21 April, 2018

Special Issue by Hesse/Siedentop "Suburbanisation and Suburbanisms" is out!

Hesse and Siedentop's special issue of Raumforschung und Raumordnung on Suburbs and Suburbanisation in the European context is now out in hard copy (Volume 76, Issue 2, April 2018)

Entries include:

This paper provides a brief overview of recent developments and debates concerned with suburbanisation in continental Europe. While current discourses in urban research and practice still focus on processes of reurbanisation and the gentrification of inner-city areas, suburbia continues to exist and thrive. Depending on the definition applied, suburban areas still attract a large share of in-migration and employment growth in cities of the developed countries. Given that popular meta-narratives on suburbia and suburbanisation are often spurred by, or refer to, North American suburban studies, we take a different perspective here, one based on continental European trajectories of development in and across city-regional areas that are considered to be suburban, and on social processes that are associated with suburbanisation (suburbanisms). Thus, we aim to avoid a biased understanding of suburbia as a spatial category, which is often considered mono-functional, non-sustainable, or in generic decline. Instead, we observe that suburban variety is huge, and the distinction between urban core and fringe seems to be as ambiguous as ever. The paper, which also introduces the theme of this special issue of “Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning”, bundles our findings along four themes: on suburbia as a place of economic development, on the shifting dynamics of housing between core and fringe locales, on the life-cyclic nature of suburbanisation, and on strategies for redevelopment. Finally, we discuss certain topics that may deserve to be addressed by future research, particularly on the European variant of suburbanisation and suburbs.

This paper addresses conditions of post-suburban urbanisation. Our empirical base is drawn from observations of integration initiatives in the region of the Glatt Valley, a rather undefined area extending from the City of Zurich towards the airport and spreading over a number of small municipalities. Under growth pressure, municipalities are coordinating housing, transportation, and economic activity, and this is generating new post-suburban forms. To understand these processes, qualitative methods were used, relevant documents surveyed, and conversational interviews with actors in the area conducted. A process of infrastructure consolidation was observed, which moved towards integrating functional pathways and optimising capital accumulation, and attracting and catering for business development and high-income earners. To date, the region has proved to be diverse and dynamic, while also furthering certain modes of fragmentation and social stratification. The results reveal post-suburban forms that are place specific and path dependent insofar as they are driven by particular arrangements of governance that emphasise a certain mode of integrative planning. This form of post-suburban growth is also producing new forms of fragmentation.

The rapid emergence and spread of new housing quarters that specifically address middle-class families is a striking feature of current urban development. Despite being located in or near the city centres, many of these ‘family enclaves’ display social and physical characteristics that so far have been firmly associated with suburban living. Against this background, the purpose of this article is twofold. The first objective is to argue from a theoretical perspective that the notion of ‘inner-city suburbanization’ is appropriate and helpful to capture the hybrid and contradictory nature of these projects as well as of many of the current socio-spatial developments in Western metropolitan regions. For this purpose, the paper draws on newer approaches that conceive of (urban or suburban) ways of living as independent of specific (urban or suburban) spaces or places. The second issue, based on empirical research, is then to sketch the essential qualities of newly built middle-class family enclaves and to highlight their propagation as a major characteristic of urban transformation in Germany. Their continuing expansion is interpreted as an expression and catalyst of ongoing processes of inner-city suburbanization. It is asserted that suburbanism has not only made its mark on the outskirts of the cities but is increasingly conquering growing parts of the inner cities as well.

The debate on the nature and state of peri-urban development in Europe is dynamic. While residents and their residential preferences have long been identified as strong drivers of the process of peri-urbanisation, other influences have also been discussed, such as the supply side of the housing market or job opportunities for residents. This paper analyses the population and job growth trends in the last five decades of 230 urban areas in mainland France. The results show that the pattern of peri-urban development of all the large and medium cities of the country have strong common characteristics. In particular, the areas around cities have proven dynamic both in terms of population, as would be expected in the peri-urbanisation process described by the literature in France, but also in terms of jobs, which have been less analysed. A review of the economic literature on the determinants of firms’ location choice puts forward some of the most relevant determinants that may explain a choice of location outside central cities. This helps put in perspective the role of job opportunities in shaping peri-urbanisation in France in the recent past.

This paper takes a spatially differentiated and temporally variegated perspective on suburban areas. It proposes a conceptual framework for studying the temporal variation and related trajectories of the subject matter, with suburban lifecycles being the key to our analysis. In empirical terms, the paper summarises the findings of research undertaken in 12 selected locales of four major metropolitan regions in Germany. Against the background of assessing the broader socioeconomic development of these regions, detailed local case studies have been conducted in order to reconstruct past and current development trajectories. Our analyses detected particular life cycles (and related segments) in the study areas, based on age and social composition, the physical conditions of the built environment and broader developments in the real-estate market. The different cycles include, in most cases, growth, maturity, transition and resilience, and they are also discussed in terms of their relevance for strategies responding to recent changes.

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