Monday, April 22, 2013

Slumburbia in CITY!

My newest piece, in one of my favorite journals, City (where it seems I am joining the editorial board).


Discourse and dystopia, American style: The rise of ‘slumburbia’ in a time of crisis

This paper examines the recent growth in the popular media of new discourses of decline focused on the American suburb. This new discursive twist, which appropriates language traditionally reserved for inner cities, is rooted in both the city/suburb dialectic, which has long dominated American urbanism, and the empirical realities of the foreclosure crisis and changing geographies of poverty in the American metropolis. Scholars should be concerned about the rise of this new discourse, as it reinforces a dialectic long since outdated, roots decline in a particular geography rather than examining the root causes of the crisis, and has potentially deleterious effects on communities already facing social and economic struggle in the wake of foreclosure. Linked as this discourse is to academic research on the suburbanization of poverty, it gives pause to those scholars who would speak in terms of ‘suburban decline’.

Special thanks to Nezar Alayyad an the IASTE folks for giving me a chance to present a very early version of this paper at the 2010 Beirut conference. That important fact got omitted in the final version, and this is my fault. Apologies, and thanks.