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Houston (Un)limited

Path-dependent Annexation and Highway Practices in an American Metropolis

Kyle Shelton

How do cities grow? And how do decisions made about mobility and territory impact and structure that growth? Focusing on Houston, Texas after the Second World War, this article looks at how decisions made by city officials helped cement the dual processes of annexation and highway building into the city's growth structure. These strategies, while helping to explain how Houston become a leading metropolitan center during the second half of the twentieth century, also turned into path dependencies that limited Houston's mobility choices and stretched the city's ability to provide services to its citizens. The implementation of these two growth mechanisms shaped the unique development of the city and structured its relationships to the communities around it.

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Sonia Bussu and Maria Tullia Galanti

In 2014, Italian local government was affected by two key events: the passage of the Delrio law, which drastically reforms areabased government (i.e., provinces, municipal unions, and metropolitan cities) in the expectation that future constitutional reform will eliminate provinces entirely, and the rationalization program drawn up by Carlo Cottarelli, the special commissioner for the review of expenditure, which has profoundly affected the role of local authorities in owning and operating public utilities companies. This chapter traces the processes that led to these two reforms and, in doing so, elucidates the factors that motivated each reform.

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Wilfried van der Will

After considering the functions of capital cities this article argues that culture both as creative activity and as living heritage of customs and architectural assemblies plays a central role in the self-perception of present-day Berlin. The agents—public and private—that interact in the conception and execution of decisive initiatives in the remake of the city form an extensive cultural policy establishment. They derive their legitimation from regional and federal constitutions and from their command of attention in the public discourse. Berlin's claimed status as the most obvious German metropolis is not self-evident. Within the nation it is neither the center of finance, nor the media, nor the supreme courts. In Germany there are other towns and metropolitan regions with a similarly rich infrastructure that can compete at least nationally. But Berlin, building on Enlightenment traditions, is making a plausible effort in regaining its cosmopolitanism. Despite a host of problems, it is now surpassing the ethnic and cultural diversity that was lost in the years of Nazi dictatorship. Can it maintain its attraction for creative talent, both cultural and technological, in view of accelerating social divisions and gentrification?

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Malini Sur

Life Cycle ethnographically and visually documents the everyday use of bicycles among Kolkata’s city dwellers. Winding through the city’s congested thoroughfares and narrow by-lanes, we follow daily wageworkers, including migrants from eastern India, environmentalists, teachers, and activists, who cycle for a living. In this documentary (forty-two minutes) and the broader ethnographic project within which it is situated, I investigate how cycling mediates people’s changing relationships to cities in South Asia. Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the largest city in eastern India, is the primary focus of Life Cycle. This city has 1.68 million cyclists, records 2.5 million cycle trips a day, has the least amount of road space (6 percent) in metropolitan India, and has the second highest air pollution level. By 2017, traffic regulations prohibited cycling on seventy city roads.

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Liberating the Land or Absorbing a Community

Managing North African Migration and the Bidonvilles in Paris's Banlieues

Melissa K. Byrnes

In the late-1950s, the Parisian suburbs of Saint-Denis and Asnières-sur-Seine launched major urban renovation projects to eliminate the bidonvilles, shantytowns that often housed North African migrants. While Asnières viewed the bidonville occupants as obstacles to modernization, Saint-Denis billed its efforts as a humanitarian project to provide migrants with better housing and to support migrants' rights and social welfare. Officials in Asnières used their renovation plans to bring new, metropolitan French, families into the reclaimed areas and redistribute the single male workers outside their city. Dionysien officials, however, aimed at inclusion, providing new accommodation within the city for many families and a majority of workers. The renovation efforts in these two cities demonstrate the diversity of French reactions to North African migrants, suggest the existence of alternative notions of local community identity, and highlight the importance of the Algerian War in defining France's migration framework.

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Les journaux francophones au dix-neuvième siècle

Entre enjeux locaux et perspective globale

Guillaume Pinson

This article discusses the circulation of francophone news, information, and literary content between Western Europe and North America in the nineteenth century. During this period, big metropolitan cities (Paris, Brussels, Montreal, New Orleans) were forming a dense media network. For the western Atlantic region, New York City and the Courrier des États-Unis (1828–1938) served as the hub of this network. Francophone readers on both sides of the Atlantic shared a large common corpus, including works such as Eugène Sue’s Mystères de Paris (1842–1843), which was distributed in North America by the literary supplement of the Courrier. By providing a general overview of this French-speaking network, this article invites scholars to explore how texts, and literature in particular, operated through an interlinked dynamic system of publication rather than as independent unconnected works.

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Language Hierarchies

Visualizing Linguistic Space in Modern Travel Writing

Anjali Pandey

This article focuses on the travelogue of the twentieth century. Deftly using the spaces of city/country to situate language and people Miranda France, in Bad Times in Buenos Aires: A Writer's Adventures in Argen tina (1999), presents a hierarchy of linguistic value and poignancy of place by semantically conflating English, Spanish, and indigenous Latin American languages with a different spatial positioning relative to the Other in the bustle of Buenos Aires. The consequence is the building of a hierarchical edifice—which metaphorically as it literally centers English, and places its speakers atop the city— situates Spanish and its speakers at a street level; and relegates indigenous peoples to the lowest metropolitan reaches—unseen and underground—marginalized to the periphery of her literary geoscape. This conflation of linguistic code with the synecdoche of space introduces another way in which to examine the politics of travel writing in a globally connected, multilingual world.

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Shakespeare and ‘Native Americans’

Forging Identities through the 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary

Monika Smialkowska

This article examines the celebrations organised for the 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary in three American locations: Wellesley, MA; Atlanta, GA; and Grand Forks, ND. By focusing on these hitherto neglected events, the article extends the investigations, initiated by Thomas Cartelli and Coppélia Kahn, into the ways in which the Tercentenary activities in the U.S. participated in the contemporaneous debates concerning American national identity. These investigations have until recently concentrated almost exclusively on the Tercentenary festivities organised in the metropolitan centre of New York City. An examination of the provincial celebrations in regions as diverse as New England, the South, and the Midwest, indicates that the Shakespeare Tercentenary provided a platform for the negotiation of a complex network of interrelated, and sometimes conflicting, national and local identities.

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Roll Out the Barrel

French and Algerian Ports and the Birth of the Wine Tanker

Owen White

When shipping companies first experimented with transporting wine in steel containers in the 1930s they promised to revolutionize the way French Algeria sent its most important export to metropolitan France. What capitalists saw as a rational and efficient use of new technology, however, dockworkers and barrelmakers saw as a dire threat to their livelihoods in a time of intense economic hardship. This article traces the social conflict that followed the introduction of the wine tanker and the declining use of wine barrels in port cities in both Algeria and France. In doing so it illustrates the wide range of people and places that held a direct stake in economic activity arising from France’s colonization of Algeria, from the rural environments in which wine was produced all the way to distant urban spaces such as Rouen.

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Jonathan Laurence

Politicians and civil servants charged with the task of helping a “French Islam” emerge in late twentieth-century France faced a vast, transnational network of more than 1600 Muslim associations and mosques in dozens of French towns and cities. During the colonial era, Islam in French Algeria was exempted from the 1905 separation of church and state, and no one at the time imagined that one century later, 5 million Muslims would inhabit metropolitan France. The legacy of French and later, Algerian, state oversight of the Muslim religion is still felt within Islam in France today. In the post-colonial period up until the 1980s, French authorities relied on immigrants’ home governments for the accommodation of religious requirements, from the salaries of imams to the creation of prayer spaces.