seminates holsteinizing ideologiesandincentives, increasingly common,however, as in thecase of
createswantsand dreams,and inflates thesym- televiseddisinfotainment programs like Amer-
Postmodern
Urbanism 65

ica'sMostWanted,in whichcrimesaredramati- guide to contemporary urbanism.In thisfirst


callyreenactedandviewers invitedtocallin and sense,ourinvestigation hasuncoveredanepiste-
betrayallegedperpetrators. mologicalradical breakwith past practices,
As thecybergeoisie increasingly withdraw from which in itselfis sufficient justificationfor
theFordist redistributive triadofbiggovernment, somethingcalled a Los Angeles School. The
bigbusiness, and biglaborto establish theirown concentric ringstructure oftheChicagoSchool
micronations, thesocialsupport functions ofthe was essentiallya conceptof the cityas an or-
statedisintegrate,alongwiththesurvivability of ganic accretionaround a central,organizing
less affluentcitizens.The globalmigrations of core.Instead,we have identified a postmodern
workto thelowest-wage locationsofthein-be- urban processin which the urban periphery
yond,and of consumercapitalto the citidels, organizesthe centerwithinthe contextof a
resultin powerasymmetries thatbecomeso pro- globalizingcapitalism.
nouncedthateventheDSH is at timesincapable The postmodern urbanprocessremainsreso-
of obscuringthem,leavingprotosurps increas- lutelycapitalist,but the natureof thatenter-
inglydisinclined to adhereto theremnants ofa prise is changingin very significantways,
tatteredsocialcontract.This instability in turn especiallythrough(forinstance)the telecom-
createsthepotential forviolence,pitting Citistat munications revolution, thechangingnatureof
andcybergeoisie againsttheprotosurp in-beyond, work,and globalization.Thus, in thissecond
and leadinginevitably to a demandforthesup- sensealso,we understand thata radicalbreakis
pressionofprotosurp intractibility.
The praeda- occurring,this timein the conditionsof our
torian guard thus emergesas the principal materialworld.Contemporaryurbanismis a
remaining vestigeof the police powersof the consequenceofhow local and interlocalflows
state.This increasingly privatizedpublic/private of materialand information (includingsym-
partnership ofmercenary sentries,
policeexpedi- bols) intersectin a rapidlyconverging globally
tionaryforces,andtheirtechnological extensions integrated economydrivenbythe imperatives
(e.g.,videocameras,helicopters, criminological offlexism.Landscapesandpeoplesarehomoge-
datauplinks, etc.)watchesoverthecommudities nized to facilitatelarge-scaleproductionand
andminimizes disruptiveness byactingas a force consumption. Highlymobilecapitaland com-
ofoccupationwithinthein-beyond. The praeda- modityflowsoutmaneuver geographicallyfixed
torianguardachievescontrolthrough coercion, labormarkets, communities, and nation-states,
evenat theinternational levelwhereasymmetri- and cause a globallybifurcatedpolarization.
cal traderelationsare reinforced bythemilitary The beneficiaries of thissystemare the cyber-
and itsclientele.It mayonlybe a matteroftime goisie,even as the numbersof permanently
beforethe local and nationalpraedatorians are marginalizedprotosurpsgrow. In the new
administrativelyand functionally merged, as ex- global order,socioeconomicpolarizationand
emplified byproposals todeploymilitary unitsfor massive,suddenpopulationmigrations spawn
policinginner-city streetsor the U.S.-Mexico culturalhybridsthroughthe processof me-
border. meticcontagion.Cities no longerdevelop as
concentrated loci ofpopulationand economic
activity,butas fragmented parcelswithinCiti-
An Alternative
Model ofUrbanStructure stat,the collectiveworldcity.Materially,the
Citistatconsistsofcommodities(commodified
We have beguntheprocessofinterrogating communities)and the in-beyond(the perma-
priormodelsof urbanstructure withan alter- nentlymarginalized). Virtually, the Citistatis
native model based upon the recentexperi- composedof cyburbia(thosehookedinto the
ences of Los Angeles.We do not pretendto electronicworld)and cyberia(thosewho are
havecompletedthisproject,norclaimthatthe not).Social orderismaintained bytheideologi-
SouthernCalifornian experienceis necessarily cal apparatusoftheDSH, theCitistat'sconsent
typicalofothermetropolitan regionsin theU.S. factory,and by the praedatorianguard,the
or the world.Still less wouldwe advocatere- privatizedvestigesof the nation-state's police
placingthe old modelswitha new hegemony. powers.
But discoursehas to startsomewhere,and by Keno capitalism is thesynoptic termthatwe
now it is clear that the most influentialof have adoptedto describethespatialmanifesta-
existingurbanmodelsis no longertenableas a tionsofthepostmodern urbancondition(Figure
66 Dear and Flusty

DSH/Interdictory
Spaces Ethnoburb
P Edge Cities Containment
Centers
WThemeParks
RI GaTedCommunities
GatedCommunities ~ D Consumption
Opportunities
>%q StreetWarfare Command& Control
Centers
hACorporateCitadels Spectacle
Figure4. KenoCapitalism:
a modelofpostmodern
urbanstructure.

