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post-industrial city

  A city with an employment profile focused on advanced services — that is, jobs in the professions, management, administration, and skilled technical sectors. Its profile is materialized in a downtown skyline of office towers, arts and leisure sites, and political institutions. Its middle-class ambience may be reflected in a distinctive politics charged with \'a responsible social ethos … the demand for more amenities, for greater beauty and a better quality of life in the arrangement of our cities\' (Bell, 1973, p. 367).

Against this somewhat jaunty representation, more recent research has identified the problem of income polarization in the postindustrial city, resulting from the dual labour market of a service economy, which includes a number of poorly paid and often racialized service workers (Mollenkopf and Castells, 1991; Waldinger, 1996; see services, geography of). The working poor and unemployed are particularly disadvantaged in a city geared to middle-class consumption, for example in the housing market, where an expanding downtown (cf. CBD), gentrification, and inflating land values may contribute to serious problems of housing affordability.

For many authors, the post-industrial city has been used as a conceptual term without necessarily testing its empirical status on the ground (cf. Savitch, 1988). For others again, the term is used casually in a discussion of world cities or the \'information city\'. But there is evidence that the post-industrial city is an empirical object as well as a conceptual one, and that its scope extends well beyond labour market profiles. Canadian studies have shown that the gender and family characteristics of a city with a post-industrial employment profile are markedly different from those of a city whose economic base is in manufacturing, over such domains as family size, level and age of marriage, and women\'s income and education relative to men\'s (Ley, 1996). Such cities are also associated with distinctive attitudinal and cultural associations. For example, post-industrial city status is a sharper predictor of disaffiliation from mainstream religious belief than more conventional explanatory variables (Ley and Martin, 1993). This lifestyle liberalism is also frequently projected into support for left-liberal political programmes; Boston, San Francisco and Seattle, cities with well-defined post-industrial identities, are also among the very few in the United States to be characterized by liberal political regimes in recent years (Stone et al., 1991). Like the thesis of post-industrial society, it seems that the intellectual possibilities of the concept of the post-industrial city are greater than was once thought. (DL)

References Bell, D. 1973: The coming of post-industrial society. New York: Basic Books. Ley, D. 1996: The new middle class and the remaking of the central city. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ley, D. and Martin, B. 1993: Gentrification as secularisation: the status of religious belief in the post-industrial city. Social Compass: International Review of Sociology of Religion 40: 217-32. Mollenkopf, J. and Castells, M. 1991: Dual city: restructuring New York. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Savitch, H. 1988: Post-industrial cities: politics and planning in New York, Paris and London. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Stone, C., Orr, M. and Imbroscio, D. 1991: The reshaping of urban leadership in U.S. cities: a regime analysis. In M. Gottdiener and C. Pickvance, eds, Urban life in transition. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 222-39. Waldinger, R. 1996: Still the promised city? African-Americans and new immigrants in postindustrial New York. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.



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