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Contesting Infrastructures

Digital technologies have changed the world, transforming how, where, and when we communicate, love, learn, create, produce, distribute, and consume. Digital Lives in the Global City examines the entanglements of urban life, investigating how urban land, governance, and the economy are being remade by advancing communication technologies. Digital infrastructures connect people and places across vast distances, yet they also extend the working day into personal time and space, increase the power of financial institutions, and enhance state and corporate surveillance capacities.Digital Lives in the Global City intersperses critical scholarship with provocative short works from artists, activists, and citizens to engage with a wide range of issues wrought by digital infrastructure: struggles over unsafe and illegal buildings in Mumbai, the conditions of migrant work in Singapore, the question of digital debt in Toronto, and targeted policing in New York. This nuanced exploration reveals the profound connections between digital technologies and the social life of global cities.

Digital Lives in the Global City asks how digital technologies are remaking urban life around the world, from migrant work in Singapore to digital debt in Toronto, illegal buildings in Mumbai, and targeted policing in New York.

Social and Spatial Polarization in Canadian Cities

In recent decades growing inequality and polarization have been reshaping the social landscape of Canada’s metropolitan areas, changing neighbourhoods and negatively affecting the lived realities of increasingly diverse urban populations. This book examines the dimensions and impacts of increased economic inequality and urban socio-spatial polarization since the 1980s. Based on the work of the Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, an innovative national comparative study of seven major cities, the authors reveal the dynamics of neighbourhood change across the Canadian urban system. By mapping average income trends across neighbourhoods, they show the kinds of factors – social, economic, and cultural – that influenced residential options and redistributed concentrations of poverty and affluence. While the heart of the book lies in the project’s findings from each city, other chapters provide critical context. Taken together, they offer important understandings of the depth and the breadth of the problem at hand and signal the urgency for concerted policy responses in the decades to come.

Changing Neighbourhoods offers revealing insights into the way that Canadian cities have grown increasingly unequal and polarized since 1980, identifying the causal factors driving neighbourhood change and their troubling implications.

Until the 1980s, Vancouver was a typical mid-sized North American city. But between Expo 86 and the Olympic Games in 2010, something extraordinary happened. This otherwise unremarkable city underwent a radical transformation that saw it emerge as an inspiring world-class metropolis celebrated for its livability, sustainability, and competitiveness. City-watchers everywhere took notice and wanted to learn more about this new model of urban growth, and the term “Vancouverism” was born.This book tells the story of Vancouverism and the urban planning philosophy and practice behind it. The author is a former chief planner of the City of Vancouver and was a key player at the heart of the action. Writing from an insider’s perspective, Larry Beasley traces the principles that inspired Vancouverism and the policy framework developed to implement it. The prologue, written by Vancouver journalist Frances Bula, outlines the political and urban history of Vancouver up until the 1980s. The text is also beautifully illustrated by the author with more than 200 colour photographs. Cities everywhere are asking the same question. Shall we shape change or will change shape us? This book shows how one city discovered positive answers, and it offers the principles, tools, and inspiration for others to follow.

This is the remarkable story, told by a key insider, about Vancouver’s dramatic transformation from a typical mid-sized North American city into an inspiring world-class metropolis celebrated for its liveability, sustainability, and vibrancy.

Vancouver and the Challenges of Reconciliation, Social Justice, and Sustainable Development

Vancouver is heralded around the world as a model for sustainable development. In Planning on the Edge, nationally and internationally renowned planning scholars, activists, and Indigenous leaders assess whether the city’s reputation is warranted.While recognizing the many successes of the “Vancouverism” model, the contributors acknowledge that the forces of globalization and speculative property development have increased social inequality and housing insecurity since the 1980s in the city and the region. To determine the city’s prospects for overcoming these problems, they look at city planning from all angles, including planning for the Indigenous population, environmental and disaster planning, housing and migration, and transportation and water management.By looking at policies at the local, provincial, and federal levels and taking reconciliation with Indigenous peoples into account, Planning on the Edge highlights the kinds of policies and practices needed to reorient Vancouver’s development trajectory along a more environmentally sound and equitable path.

Planning on the Edge explores the reality behind the rhetoric of Vancouver’s reputation as a sustainable city and paves the way for developing Vancouver and its region into a place that is both economically sustainable and socially just.

Urban Governance, Law, and Condoization in New York City and Toronto

When condominiums first emerged in North American cities in the 1960s, they were a new kind of housing governed by boards of resident owners volunteering in a community. Condo Conquest shows how the condo and its inner governance have since become something else entirely, taken over – or conquered – by an assemblage of firms specializing in condo law, real estate, security, and property management, as well as growing numbers of non-resident investors who purchase condo units as commodities.Drawing on the accounts of residents and board directors in Toronto and New York and myriad other sources, Randy Lippert takes a close look at the inner workings of condoization. He shows how condo governance increasingly involves a complex set of legal, social, and spatial relationships among various elements assembled together, including commercial agents, forms of knowledge, and technologies. The first major study of condominium governance in North America, Condo Conquest questions assumptions about the condo and its governance. By illuminating the complex set of agents, processes, and forms of knowledge that have taken over the condo world, Lippert discerns a number of troubling trends that imperil the condo’s future and undermine the integrity of urban communities.

This eye-opening study shows how the condo, developed to meet the needs of a community of owners in cities in the 1960s, has been conquered by commercial interests.

The Japanese in Changchun, 1905–45

Civilians play crucial roles in building empires. Constructing Empire shows how Japanese urban planners, architects, and other civilians contributed – often enthusiastically – to constructing a modern colonial enclave in northeast China, their visions shifting over time. Japanese imperialism in Manchuria before 1932 developed in a manner similar to that of other imperialists elsewhere in China, but the Japanese thereafter sought to surpass their rivals by transforming the city of Changchun into a grand capital for the puppet state of Manchukuo, putting it on the cutting edge of Japanese propaganda. Providing a thematic assessment of the evolving nature of planning, architecture, economy, and society in Changchun, Bill Sewell examines the key organizations involved in developing Japan’s empire there as part of larger efforts to assert its place in the world order. This engaging book sheds light on evolving attitudes toward empire and perceptions of national identity among Japanese in Manchuria in the first half of the twentieth century.

While other studies focus on the role of diplomats and the military, Constructing Empire demonstrates that building the Japanese empire also required civilian participation.

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