Friday, January 31, 2003

right on. I have invited everyone from the Twin Cities. One has already signed up. If everyone else signs up we know where we are going.
OK, I've invited all the Madison folks, and I've put a "Blog" link on the UW web site pages, which opens up this nice posting/viewing area in a new window. Check it out, someone, if you like.
hello all, jamie here. This looks great to me.
I think we need to wait for Eric and Jamie to weigh in; after all, they'll need to monitor this blog regularly if it goes live. If they agree, then I'm happy to invite the Madison people over the weekend if Anant will invite the Mpls ones.

I do think, however, that people on the Madison side are still going to collate their email responses off-line for this week. That collated document can then be posted on the blog, though, by our designated discussants. Haven't heard if the Mpls folks are doing something similar, or if they're going to do the email barrage again?
We still havent heard from Eric, and Jamie. But on the whole this looks like it is working. What do people think? we should go ahead and send off the invites to everyone ? I have the email ids of everyone at the minneapolis end. Can Greg take care of the Madison end ? Or Greg can send the emails ids to me and I will send the invites from here.
Helga, to print all the posted messages you might want to go to the "published" version of the site at and just print that page -- it automatically shows the last 7 days of posts. A quick way to get to that page from the blog-editing page is to click the yellow "view web page" text. Make sense?

Thursday, January 30, 2003

High everybody,
I am glad to see that this thing works. I suggest that we use it to post questions for next week.
Can anyone tell me how to print posted messages?
this is Kristin (b)logging on. This blog thing looks good.
On a slight tangent: there's a short article on the World Social Forum and the "New Left" by Naomi Klein at today that will be relevant to articles we'll read in a couple of weeks...
Greg, I have just invited Leitner, Peck and Sheppard to join the weblog as team members. Let us see what they think.
Uh-oh -- did something happen to the text wrapping?
[Here are Jamie's notes from class on Tuesday]

Urban entrepreneurialism in critical context

- From introspective cities to externally-oriented cities

- Surface manifestations of entrepreneurial politics ?
o shift towards a pro-growth or growth-first economic development agenda
o shift from urban government to governance

- Paradox #1: the act of pursuing a more aggressive, growth-oriented approach intensifies the same competitive?pressures that reduced cities options in the first place
o so there is agency here, but it is a perverse form of agency that erodes urban capacities even as it mobilizes them.
Harvey's fatalism is a fatalism of the intellect, not the will, in this respect

- Paradox #2: these pressures seem to induce cities to be less, not more, innovative?
o even if the consequences are not simple convergence (or a race to the bottom?, the associated policy repertoire is just as depressingly thin as it is depressingly familiar
o does this apparent lack of creative reflect limited local vision or limited local capacity?

- What the experience of the 1990s revealed ?

o that some of the pessimism was appropriate, given the limited or isolated achievements of progressive urban strategies
o that the new forms of urban politics that did emerge in some senses reflect the limitations and contradictions of the 1980s?project, though this functional?explanation alone is (surely!) insufficient
o that the competitive forces of urban entrepreneurialism (Harvey's force field of competitive pressures) were not simply out there,?nor were they strictly economic in origin
in some respects, they are discourses that circulate largely within neoliberalized state structures
competitive pressures themselves do not float in the air, but are constituted though local and extralocal action

- What the case study of Manchester revealed ?

o strategies of state restructuring frame?urban entrepreneurialism in a profound way (grant coalitions not growth coalitions)
o even if this is the only game in town, there are many ways of playing it
o the elite networks of the entrepreneurial city are anything but free floating
o that the frailties/contingencies of the project are strongly evident under close (empirical) inspection, in contrast to the rhetoric/some theory claims
Okay lets see what it looks like. I am just dumping all the questions in one place here.
ITV session II January 28, 2003

Questions on David Harvey's Entrepreneurial cities

Tom Hove
Since I'm not a geographer and also couldn't make it this last weekend, I'll just ask a couple very general meta-questions about the general approach of the four pieces we've read so far:

1. Is "the city" simply too big and complex a concept to use in these kinds of discussions? In what we've read, there's generally a combination of historical description followed by political prescription. But much of this prescription can take only a hortatory form, with a lot of "shoulds" appearing in these pieces' discussions of what needs to happen with cities in the future. Instead of going on about that issue, I'll simply ask whether it's even possible to make prescriptive plans for a phenomenon as large, dynamic, and complex as a city.

2. Since the subject matter and cities covered in these pieces are so varied, the political aims for them must also be extremely diverse and variegated. Should we maybe limit our discussions of political goals to a set of two or three, just so we don't end up skimming the surface of too much important material at once? Most importantly, what should those goals be?

