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Urban Quality of Life at Risk

  • Urban quality of life is currently conceptualized in principally economic terms. As the decline in manufacturing activities, the rise of the service and knowledge economy, the growing importance of accessibility and globalizing processes continue to reconfigure the economic competition between cities, quality of life enters the discourse primarily as a means to attract high-skilled workers and improve the city’s economic prospects. Local governments increasingly seek partnerships with local and foreign capital, reorganizing institutions and tasks to attract capital, including the “selling of place”, strengthening place promotion and marketing efforts. The rhetoric clearly welcomes wealthy, creative, high-skilled people, disadvantaged and low skilled groups receive less attention in the making of places. Especially with respect to inner city areas, high quality of life is promoted as spaces for ‘clean’ and convenient consumption with positive atmospheres and shiny images. Yet, a plethora of theoretical engagements with urban everyday live reminds us that, while on the one hand, variety of jobs, quality of public spaces, range of shops and services, cultural facilities and public transport are important place characteristics, more subjective aspects such as safe neighbourhoods, well-being, community prospects, social cohesion, happiness, satisfaction and social and spatial justice are equally crucial determinants of urban quality of life. These elements of urban quality of life – and how they are experienced by diverse formations of urban inhabitants – seem to be absent from, if not at odds with, the dominant discourse in rankings, policy and practice. Urban life, social cohesion and complexity are at risk in the dynamics of modernization and adaptation strategies of cities. Gentrification, the occupation of inner-city districts by hyper-rich people, segregation and displacement of lower and middle classes can be observed as a consequence of these long-lasting strategies. Well-known sociologists and geographers from the UK and Germany have presented their insights on the matter and debate theoretical and empirical attempts to capture the dynamics of urban processes in shaping the quality of life.

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Author:Annette Spellerberg, Maren Harnack
URN (permanent link):urn:nbn:de:hbz:386-kluedo-46464
Editor(s):Annette Spellerberg, Maren Harnack
Document Type:Book
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2017/05/18
Year of Publication:2016
Publishing Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Date of the Publication (Server):2017/05/19
Number of page:76
Faculties / Organisational entities:Fachbereich Raum- und Umweltplanung
DDC-Cassification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie
7 Künste und Unterhaltung, Architektur, Raumplanung / 720 Architektur
Licence (German):Creative Commons 4.0 - Namensnennung, nicht kommerziell, keine Bearbeitung (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)