In analyzing an urban environment, rather than viewing the urban simply as a backdrop for more general social processes, it should be noticed and understood as to how social and spatial relations shape different versions of the city: as a place of social interaction and of solitude; as a site of difference and segregation; as a space of politics and power; as a landscape of economic and cultural distinction. Similarly, social categories such as class, culture, gender, sexuality and community are all shaped and reproduced in these unique urban contexts. These spatial relations and their effects on the city significantly relates to social (in)justice. To provide evidence, one can simply look at any city in the world. Cities have always been designed so that all classes of people interact with each other on a daily basis, that all have the same opportunities, and so that all have the same privileges. However, today these urban environments are transforming as a result of globalization; public spaces are limited, social classes are becoming segregated, and people now have their own unique privileges most others do not.
In analyzing the readings of Low, Caldeira, Mele, Holston, and Harvey, I definitely found an overarching pattern between them. It is agreed that spatial relations are directly related to social issues and consequently have caused much injustice. Caldeira believes that in the materiality of segregated spaces, in peoples everyday trajectories, in their uses of public transportation, in their appropriations of streets and parks, and in their constructions of walls and defensive facades, social boundaries today are rigidly constructed. This is important in that it makes all social groups have a sense of exclusion and restriction. But more importantly, why is this sense of exclusion and segregation being felt and seen more often? Low believes globalization is the cause. “With globalization this trend of increased barricading and surveillance accompanied by privatization is intensifying. […] Privatization, surveillance, and restrictive management have created an increasingly inhospitable environment for immigrants, local ethnic groups, and culturally diverse behaviors. If this trend continues, it will eradicate the last remaining spaces for democratic practices, places where a wide variety of people of different gender, class, culture, nationality, and ethnicity intermingle peacefully.” (Low, page 403). I found this to be a crucial statement, as it explains what is happening, why it is happening, and what lies ahead. These increases in privatization, surveillance, and even “fear” of one another have caused us to reconstruct our…