Finally, I second the vote to limit the number of e-mails we're sending to one another. My guess is that the members of this course are probably enthusiastic enough about its subject matter to generate plenty of in-class discussion on the spur of the moment.

Claudia Hanson Thiem
Discussion Questions on Harvey (1989)

While he suggests the possibility that entrepreneurialism need not result in zero-sum competition (5), that local states retain a form of autonomy (14), and that there are opportunities for a "progressive urban corporatism" through networks (16), Harvey?s discussion of the entrepreneurial city is extremely pessimistic. I am inclined to agree with his assessment, but in the interests of creating alternatives, the following questions take up a few nuggets of opportunity in Harvey?s piece...

1) Do local states have autonomy? Harvey (p.14) suggests they do?they have the freedom to innovate, but are simultaneously disciplined by the competitive imperatives of mobile capital. In light of this seeming contradiction, is there anything to hope for from the local state? Does it have the potential to develop/support progressive alternatives to neoliberal initiatives (even if this support is partial/pragmatic)? Or must an alternative politics necessarily work
separately from, and in opposition to the local state?

2) What are the spaces for a progressive politics in the entrepreneurial city? The question of "who is being entrepreneurial and about what" (6) reminds us there is more to the entrepreneurial city than capital-friendly policies and their boosters. By identifying the networks of neoliberalism can we also expose their limits, silences, etc.? Should alternatives enter these "open" spaces or perhaps attack the entrepreneurial city on its own turf? Must resistance also play the entrepreneurial game, and to what effect?
Brenda Parker
Harvey argues for the necessity of building alliances across space that can challenge hegemonic capitalism (e.g. jumping scale and building networks). I wonder if he(and all of us network fans)needs to think through more thoroughly the role of place-based activism and identity. While we might agree with Doreen Massey that places are simply stretched out social relations whose meaning is always contested--many people do have strong attachments to place (socially constructed or not). Also, as Kristin pointed out, place is one common element by which alliances are built across race,class, and gender, particularly in issues of env. justice.

1.)So, the question(s)are: What is the relationship between networks and place-based activism? Is it always better to be networked beyond place? How are conceptions and narratives about place employed or disregarded in local/non-local networks? Do networks transcend place?

2.)Under the now well-established entrepeneurial logic described by Harvey, has the effort to implement neoliberal or draconian programs of social welfare (e.g. milwaukee welfare-to-work) become a fifth mode of competetion? With macroeconomic consequences?

In addition to disciplining labor, such programs secure cities clout as "innovators" and perhaps access to more federal or state resources, while projecting an image to capital of a city that is both innovative "in control." All the while, they encourage other cities to do the same, creating, responding to, and reifying a national mindset related to social welfare.

Mike Fleenor

Hi good people,

Harvey, of course, is ever the Marxist. Now Marxism is one of two twentieth century "master-texts" or "meta-narratives--the other being the Freudian. Both present theories of collective behaviour with Freud operating from the sub-conscious; Marx operating from the oppression of the working class.
Derivitaves of both include psychoanalysis, structuralism, feminism, certain post-modernisms, deconstructionalism, and much else. All these entail competing configurations, realities, agency, functions, and all manner of responses to ongoing conditions.

The questions are:
1. From what 'text(s)' or 'narrative(s)' do we respond to what has become 'neoliberalism'?

2. Current texts or narratives have failed against neoliberalism. Do we try for a new narrative? Do 'philosophies' embedded in the 19th century and more fully developed in the 20th century still matter?

Nancy Johnson

Contested urban futures reading questions. Nancy Johnson, January 28,
Harvey-From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism (1989).

1. On p. 5 Harvey states that cities should not be considered as active agents, they are merely "things". Although this may be literally true, it seems that that at larger scales it makes sense to think of cities as agents. He seems to be leaving out the whole issue of scale. After all, if we aren't able to think of any collective group as having agency, then we also lose the ability to talk about "the state", or "the NRA".

2. Harvey contrasts the political economy of place with the political economy of territory (p7). Is such a distinction necessary? He seems to be defining "place" solely as a building (e.g. a new civic center). However, this seems to counter traditional geographical definitions of
place. Why is it necessary to contrast these two concepts in such a way?

Peter Herzog
At one point in the article Harvey points out that urban entrepreneurialism may be “embedded in a framework of zero-sum inter-urban competition for resources, jobs and capital. (5)?Harvey also states that if zero-sum competition is the framework of urban entrepreneurialism, even socialists may become agents of the capitalist game in the process of fighting it (5). Could it be true that a Marxist like Harvey believed that the increasing competitive nature of urban
entrepreneurialism may create market that will seduce and/or capture even the
strongest willed socialists and other "light siders"?

