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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Berkeley Planning Journal is an annual peer-reviewed journal published by graduate students in the Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) at the University of California, Berkeley since 1985.

The Just Metropolis

Issue cover

Editorial Notes

Editor's Introduction

The current issue of the Berkeley Planning Journal demonstrates the continued interest of board members in the last few years in promoting a critical and meaningful discussion among academics, students, and practitioners of planning across the globe. This is reflected, without a doubt, in the lineup of authors featured here, which includes DCRP students as well as students from other Berkeley departments and other schools, junior faculty in the U.S. and Europe, and practitioners. As a board we are especially satisfied with this diversity of authors, as well as with the fact that our volumes continue to represent DCRP’s interest and approach to planning. Evidence of this is the fact that all the works presented in volume 24 touch on at least one of the following issues: critical approaches to the field that invite the reader to reconsider the planning praxis; progressive alternative approaches to current challenges in economic development and environmental issues; and a critical analysis of current urban policies in light of increasing inequality and segregation.

Section: Toward a Just Metropolis

In this section, we present four papers selected from nearly 90 that were presented at the conference, Toward a Just Metropolis: From Crises to Possibilities. Hosted by the UC Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP) in June 2010, the conference drew more than 450 participants from 7 countries, 50 organizations, and 45 universities. This extraordinary gathering of planners, architects, designers, urban activists, journalists, policymakers, academics, students, and concerned citizens was united by a common purpose: creating a just future for all human settlements.

Book Reviews

Sustainable Transportation: Problems and Solutions by William R. Black and An Introduction to Sustainable Transportation: Policy, Planning, and Implementation By Preston L. Schiller, Eric C. Bruun, and Jeffrey R. Kenworthy

Sustainable transportation is an emerging field that lacks consensus in terms of its definition and scope. Two new textbooks, representing two schools of thought, illustrate this tension. William Black is squarely on the side of traditional, rational, data-driven problem solving, and Schiller, Bruun, and Kenworthy argue on the side of visionary and participatory planning. While each book frames issues differently, emphasizing different topics (for instance, Black devotes two chapters to safety, while Schiller et al. spend two on car culture), they propose a similar range of policy solutions and technical interventions. However, while Black sticks to a list of solutions that will seem familiar to many transportation planners, Schiller et al. propose more innovative and far- reaching measures.

Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation, and Youth Violence Are Changing America’s Suburbs By Sarah Garland

Enthnoburbs; immigrant enclaves in suburban ghettos; suburban balkanization; these are not new topics, but they are new to the “garden city” Long Island suburbs described by Sarah Garland in her book Gangs in the Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation and Youth Violence are Changing America’s Suburbs. In a tone that echoes Françoise Gaspard’s description of extremely polarized, segregated suburbs around Paris (Gaspard 1995), Garland grapples not only with the inner workings of “one of the world’s most dangerous gangs” but also with cultural divides that are fracturing families and communities.

Inclusionary Housing in International Perspective: Affordable Housing, Social Inclusion, and Land Value Recapture Edited by Nico Calavita and Alan Mallach

Affordable housing often, these days, appears to occupy a low rank on the planning agenda. Emergent issues such as climate change and the obesity crisis, along with the various solutions that planning proposes for them, seem to take up much of the available planning communication bandwidth. Indeed, with a widespread foreclosure crisis in the United States and drastically depressed housing prices in much of the world, many have come to see housing affordability as a less urgent concern than it once was. But Nico Calavita and Alan Mallach, editors of Inclusionary Housing in International Perspective: Affordable Housing, Social Inclusion, and Land Value Recapture, shine a spotlight on a quiet revolution that has sought to integrate affordable housing provision directly into the planning system. Although inclusionary housing arose four decades ago in a few high-cost pockets of the United States—principally in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland—the practice has, as Calavita and Mallach show, spread worldwide since then.

