Conflict, Power, and Politics in the City: A Geographic View

Conflict, Power, and Politics in the City: A Geographic View

Conflict, Power, and Politics in the City: A Geographic View

Conflict, Power, and Politics in the City: A Geographic View

Excerpt

Kevin Cox brings a strong background in the social and behavioral sciences to the geographic study of urban power and conflict. He has been thorough in his examination of the relevant literature in political science, sociology, and economics; and discriminating in his selection of the works in that literature on which to draw.

Professor Cox is particularly penetrating in his analysis of the role of externalities in the distribution of urban power and conflict. Much attention has been given to externalities recently as geographers and other social scientists have recognized that each locational change in a tightly interdependent metropolitan system sets off a complex set of reactions and counterreactions. It is clear that there are such chain effects, but it is by no means clear just what they are. Professor Cox provides a critical breakdown of several types of externalities and their effects. He clearly demonstrates the utility of geography in the study of urban power and conflict in his discussion of the importance of such geographic concepts as distance-decay, perception, and regionalization in establishing the context in which locational externalities express their influence on the city. Distance-decay is evident in the tendency for positive or negative externalities associated with different activities to decline at different rates with distance. The perception of externalities associated with public behavior or status may vary from positive to negative according to the value systems of affected groups. Regionalization is evident in the de facto groupings according to income or race created by the multiplier effects associated with most externalities. A de jure regionalization is the basis for the central-city—suburban fiscal disparities problem, which is dealt with effectively by Professor Cox. He carefully documents the basic contradictions between relatively high per capita demand for services in the central city, compared with the suburb and relatively low per capita tax . . .

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