Harvey hints to the fact that there are no real successes involved in urban entrepreneurialism (5). I was wondering what have been the most successful and unsuccessful attempts at urban revitalization using the entrepreneurial style since the time that Harvey has written this article?

Larry Wright
Harvey's account is a bit depressing, so I'd like to ask if anyone sees a positive side to any of this. I suppose that one way to start thinking about a positve side is to ask at what point do the tenstions created by managerial entrepreneurialism (ME), among and within cities, become untenable? Is the resolution of such tension inevitable? What form will resolution take? More specifically, how might the processes described by Harvey condition the ways different actors understand the problems associated with ME? What kinds of solutions will be sought and by whom?
Moira Mcdonald
Greetings --

Two questions:

1) I am curious about what other people think about the distinction that Harvey seeks to draw between the entrepreneurial city of the 1980s and other coalitions of urban boosters working with "relatively autonomous" local governments. Should we see the 1980s as an intensification of a
long-running process or something new?

2) I was surprised that Harvey's article suggested such a straight forward view of inter-urban competition (with smaller transportation costs and fewer barriers to movement capital is more mobile and competition is intensified p. 10). It seems to me that the network literature would
significantly complicate this argument. Is Harvey's argument weakened by a more nuanced notion of inter-urban competition?

It was great to get a chance to meet everyone this weekend, look forward to hearing about how al those projects develop,

John Champe
1) Harvey’s style of argumentation was to make a case against the dangers entrepreneurialism, problematize it with counter examples and complexities, and then settle on his original argument by summarizing it. How convincing were his arguments? Did you believe that “public-private partnerships?for the development of only certain urban places leads to further class stratification? As his paper was largely theoretical, Harvey showed no evidence for this; is there a case study here of t! he public/private networks of urbanization in Baltimore (or elsewhere), focusing on who exactly was in the network that built Baltimore’s Riverplace, and on who got rich off of it (like Molly Ivans says W. did off of public money for the Houston Astros?ballpark)?

2) I liked his theoretical exploration of the reciprocal relationship between macro-level neoliberal policies and their possible on the ground implications. Harvey theorizes that this current trend of public/private partnerships that create entrepreneurial urbanization, may lead to further class segregation, increased economic instability, and increased power in the hands of this very partnership of elites. These consequences may turn around and feed the perceived need for more neoliberal urbanization, even though (as Harvey, and Amin et al argued) there is no proof that any particular one of these many comp! eting neoliberal projects will be successful. Is public/private entrepreneurialism a self-defeating spiral, worsening the problems it maintains to be solving while blinding us to this consequence, leading to more and more calls for competitive strategies to create growth.

Jesse Norris
Here are my (admittedly late) questions.

Logistical question: Do we really want to individually read/print-out/cut-and-paste-onto-another-document 30+ e-mails every week? Might there not be a better way of distributing questions for consumption? (Merely one idea: Perhaps we could post them online in such a way so that, once all are posted, each of us could print them out wholesale.)

1. Does anyone have any thoughts about how Madison or Minneapolis (other other cities one or more of us is intimately associated with) fare, and have fared in the last decade or two, in terms of the managerial/entrepreneurial city dichotomy presented by Harvey? Can we speculate about what these cases might tell us about the phenomenon as a whole?

2. Entrepreneurial urban strategies often amount to complex packages of subsidies to developers. How does this compare (quantitatively and qualitatively) to "corporate welfare" at the national (and perhaps global) levels? Has national corporate welfare declined, as city corporate welfare has swelled, or is there rather an overall increase in government aid in private capital accumulation? Regardless, what does this tell us about the changing (as well as stable) relations between the state and capitalism, or about capitalism itself? What does this tell us about neoliberalism's laissez-faire pretensions?

william t courtenay
Dear all,
Hard to picture 50+ distinctive questions on the article, but hear goes my attempt to mix things up and perhaps piss some people off. Yet, before I dothis I would like to say that I had a great time meeting all of you this weekend.

