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urban managers and gatekeepers

  Professionals and bureaucrats whose decisions influence the internal spatial structure of urban areas through their control of, for example, access to public housing and the allocation of mortgages. Bureaucrats who work in parts of the state apparatus are normally termed urban managers whereas professionals engaged in the private sector (such as real estate agents) are called gatekeepers.

Identification of the important role of managers and gatekeepers in the structuring of urban areas is generally associated with the works of Pahl (1975) and Rex (1968; cf. housing class), who demonstrated their importance in constructing and operating the constraints to choice in access to key resources, such as housing. Their writing stimulated considerable research by urban geographers in the 1970s (as in the special issue of the Transactions, Institute of British Geographers published in 1976), but later developments in radical geography directed attention away from the managers and their operations towards the constraints on their activities posed by the demands of the capitalist political economy (Williams, 1982; cf. urban). (RJJ)

References and Suggested Reading Pahl, R.E. 1975: Whose city? and further essays on urban society. London: Penguin. Rex, J. 1968: The sociology of a zone in transition. In R.E. Pahl, ed., Readings in urban sociology. Oxford and New York: Pergamon Press, 211-31. Saunders, P. 1986: Social theory and the urban question, 2nd edn. London: Hutchinson. Williams, P.R. 1982: Restructuring urban managerialism. Environment and Planning A 14: 95-105.



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