Phoenix Cities: The Fall and Rise of Great Industrial Cities By Anne Power, Jörg Plöger, and Astrid Winkler

The total damage to human lives and property caused by deindus- trialization in U.S. and European cities over the past forty years has never been fully assessed. What we know and see is that major cities were devastated by the loss of employment and income that accompanied the movement of manufacturing to offshore locations with lower labor costs. Policy makers and planners in cities such as Detroit and Pittsburgh struggled to respond to the crises that they faced, but researchers have tended to be more bemused by new industrial growth, exemplified by Silicon Valley, or by the search for nostrums such as the creative class. Thus, Phoenix Cities comes as a welcome effort to document both the scale of industrial decline and the efforts to alleviate it.

The Purpose of Planning: Creating Sustainable Towns and Cities By Yvonne Rydin

Over the past sixty years, the U.K.’s highly centralized system of planning has experienced wartime rebuilding by a Keynesian state and all-powerful modernist architects favoring Corbusian towers and motorways, followed by neoliberal restructuring and the increasing role of finance capital in shaping the urban landscape. (Behold the vast Docklands redevelopment area and the corporate island of Canary Wharf, as well as more recent steel and glass monoliths named for their shapes—“gherkin,” “shard”— jutting from London’s neoclassical skyline.) The modernist experiment was imprinted on concrete public housing estates such as those found in London’s boroughs, now either becoming desirable hipster icons (Kensington’s Trellick Towers) or still occupied by the poor but being reconstituted in a less brutalist style (Islington’s Packington Estate). As Thatcher was privatizing large swaths of Britain’s public housing, a symbol of the social contract as potent as the National Health Service, the fashion for wholesale demolition of Britain’s architectural heritage was met with the opposite extreme: Prince Charles and others pushed for the preservation and creation of an imagined past to create bland, theme-park- like English village townscapes, each as indistinguishable from the next as American new urbanist town squares. More recently, U.K. planning has turned towards participation and reclaiming the street network for cyclists and pedestrians, following a European trend to address livability and climate change. Education about the built environment and how to participate in shaping it is provided by a strong NGO sector (a network of “Architecture Centres” serves communities across the country) and by government (that is, until the current Conservative government axed its research and advisory body, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, or CABE). Yvonne Rydin joins Patsy Healey, Neil Brenner, Erik Swyngedouw, and others in an ongoing discussion about who participates in decisions about the built environment in an era of “glocalized” governance and flows of capital.

City Building: Nine Planning Principles for the 21st Century By John Lund Kriken

A series of global case studies forms the backbone of this book, largely drawing on author John Kriken’s work as a principal urban designer at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) LLP. While visually stunning and thought-provoking, the book avoids grappling with the toughest questions confronting today’s cities. The first of three parts introduces the reader to a short history of urban design and planning, situating the author as a newcomer to the field at a time when rational planning had reached its apex. Part II outlines nine principles for 21st century city building. Part III examines future solutions and models for city building.

Mobile Urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age Edited by Eugene McCann and Kevin Ward

In Mobile Urbanism, McCann and Ward have compiled a variety of high-quality articles by prominent scholars that examine urban policy circulations from a critical human geography perspective. In contrast to the burgeoning and more orthodox “policy diffusion” and “policy transfer” literature in political science and sociology, often based on assumptions of rational policy diffusion among nation-states, the authors of Mobile Urbanism build on the emerging interdisciplinary “policy mobility” approach that explores policy formation, transformation, and mobilization as a politicized, power-laden and socially constructed process that can happen at different government scales (Peck and Theodore 2010). Drawing from David Harvey’s (1989) fixity/mobility dichotomy and Doreen Massey’s (1991) idea of “global sense of place,” and looking specifically at urban policy mobilities, McCann and Ward advance an original theoretical framework to study cities in relational and territorial terms by focusing on how local policy is constituted by both connections to other places and local ‘political’ contestations. Their work contributes to a newly emerging scholarship in city planning which looks at the circulation of planning ideas, expertise, and knowledge (Healey and Upton 2010).