4). Urbanization is occurringon a quasi-random globalcity(not to mentiongeopoliticaltransi-


fieldofopportunities. Capitaltouchesdownas if tions,as nation-states
givewayto micro-nation-
bychanceon a parcelofland,ignoring theoppor- alismsand transnationalmafias),the cityas
tunitieson intervening lots,thussparkingthe gamingboard seems an especiallyappropriate
development process.The relationship between twenty-firstcenturysuccessorto theconcentri-
development ofone parcelandnondevelopment callyringedcityoftheearlytwentieth.
of anotheris a disjointed, seemingly unrelated
affair.While not trulya randomprocess,it is
evidentthatthe traditional, center-driven ag- Conclusion:
Invitation
to a
glomeration economiesthathave guidedurban
development in thepastno longerapply.Con- Postmodern
Urbanism
ventional cityform, Chicago-style,issacrificed
in
favorof a noncontiguous collageof parcelized, Tellme,they'll
saytome.So wewillunderstand
and
be ableto resolve
things.
They'll
be mistaken.
It's
consumption-oriented landscapesdevoidofcon- onlythings youdon'tunderstand
thatyoucanre-
ventionalcentersyetwiredintoelectronic pro- solve.Therewillbe no resolution.
(PeterHoeg,
pinquity and nominally unified by the 1993:453).
mythologies ofthedisinformation superhighway.
Los Angelesmaybe a matureformofthispost- Our notionof keno capitalismis necessarily
modernmetropolis; Las Vegascomesto mindas partialand positional,
not a metanarrativebut
a youthfulexample.The consequent urbanaggre- morea micronarrative awaitingdialogicalen-
gateis characterized byacutefragmentation and gagementwithalternativeconceptionsof the
specializationa partitioned gamingboardsub- urban,bothfromwithinLos Angelesand else-
jectto perverse lawsand peculiarly discrete,
dis- where.Althoughit is impossible
forus to begin
jointedurbanoutcomes.Given the pervasive an exercisein comparative
urbananalysisat this
presence ofcrime, corruption,andviolenceinthe point,we concludewithsomegeneralobserva-
Postmodern
Urbanism 67

tionsabouta researchagenda.Our knowledge of Each ofthesethemes(globalization, polariza-


