The Global City and Its Discontents: A Study of New York City's Garment District, 1930-1980
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Big business and small business, the global and the local, the rich and the poor—these polarities often inhabit compartmentalized geographies within the modern global city. This compartmentalization proves to be problematic since the lack of a localized diversity of socioeconomic actors is a critical point of vulnerability in the context of urban resilience. The question is, what role does the relationship between the built world and human socioeconomic agency play in the context of this issue? The objective of this dissertation is to document, analyze, and understand: (1) at the district scale, how architectural / urban characteristics, typologies, and configurations have historically influenced the developmental trajectory and composition of the city’s socioeconomic fabric, and in turn how socioeconomic structures have historically influenced the architectural / urban characteristics, typologies, and configurations observed in the city; (2) at the building scale, how the internal physical / spatial characteristics and configurations of buildings have historically influenced the developmental trajectory and composition of the socioeconomic fabric, and how socioeconomic actors in turn have historically altered and influenced the internal physical / spatial characteristics and configurations of buildings over time; (3) the commonalities, patterns, and processes that can be discerned via the historic study of these narratives of physical and socioeconomic change; and (4) how these commonalities can in turn inform future architectural and urban projects in their capacity to support localized diversities of socioeconomic actors. In seeking to answer these questions, this dissertation endeavors to understand, more broadly: (1) the historic nature of the relationship between the physical and the socioeconomic fabric of the city; and (2) how future alterations to the physical fabric of the city can be informed so as to positively impact a locality’s ability to attract and maintain a diversity of socioeconomic actors over an extended period of time. These broader objectives are pursued with the supposition that they have the capacity to significantly impact the ideological conception, as well as practical regulation, planning, and administration of global cities.