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The City, RevisitedUrban Theory from Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York$
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Dennis R. Judd and Dick Simpson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665754

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665754.001.0001

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From the Chicago to the L.A. School

From the Chicago to the L.A. School

Whither the Local State?

(p.104) 6 From the Chicago to the L.A. School
The City, Revisited

Steven P. Erie

Scott A. MacKenzie

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter reexamines the L.A. School’s paradigm of urban growth that challenged the iconic concentric circles model developed in the 1920s by the Chicago School of Sociology. It argues that the L.A. School, like the Chicago School before it, offers an inadequate account of political institutions and the local state as forces shaping urban and metropolitan growth. Many of the L.A. School’s adherents perpetuate a Chinatown myth of the local state, which implies that urban democracy has failed. It also understates the importance of local politics and public entrepreneurship to understanding Los Angeles’s rise as a regional imperium and global city. The chapter presents alternative account of L.A.’s improbable yet rapid twentieth-century growth, focusing on public entrepreneurship and local state capacity and relative autonomy. It suggests that any new urban growth paradigm needs to bring the local state back in.

Keywords:   L.A. School, Chicago School, urban development, urban growth, political institutions, urban democracy, Chinatown myth

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