theliterature suggests at leastfourbroadthemes tion,fragmentation and culturalhybrids, andcy-
thatoverlapwiththesubstanceofthisessay. bercities) holds a place in our postmodern
(1) World City:In itscontemporary manifesta- urbanism. But (as we hopeis bynowclear)none
tion,theemphasis on a system ofworldcitiescan ofthemindividually providea sufficientexplana-
be tracedback to PeterHall's The WorldCities tionforthe urbanoutcomeswe are currently
(1966). The conceptwas updatedbyFriedmann observing. A properaccounting ofcontemporary
andWolff (1982) to emphasize theemergence of patternand processwillrequirea muchmore
a relativelyfewcentersofcommandand control strenuous effort directedtowardcomparative ur-
ina globalizing economy. Extensions andapprais- bananalysis. Unfortunately, theempirical, meth-
alsoftheconcepthavebeenoffered in,forexam- odological, andtheoretical basesforsuchanalysis
ple,KnoxandTaylor(1995) and specialissuesof areweak.We lack,forinstance,adequateinfor-
UrbanGeography (1996) and theAnnalsofthe mationon a fullsampleofnationaland interna-
American Academy ofPolitical and SocialScience tionalcities,although valuablecurrent syntheses
("Globalizationand the ChangingU.S. City" areavailablein UrbanGeography (1996) and the
1997).A significant emphasis in themorerecent AnnalsoftheAmerican AcademyofPolitical and
workhas been on the global-localconnection, SocialSciences("Globalization and theU.S. City"
and on theimplications ofthesheersizeofthe 1997). Thereare a numberofexplicitcompara-
emergent megacities (Dogan and Kasarda1988; tivestudies,but thesetendto focuson already
Sudjic1992). well,documented centerssuchas London,Tokyo,
(2) Dual City:One of the most persistent and New YorkCity(e.g.,Fainstein1994;Sassen
themesin contemporary urbananalysisis social 1991). In contrast, thevibrancy and potential of
polarization, i.e.,theincreasing gapbetweenrich important centerssuch as Miami stillremain
and poor;betweenthepowerful and powerless;
closeted(Nijman1996,1997;PortesandStepick
betweendifferent ethnic,racial,and religious 1993).Ourmethodological andtheoretical appa-
groupings; andbetweengenders(O'Loughlinand
ratusesforcross-cultural urbananalysesarealso
Friedrichs1996;Mollenkopf and Castells1991).
underdeveloped. Castells(1996, 1997) offers an
Toofewanalyseshavetracedhowthisbroadclass
insightfulengagement withglobalurbancondi-
ofpolarizations istranslated intothespatialstruc-
tions,andthetheoretical insights ofEllin(1996),
tureofcities(e.g.,Ley1996;Sassen1991,1994).
(3) Altered spaces:Anotherprevalentcondi- King (1996), and Soja (1996b) on a putative
tionofcontemporary urbanexistence isfragmen- postmodern urbanismare muchneededexcur-
tation,bothin materialand cognitive life.It has sions into a neglected field.14In addition,
been notedbyobservers who place themselves ChauncyHarris's(1997) recentreworking ofhis
bothwithinand beyondthe postmodern ethos multiplenucleimodelintowhathe termsa pe-
(see,forinstance, WatsonandGibson1995,and ripheralmodelof urbanareas revealsan acute
the essaysin the Cityjournal ["It All Comes sensitivityto thecontemporary urbancondition,
Together inLosAngeles"1996]).Theirconcerns but engagestheoretical preceptsquitedifferent
oftenfocuson thecollapseofconventional com- fromours.Finally, workon citiesofthedevelop-
munitiesand theriseofnewculturalcategories ing,postcolonial,and non-Western worldsre-
and spaces,including especially culturalhybrids mainssparseand unsustained, as well as being
(Canclini 1996; Olalquiaga 1992; Morleyand stubbornly immunefromthebroaderlessonsof
Robins1995;Zukin1994). Western-based theory-eventhoughtheempiri-
(4) Cybercity: No one can ignorethe chal- cal parallelsbetween,forexample,Seabrook's
lengesoftheinformation age,whichpromises to (1996) subtitle,"Scenes froma Developing
unseatmanyofourcherished notionsaboutso- World"and ourconstruction ofpostmodern ur-
ciospatialstructuring. Castells(1996, 1997) has banismarestriking.
undertaken an ambitious three-volume account We intendthisessayas an invitation to exam-
ofthissocialrevolution, butas yetrelatively few ine theconceptof a postmodern urbanism. We
people (beyondscience-fiction authorssuch as recognizethatwe have onlybegunto sketchits
WilliamGibsonand Neal Stephenson)haveex- potential,thatits validitywillonlybe properly
ploredwhatthisrevolution portendsforcities. assessedifresearchers elsewhere in theworldare
One pioneering exceptionisWilliam J.Mitchell's willingtoexamineitsprecepts. Weurgeothersto
CityofBits(1995). sharein thisenterprise because,eventhoughour
68 Dear and Flusty

