City of Quarters:
Urban Villages in the Contemporary City.
By David Bell and Mark Jayne (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004), XIII - 287 pp.
By Mauro Guilherme Pinheiro Koury
City of Quarters is strongly influenced by contemporary urban and cultural studies in anthropology and geography. It explores the growing presence of distinct social and spatial areas in cities throughout the world, urban villages, cultural and ethnic quarters. These spaces are sites where capital and culture intertwine in new ways. The study addresses the economic, political, socio-spatial and cultural practices and processes that surround these urban spaces and the role of urban villages in contemporary cities.
The book is divided into four parts that highlight the ways in which the production and consumption cultures, lifestyles, identities and forms of sociability found in specific urban villages are discursively and differentially constructed.
Part 1, ‘‘Urban Regeneration,’’ presents essays that address how cultural quarters have been utilized as motors of economic and physical regeneration: George Waitt on the Newest Chic Quarter of Sydney, Malcolm Miles on El Raval, Barcelona, and James DeFilippis on Lower Manhattan. Part 2, ‘‘Production and Consumption,’’ looks at the interface of production and consumption in urban quarters as cities try to compete in a post-industrial urban hierarchy characterized by intense competition: Graeme Evans addresses the contemporary form of the post-industrial cultural quarter; Tom Fleming examines the role of the state in supporting or developing creative and cultural quarters; Abigail Gilmore focuses on popular music and urban regeneration; and Stephanie Rains discusses the process of quarterization in a case study on Dublin.
Part 3, ‘‘Identities, Lifestyles and Forms of Sociability,’’ examines the conflict that surrounds urban space and focuses on the relationship between identity, lifestyles and forms of sociability, and the construction and experience of urban villages. Jim Shorthose’s essay presents a case study of a cultural quarter, the Lace Market in Nottingham, England; Jon Binnie’s essay is on gay villages and sexual citizenship in Britain; and, finally, Wun Chan’s essay addresses the question of ethnocentrism in relation to urban planning.
Part 4, ‘‘Rethinking Neighbourhoods / Rethinking Quarters,’’ examines marginalized neighbourhoods and offers an alternative approach to planning for urban living. Chris Murray examines the problem of neighbourhoods in the transformation of urban villages to cultural hubs. Maggie O’Neill and others reflect on a particular phenomenon of the urban red-light districts in Walssall, Britain. Phil Denning, in turn, investigates regeneration initiatives in former industrial neighbourhoods in Scotland, Germany and Hungary. Finally, Franco Bianchine and Lia Ghilardi’s essay examines the European perspective on the culture of neighbourhoods and offers an alternative agenda for their development.
The concluding chapter, ‘‘Afterword: Thinking in Quarters,’’ summarizes the main aspects discussed in the book. David Bell and Mark Jayne reflect on the process of entrepreneurial urban governance and the rise of the symbolic economy of cities.
City of Quarters offers a comprehensive view of the subject and will interest researchers in urban studies, anthropology, sociology, architecture, urbanism, geography and other related sciences.
[Publicado na revista The European Legacy, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 349–350, 2006]