Urbanism in America by TALEN


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Moving ‘up grid’ to the strong grid/weak group quadrant (cell B), the political culture is characterized as being constrained by exterior social forces but lacking the ‘security’ of a strong social group. The strong grid/strong group cell (cell C) is described as ‘the classical Weberian bureaucracy with a clear organizational hierarchy and ruleconstrained rational action’ (Caulkins, 1999, p. 111). The final quadrant, low grid/ high group is characterized as egalitarian, where there is concern with moral purity, group solidarity, and social differentiation is not condoned.

All of these relations, whether complementary or contrasting, will be discussed throughout the book. In fact it is these relations that provide the basis for postulating a multidimensional definition of urbanism in America. Two overall observations can be made about these inter-relationships. The first is that these cultures, which had different starting points but by the turn of the nineteenth century were concurrent, were initially very much overlapping and inter-connected. There have always been differences in orientation, and the distinctions were always present, but the relationships were more complimentary and even inter-dependent.

Anti-urbanism and its fostering of separation, inequity, and various conditions that impede the principles of diversity, connectivity and equity, is the flip-side of this definition. It is easy to identify in the American pattern of settlement, particularly since it was stated so explicitly as an ideology in the twentieth century under the leadership of modernist architects and planners. But now, without this guiding ideological purpose, anti-urbanism has become a by-product of global realities. One of the key challenges of urbanism is therefore to find ways to forge a coherent relationship between globalized economic structure and the principles of diversity, mix, connectivity and equity.

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