City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in by David Fleming

By David Fleming

Examines the connection of civic discourse to equipped environments via a case learn of the Cabrini eco-friendly city revitalization venture in Chicago.

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The spatial manifestations of this disparity at the metropolitan level can also be readily observed. S. 54 Within any single urbanized region, Orfield writes, one finds a proliferation of independent municipalities with dramatically different tax bases, expenditure needs, population densities, housing stock, minority The Placelessness of Political Theory 33 populations, poverty rates, office space, and growth. ), we see similar patterns in the configuration of social space. Downtown is now focused primarily on financial services, government, and legal work.

The other key spaces of liberalism—the marketplace, for example, and the civil society of coffee shops and union halls—are in some sense an extension of the private realm because, like it, they need protection from the state. Despite this topography, however, liberalism is predominantly, I believe, a politics of time. A state in which people are mostly left alone is best achieved by the thinnest kind of political life imaginable: namely, a shared set of procedures for resolving conflicts and protecting individual freedoms.

This page intentionally left blank. THREE A New Civic Map for Our Time Ten persons is too small for a polis; but a hundred thousand is too large. The right number is probably somewhere in between. —Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics1 In the previous chapter, I argued that, because of our bodies, because of the force of proximity in our lives, because of the plasticity and vulnerability of the physical world, place deserves a more prominent role in our theories of civic identity and interaction. Although our contemporary political landscape is increasingly fragmented and polarized, and our public philosophies seduced by the promises of mobility, multipositionality, and globalization, we are still, after all, situated beings; and we need, more than ever, publics that are grounded, unitary, and official—defined, at least in part, by simple copresence in space.

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