What is the social geography of the post-fordist city? Well, the jury is still out on that, but here are some suggestions. We will run through a sequence:
Dense, compact and railway/streetcar oriented the Victorian City looked something like this:
It was a city of concentric rings, like Chicago. Income and class were the important badges of social distinction between people. Class is (somewhat) static and fundamental.
The Fordist City might look a little bit like this perhaps:
It was a city with rings, sectors and some subnuclei, with freeways. In this city class still matters, but so does age and ethnicity. It is still a city with firm expectations about where people fit in the social order. Assumptions are in place about the racial and ethnic pecking order, about gender roles etc.,
The Post-Fordist city might look something like this:
It is becoming a decentred galactic metropolis of sub-centres and enclaves. This in some way resembled present-day Los Angeles and (maybe) Toronto. In this kind of city social identity is much more complex. In addition to old ideas of social class (which perhaps are becoming a little obselete) ethnicity, race, age and gender are all happening in complex ways. This city has gay and lesbian districts, multi-ethnic middle class suburbs, inner city gentrification, edge city bunker communities fenced in behind security guards and theme malls. It is all connected together by a complex network of roads, pipes and cables. Centrality, in the old sense does not matter, but being close to powerful people still matters. The old downtown core rediscovers a role as a festival and recreational site, while acting as a command and control point for the city in the global economy.