While urban preservation is almost as old as cities themselves, it has become increasingly controversial in modern cities. In this book, Yue Zhang presents a cross-national comparative analysis of the politics of urban preservation. Based on comprehensive archival research and more than two hundred in-depth interviews in Beijing, Chicago, and Paris, Zhang finds that urban preservation provides a tool for diverse political and social actors to frame their propositions and advance their favored courses of action.
In cities from West to East, divergent political and economic interests have caused urban preservation to become contested. Exploring three of the world’s great cities, Zhang deftly navigates readers through each case study, illustrating the complexities of the politics of urban preservation in each city. In Beijing, urban preservation was integral to promoting economic growth and enhancing the city’s image during the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics; in Chicago, it is used to increase property values and revitalize neighborhoods; and in Paris, it offers a channel for national and municipal governments to compete for control over urban space.
Although urban preservation serves various purposes in these cities, Zhang explains how different types of political fragmentation have affected the implementation of preservation initiatives in predictable ways, thus generating distinct patterns of urban preservation. A comparative urban politics study of unusual breadth, The Fragmented Politics of Urban Preservation gives us insight into the complex policy process of urban preservation through which political institutions are intertwined with interests and inclinations, fundamentally shaping the direction of urban development, the physical forms of cities, and the lives of citizens.
About the Author
Yue Zhang is assistant professor of political science at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Table of Contents
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: The Paradox of Urban Preservation
1. The Logic of Political Fragmentation2. Beijing: Bureaucratic Anarchy and Symbolic Preservation3. Chicago: Aldermanic Fiefdoms and Mosaic Preservation4. Paris: Intergovernmental Fragmentation and Joint Preservation
Conclusion: Political Boundaries and Beyond