The Emergence of Gated Communities in the Poor Periphery: Reflections on the New Urban Segregation and Social Integration in Santiago, Chile

The economic and political restructuring in Chile, carried out under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), had its urban expression in a series of measures associated with the liberalization of land markets and the dominance of a subsidiary policy of public housing. Since then, poorer households have been settling mostly at the peripheries of Santiago where public infrastructure and social services are deficient. However, the same market logic brought middle and upper-income families to some traditionally poor municipalities, by means of a specific kind of urbanization: gated communities. Some contemporary Chilean planners affirm that this spatial proximity between different social groups will promote social integration. Rejecting these claims of urban integration based exclusively on the objective dimensions of urban segregation, the author argues for the importance of symbolic dimensions in any analysis of socio-urban integration.

The Impact of Legislative Reforms to Canadian Federalism on Toronto’s Ability to Reduce Poverty

In the past decade, the Canadian city of Toronto has undergone radical internal shifts in its socioeconomic geography and governance structure while simultaneously emerging on the world stage as an extremely livable and financially successful city. These trends have been accompanied by growing poverty concentrated in the inner suburbs at the municipality’s boundaries. In 2006, the provincial government passed the Stronger City of Toronto for a Strong Ontario Act explicitly recognizing Toronto as a mature order of government requiring commensurate responsibilities and fiscal authority. This paper critically examines the impact of this act on municipal efforts to reduce inner suburban poverty in the wake of the Toronto’s new place in Canadian federalism.

Disciplining the Metropolis: Grand Paris, Immigration, and the Banlieue

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Grand Paris project seeks through both physical design and administrative reorganization to radically rework the French capital’s metropolitan area, including its infamous banlieues. In the first half of this paper, I examine the planning history of this “red belt,” tracing the rise of a discourse of securitization, penalization, and a racialized “ghetto-ization,” even while planning interventions attempted to bring economic prosperity and social integration to these neighborhoods through a disavowal of ethnic or cultural difference. In the second half of this paper, I examine the plans for the Grand Paris project, revealing the ways in which such star-architect, master-planning attempts do not in fact break with planning traditions, and instead contribute to differentiation and the disciplining of those populations deemed problematic by the Republic.

Neighborhood, City, or Region: Deconstructing Scale in Planning Frames

Plans usually try to address problems at a certain scale— neighborhood, city, region, or beyond. The field of planning has not engaged in geography’s extensive debates on scale, perhaps since the relevance to planning has not been apparent. I argue planning should attend to scale, based on the literature that describes frames. Frames powerfully direct attention to some problems and solutions, while overlooking others. I illustrate how scale can be part of planning problem definition and solutions with qualitative analysis of a regional transportation plan from the San Francisco Bay Area. The plan contains two distinct, scaled frames: one addresses mobility and economic vitality at the regional scale and the other concerns itself with accessibility from a neighborhood perspective. I call for critical reflection on the use of scale to help the field of planning see problems and possibilities in new ways.

Segregation, Spatial (In)Justice, and the City

Segregation has been widely discussed by social scientists and especially by urban geographers and planners over the past decades. However, regardless of their focus, most of these studies view segregation as an obvious case of spatial injustice. I argue that this implicit relationship between segregation, (in)justice, and space needs to be reexamined. This paper approaches this task by reviewing an interdisciplinary body of literature (including geography, sociology, history, political sciences, and philosophy) that deals with segregation without (explicitly) tackling the issue of justice. Focusing on the case of poor, segregated neighborhoods in France, this paper examines the question of whether the segregated city is essentially unjust, analyzes the extent to which segregation is a spatial injustice, and identifies segregation’s underlying (spatial) causes. It will then question the dominant contemporary discourse that holds that the Just City should be a diverse city at the neighborhood scale.

Sustainable Urbanism: Vision and Planning Process Through an Examination of Two Model Neighborhood Developments

The emergence of the concept of “sustainable development” has provoked an interesting discussion about the physical, technological, and socioeconomic attributes of the sustainable city, but less has been said about the role of planning in achieving them. This paper explores the planning processes underlying two new neighborhood developments broadly regarded as exemplary sustainable districts: Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm, Sweden, and Quartier Vauban in Freiburg, Germany. I find that planning was proactive, in that the local government had considerable powers and resources to implement the plans; visionary and goal-oriented, in that planners pursued an integrated vision of interrelated goals and devised the means to achieve them; and collaboration-intensive, in that planners focused on increasing technical capacity and on building alliances with stakeholders. These empirical findings suggest that cities that want to pursue sustainability should adapt their planning process towards incorporating these characteristics.