1.Within our larger discussion of contested futures and models for social dynamics and economic functioning of cities across multiple scales, the debate as to whether or not we are dealing with a zero-sum game of inter-urban competition seems to be of high importance. While alluding to the possibility of a non zero-sum game reality(p.5), Harvey's article primarily outlines an
international and regional topography where the flow of capital, jobs, intelligence, tourists, jobs, goods, etc. is distinctively uneven, a landscape of both peaks and canyons mandating both 'winners' and 'losers'. While slightly depressing, historically I like this analogy, as the ebb and flow of fortunes is something that, at least I, clearly see in urban history. So my question is
whether or not you all see this capitalist inter-urban competition as a zero-sum game. Thinking about this, I feel, provides a good base for our envisioning of current urban problems/processes and how they can be change! d/continued. At the least it will help us separate the optimists from the pessimists. And for the optimists: Since Harvey did not provide any real details to how this game could be changed for the better, how do you picture the economic dynamics between cities and how they can be changed?
Tyler Mckay
My questions for discussion:

1. Towards the end of the article, Harvey points out a positive aspect of "the city as a collective corporation, within which democratic decision-making can operate". But he also points out, although working class movements "have proven historically to be quite capable of commanding
the politics of place" they have also "remained vulnerable to the discipline of space relations and the more powerful command exercised by an increasingly internationalized bourgeoisie. He points out a positive indication, yet also points to a trend whose paradigm case as the Paris
Commune would seem to be at one end of a progression towards a future capitalist totality. Am I misreading it? Hardly a positive aspect when you point to a more positive bourgeoisie.

2. He also points out a positive aspect of the orchestrated production of an urban image which can help create a sense of social solidarity, civic pride and loyalty to place and even allow the urban image to provide a mental refuge in a world that capital treats as more and more place-less. I can't see how a false image of a community could be capable of helping an urban area. Urban degradation needs conscious action, not subconscious escape. In his example of Baltimore, he did not appear to back up this claim, rather he pointed to more flaws. Is this a contradiction, or am I missing something? He also pointed out that the investments the city
undertook in "reinventing" itself had not yet shown to bring in enough investment to pay off the construction costs. If the city is going to throw its cash at the problem of degradation, why not invest in social services, invest in its people rather than attempting to bring in "the right people"?

Dawn Biehler

Questions on D. Harvey piece, 27 January

Harvey says with reference to the trend for inter-urban competition to reflect more and more the "naked requirements of capital accumulation" that this has required a "radical reconstruction" of the relationship between the national state and the local state, including through welfare policies (p 15). Here he also discusses the "reproduction of capitalist social relations on ever wider
scales and at deeper levels" as cities become speculators. Elsewhere he refers to the declining power of the national state vis-?vis transnational processes.
The issues I mean to bring together with my questions center on the relationship between the local state and the national state, and the discursive processes going on in that relationship. I don't mean to naturalize the role of the nation-state, but neither have the actions of national states in recent years - often explained as consequences of globalization, etc - been natural in the
sense of essential or inevitable.
1. What has work at the level of national governance contributed to entrepreneurial urban development?

2. This weekend the issue of representation of urban problems came up several times. As entrepreneurialism took hold (for example as the 1985 Orleans conference convened, or as the US national-level political economy responded to the 1970s recession) what were some dominant representations of the relationship between local and national states?

Landy Sanchez
Hello everyone, here are my questions.
See you

1. Harvey points outs the consequences of in ter-urban competition in allowing new successful accumulation paths by enhancing local capabilities. Harvey’s argument made me thought about the contradictions in the time horizon of the process. Harvey argues that “physical?
advantages have b ecome less relevant for local competitiveness; while labor force skills, and/or strong and fluid relationships among local agents are central. However, the later elements seem to be possible in the long term, while competition pressures are pushing for fast changes. So,
what are the possible consequences of the contradiction between building local capabilities (a long-term process) and the speed up of capital accumulation? Under what conditions it could be possible to overcome that contradiction (if such)?

2. Harvey briefly mentions the connection between the urban entrepreneurialism and the crisis of the welfare state. To me it seems relevant to discuss the relationship between urban governance and national state. Harvey defines four basic options for urban entrepreneurialism
(part 3) Are they characterized by a specific local-national relationship? To what extent national strategies either enhance or impede local initiatives, or vice versa? What is the role of national State in inter-urban relations?

Wow, there have been some good questions. I guess I have some basic ones.
Great to meet you all! See you tomorrow.

1. It occurred to me while reading this that the notion of an entrepreneurial city is really not a new concept. Cities have been competing with one another in a variety of ways, politically and economically, throughout time. Harvey admits that “civic boosterism and urban entrepreneurialism are such old and well-tried traditions in the historical geography of capitalism? Is this shifting of urban governance based on a capitalist economy truly a new concept, or recycled idea in which we can look to history for clues as to how this may
play out?
2. I found myself asking how cities can continue compete if the things they use to gain capital accumulation are formulaic and indistinguishable from place to place. But, they do seem to work in some places and not others. Is this because a city was at the forefront of the development boom, or does place matter? Can St. Louis ever compete with New Orleans, San Francisco with Boise? The physical geography and the historical importance of the particular place will have an effect regardless of what the city does to bolster its economy.
Likewise, won’t the problems associated with unequal development also be
affected by the nature of the place?

