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Space and sustainability: an exploratory essay on the production of social spaces through city-work

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The purpose of this essay is to locate the making of social spaces as a particularly salient approach for understanding sustainability. Castells’ spaces of places and spaces of flows are interpreted generically and a new social theory, Jacobs’ moral syndromes, is introduced to underpin the production of these two spatial forms: commercial agents through their network practices make spaces of flows; guardian agents through their territorial practices make spaces of places. Both spaces are considered to be the outcome of city-work. A new division of labour is devised: four primary types of city-work are identified: hinter-work, net-work, territorial-work and hierarch-work. These ideas are considered as tools for thinking about developing spatial policies for sustainability. In conclusion, Jacobs’ theory is used to discuss what the general strategy has to be for tackling sustainability.

Keywords: Jacobs’ moral syndromes; cities; globalization; social spaces; territoriality; work

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, Email:

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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