Back to (Non)Basics: Worker Cooperatives as Economic Development

Here was no mere Ideology. [Cooperatives] seemed to offer a peaceable way of achieving democratic control over the means of production and distribution. To many who wondered what they might do to transform the profit system, with its cruelties and hardships and the constant threat of breakdown, cooperation appeared as a heaven-sent answer. [...] At any rate, the cooperative movement in America is an actuality, complete with lunatic fringe. Some observers have discounted it as merely another passing fad, like technocracy. And while it is true that past depressions have called forth an interest in cooperation which [sic] has subsided with a rising tide of prosperity, I believe this time it is here to stay.

—Marquis W. Childs, The North American Review (1937)

The Changing Face of Migration: Opportunities for Urban Planners in the American Suburb

Over the past twenty years, the United States has experienced a wave of immigration unparalleled since the turn of the last century. Increasingly, new arrivals are finding jobs and moving directly to the suburbs, reflecting larger employment trends and signaling a shift from past patterns of immigrant settlement in the U.S. Local authorities, native-born residents and immigrants alike often struggle to adapt to the rapidly changing identities of their communities, even calling into question the notion of the suburban lifestyle as a representation of the “American Dream.” Using the suburb of Brentwood, New York as a case study, this paper illustrates the challenges and opportunities for suburban communities in adapting to these changing demographics and offers suggestions about how urban planning can promote integration while planning for a sustainable future of diverse suburban communities in the United States.


The Struggle of Memory against Forgetting: Insurgent Histories and the Development of a New Suburban Praxis

In this paper, I revisit the popular history of race and class in the suburbs to show that poor communities and communities of color have played a pivotal role in shaping contemporary suburban landscapes, using eastern Contra Costa County as a revealing example. I then draw on Leonie Sandercock’s concept of “insurgent historiographies” to argue that this insurgent history of the suburbs can and should redefine urban planning praxis today.

Photo Essays

Favela Chic

Currently, the most interesting efforts to address informal settlements, or favelas, are exemplified in Latin America. We are now witnessing spectacular libraries in depressed neighborhoods, gondola systems in marginalized areas, and museums in informal settlements. Following a long history of tabula rasa, public housing, self-help, and sites-and-services schemes, current approaches have evolved to include strategies characterized as urban acupuncture, making design a central component in the approach and aiming to minimize displacement while improving conditions in the area. Although current design-centered interventions could be catalysts to claim rights to the city, conversations about key issues and short- and long-term outcomes are critical: Why, where and how are these interventions operating?

Based on comparative field studies in South America, this essay will illustrate the potentials and limitations of current practices in ‘slum upgrading.’

Public Spaces in Modern Cities

This photo essay presents the perspective of seven researchers on the public lives in four European cities: Lviv, Manchester, St. Petersburg, and Sofia. For two years (2006-2008) a group of sociologists, cultural studies specialists, anthropologists and social geographers observed the everyday lives of these cities: the meeting of the spheres of work, consumption, and leisure; the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, and gender; the changes in design and architecture of public places; and the citizens’ attitudes to current developments and emerging problems.


Kaye Bock Student Paper Award

The Kaye Bock Student Paper Award is given to the author of a paper that is an outstanding example of scholarship and that exemplifies Kaye’s commitment to underrepresented issues or peoples. The award is named in loving memory of Kaye Bock-DCRP’s Student Affairs Officer for over 20 years-to honor her unbounded concern for and commitment to graduate students in this department. It is also intended as an expression of gratitude from the Berkeley Planning Journal to Kaye for her critical and caring support during our first two decades of publication. The winner is chosen by the editorial board of each volume of the Berkeley Planning Journal. The Kaye Bock Student Award Paper Award is accompanied by a $250 cash gift.

DCRP Class of 2011

A comprehensive list of the Masters and PhD candidates graduating from the Department of City and Regional Planning in Spring 2011 and Fall 2010.