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Postmodern Urbanism

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Theories of urban structure are a scarce commodity. Most twentieth-century analyses have been predicated on the Chicago School model of concentric zones, despite the obvious claims of competing models. This paper examines the contemporary forms of Southern California urbanism as an initial step toward deriving a concept of “postmodern urbanism.” The Los Angeles model consists of several fundamental characteristics, including a global-local connection, a ubiquitous social polarization, and a reterritorialization of the urban process in which hinterland organizes the center (in direct contradiction to the Chicago model). The resultant urbanism is distinguished by a centerless urban form termed “keno capitalism,” which we advance as the basis for a research agenda in comparative urban analysis.

Keywords: Chicago; Los Angeles; Postmodern; urban structure; urbanism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Southern California Studies Center, University of Southern California

Publication date: March 1, 1998


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