A World of Urbanization

I’ve grown up in a world where buying things globally is almost as easy as it is to buy things locally. I spend a decent amount of the time that I allot for shopping, surfing ebay where I can buy books from Germany, jewelry from India and clothing from Japan and in a week or two they show up on my doorstep. Our advances in technology and communications has made it so that even from another continent I can stimulate the economy of another country by putting capital directly into the pockets of the people that I am purchasing from but also in the regard that I am helping to supply the demand that will stimulate those sellers to need to purchase raw goods and services from within their own country in order to meet that demand. In this sense of my experienced life, Lefebvre’s idea of capitalist profitability as a means from stimulating urban growth has been realized. All of the steps that have lead to me being able to purchase goods globally with ease has been paralleled by urban growth on a global scale.

As a child I grew up in LA and there was a bakery on the corner that we frequented and although the bakery was well advertised and a staple in our urban community, that bakery got its wheat and our products to make the bread from a farmer in the country side. And as that bakery grew in demand from the inhabitants as our urban environment grew, the greater demand placed on that farmer from the growing bakery caused that farmer to need to get newer technologies (produced in cities) in order to meet the bakeries needs. This reliance between the urban and the countryside was needed in order to make sure that both the urban business as well as the countryside farm remained profitable. It is this type of reliance that I believe Lefebvre was talking about when he discussed the concept of a state mode of production. It is this idea of the urban environment surpassing its bounds of the traditional city and increasing its assertion through technology and capitalism into country sides in order to help break down the traditional barrier between a city and the country.

Where I don’t agree with Lefebvre, is the concept that we have achieved his Utopian urban environment yet. I believe that we are still in his critical phase. He believed that the critical phase was one where we became open to the possibility of being able to reshape our world in a way that would benefit human needs on a global scale and that after that phase we would achieve a sort of urban utopia but my experience tells me that all this time later, we are still in that critical phase. The two above examples show ways of helping to shape human needs on the global skills by being ale to filter capital into other countries on an individual level and by being able to stimulate local urban environments and capital on the community level. I’ve participated in humanitarian efforts abroad that have shown me that there is still a lot of work to do and the common idea that cities are over-crowded, run down and a bombardment of advertising also leads me to believe that we haven’t yet achieved any type of utopia in an urban environment but I’ve also seen the role that spatial groupings like slums have played in pushing for change in policy and the reshaping of communities within cities such as this business with mid-market in San Francisco. I see Lefebvre’s concepts in motion and whereas I don’t think we are near his vision of the urban society at this current time, I do feel from my experiences that we are moving closer to them.