Kristin Sziarto
Hi there y'all--

Here are my questions for this week. It was great to hear everyone's ideas
this weekend!
till tomorrow on tv,

1a. Harvey suggests building new “alliances and linkages…to mitigate if not challenge the hegemonic dynamic of capitalist accumulation?16). Of the actors he has mentioned, who might he want to include in such alliances? Who would Evans and Amin/Massey/Thrift add?

1b.And, since he sees the obstacle to progressive urban corporatism?(16) as “the rules of capitalist accumulation? is there any possibility of these alliances?success in his schema? At what scale does he see the logic of capitalism operating?

1c. What kind of hegemony is he talking about here?

2. Across the U.S. cities (and small towns, and states) are now facing serious budget crises. When Harvey was writing, obviously many actors were excited about public-private partnershipss. private firms and other private parties, who saw they could pass their share of risk off to the local state. Now that local states are in no position to take on any more
risk, how entrepr eneurial can they be—or do they have to be even more

Ryan Holifield
My questions for discussion:

1) Harvey asserts that "working class movements...have proven historically to be quite capable of commanding the politics of place, but they have always remained vulnerable to the discipline of space relations and the more powerful command over space (militarily as well as economically) exercised by an increasingly internationalised bourgeoisie" (16). First,
for clarification n, what does Harvey mean by "the politics of place" and "space relations" here? Earlier, on p. 7, he makes a distinction between the political economy of place and that of "territory"--in light of this distinction, is the assertion persuasive? Useful? How might we evaluate such a claim in our own empirical research?

2) While Harvey argues that cities are "mere things" (5) that should not be reified as agents of social action, Amin, Massey, and Thrift "define cities in terms of processes and interactions, rather than in terms of 'things'" and suggest that as "intense networks of social interaction," cities are active in "bringing together" social relations and activities (8). Is this apparent disagreement on the surface (or not a disagreement at all), or does it have deeper significance for policy and research? What kinds of conceptualizations are the two readings offering? Which is more useful? Why?

It was great to meet everyone (almost everyone, anyway) this weekend! I
look forward to seeing everybody on TV tomorrow--

Tyrone Siren
Questions on Harvey:
1. Although Harvey does not claim to be studying the "state" (at the national level), I think his analysis could have been more powerful had he placed his "entrepreneurial cities" within states that are also increasingly entrepreneurial. How might states and cities become increasingly at odds with each other--or even forced to compete against each other?

2. (this is probably too large and general of a question, but it is one I am truly interested in) What are the alternatives to "entrepreneurialism"? What other options do de-industrialized cities have?

Karl Maxwell Grinnell
1. After reading David Harvey's rather gloom prognosis for urban regions (which I realize now is somewhat dated by virtue of his many monographs, journal articles, etc. since 1989), I found myself wondering (as I have many times after reading his work) whether or not he believes that humans have any active powers of agency or free will. While I generally agree with his broad thesis that there is a tendency towards “uneven development?that can lead to the (re)fashioning of the image of cities to conform to the increased dependence on service-related industries (namely tourism) and that cities are increasingly willing to make massive concessions and enticements to enter the zero-sum game with corporations, developers, etc, I found myself remaining somewhat skeptical about his conclusions, and more importantly about his utterly pessimistic view about human agency, which just made me depressed. With that in mind, I would like to pose the following question: In the past few decades, what kind of strategies have in fact been developed at a local level that have in fact been effective in leveraging a measure of control in dealing with corporations, municipal governments, etc? Or is this in fact impossible, given the increasingly mobile nature of capital and the increased reliance on technology in the workplace and as a means of information delivery?

2. This question may seem mundane, but it has never been answered to my satisfaction, so here goes: What is the difference between contemporary globalization as embodied through transnational flows of capital, the rise of NGO (or multinational corporations) that have substantive effects on policy-making decisions and the mercantilism of an emerging capitalistic economy as embodied/practiced by the Dutch East Indies Company in the 17th century? Is it just a question of scale? Movement of goods? Etc?

Thanks for reading my excessively long questions, and I am looking forward to Tuesday.
Anant, I've made myself an "admin" too and changed the title of the blog from "Neoliberalism" to "Urban futures" because I think that rather than trying to have a different blog for each week (each with a different URL!), we should just have a single blog for the whole class. How does that sound to you?
This is a test posting to the "neoliberalism" blog by Greg Downey in Madison. Will this work for our class, I wonder? Hmmm.