visionistentative,
weareconvincedthatwehave 6. Forexample, Longstreth (1997) examines therole
glimpsed a newwayofunderstandingcities.15 of Los Angelesin theinventionof the regional
shopping mall.See alsoHayden(1994).
7. The claimsofa "Los AngelesSchool"mayhave
Acknowledgments alreadybeenovertaken bya burgeoning "Orange
CountySchool."Accordingto MarkGottdiener
andGeorgeKephartinPostsuburban California, it
Earlier
versionsofthispaperhavebeenpresented at
isOrangeCountythatistheparadigmatic window
a "Theory, Culture & Society" conferenceinBerlin,
on late-twentieth-century urbanism:
theUniversity ofTurku onbehalf oftheFinnishAcad- We havefocussedon whatwe considerto be a
emyofScience,theHowellLecture in theSchoolof newformofsettlement space-the fully urban-
Architecture, Universityof Nebraska-Lincoln, the
ized,multinucleated, andindependent county.
SchoolofArchitecture, Building andPlanning, Uni- . . formally
separatedfrombutadjacentto large
versityofMelbourne, theannualmeetings oftheAs- well-known metropolitan regions.... As a new
sociationofCollegiateSchoolsofArchitectureandthe
formofsettlement space,theyarethefirst such
Association ofAmerican Geographers, andtheCenter
occurrence in fivethousandyearsofurbanhis-
forAdvanced StudyintheBehavioral Sciences,Stan-
tory(1991:51).
fordUniversity.WearegratefultoScottLashandMike
Postsuburban districts,theyfurther state,"possess
Featherstone, HarriAnderson andJouni Hikli,Ross
relativelylarge populations;theyare polynu-
KingandRuthFincher, SharonLordGaber, andRobert
cleated,withno singlecenterthat dominates
Harris forinvitations
topresent papersontheseocca-
development as it does in the traditional urban
sions.Thanks alsotothemany conferenceparticipants model;and theypossessrelatively robustemploy-
whoprovided constructive KimDovey,
criticism. Ruth
mentbases and also serveas residential areas,
Fincher,Robert Harris,John CarolLevy,
Kaliski, John
especiallyforthewhitemiddleclass"(p.51). Such
Levy, ClaudioMinca,JanNijman, KevinRobins, Mi-
districtsappearto be identifiable byfourcharac-
chaelWebber, andJennifer Wolchweresupportive of
teristics:"postsuburban spatialorganization, in-
theenterprise andoffered helpfulcomments, as dida
formation capitalism, consumerism, and
numberof anonymous referees.Deanna Knicker-
cosmopolitanism" (1991:4).
bocker andDallasDishman preparedthefigures.
None
8. Rabanfs viewfindsechoesin theseminalworkof
ofthesepeopleshould beblamed foranythinginthis
de Certeau(1984).
essay.Thispaperwasfirst writtenwhileDearwasa
9. It isworthemphasizing thatin theoverview, we
fellowattheCenter forAdvanced StudyintheBehav-
focus solely on the concatenationof urban
ioralSciencesatStanford. Thesupport oftheCenter
events that are occurringin contemporary
andtheNational ScienceFoundation SES-9022192 is
SouthernCalifornia.This is notto suggestthat
gratefully
acknowledged.
such trendsare absentin othercities,northat
a largerliterature on thesetopicsand citiesis
missing.A complete review of these other
Notes places and literaturesis simplybeyond the
scope ofthispaper.
1. See,forexample, Pred(1995)andAuge(1995). 10. Such sentimentsfindechoes in Neil Smith's
2. Someelements ofthisdiscussion
maybefound in assessmentof the new urban frontier, where
Watsonand Gibson(1995),Ellin(1996),and expansionis poweredby two industries:real-
KnoxandTaylor (1995). estate developers (who package and define
3. Thetheoreticalbasesforthisargumentareexam- value), and themanufacturers ofculture(who
inedmorefullyinDear(1988,1991).Forspecific define taste and consumptionpreferences)
considerations
oftherhetoric in
ofcityplanning (Smith1992:75).
thenewurbanism, seeDear(1989). 11. The listof L.A. novelsand moviesis endless.
4. Thisshould notbeconfusedwiththeL.A.School Typicalof the dystopiancinematicvisionare
of architecture,
discussedby CharlesJencks "BladeRunner"(RidleyScott1986) and"China-
(1993). town"(RomanPolanski1974); and ofsillyopti-
5. The term"school"is problematic, but we mism,"L.A. Story"(MickJackson1991).
herefollow JenniferPrattandusethetermto 12. One criticaccusedus (quitecleverly)of"neolo-
referto "a collectionofindividuals working gorrhea."
inthesameenvironment whoat thetimeand 13. Thistermis a combination ofReneGirard's"mi-
throughtheirown retrospective construc- meticcontagion"and animalethologist Richard
tionsoftheiridentity andtheimpartations of Dawkin'shypothesis thatculturalinformations
intellectualhistoriansare definedas repre- are gene-type units,or "memes,"transmitted vi-
sentinga distinctapproachto a scholarly rus-like fromhead to head. We hereemploythe
endeavor"(1995:2). term"hybridized" in recognition of the recency
and noveltyof the combination, not to assert
Postmodern
Urbanism 69

some priorpurityto the componentelements Castells,M. 1997.TheInformation Age:Economy, Soci-


forming thehybrid. ety,and Culture, vol. 1: The RiseoftheNetwork
14. The collectionofessaysassembledin Benkoand Society,and vol. 2: The PowerofIdentity. Cam-
Strohmayer (1997) isan excellent
overview ofthe bridge:Blackwell.
betweenspace and postmodernism,
relationship and Hall, P 1994.Technopoles oftheWorld: The
includingthe urbanquestion.Kevin Robins's Makingofthe21stCentury Complexes.
Industrial
valuableworkon media,visualcultures, andrep- NewYork:Routledge.
resentational
issuesalsodeservesa wideaudience Cenzatti,M. 1993. Los Angelesand theL.A. School:
(e.g.,Robins1996;MorleyandRobins1995). Postmodernism and UrbanStudies.Los Angeles:
15. A muchfullertreatment ofthisassertion
is tobe Los AngelesForumforArchitecture and Urban
foundin Dear (forthcoming). Design.
Chomsky,N. and Herman,E. 1988. Manufacturing
Consent. NewYork:PantheonBooks.
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