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Title: Streets of modernism : an analysis of change and stability in the streetscapes of central Edinburgh, 1978-94
Author: Fitch, David L.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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While the street can be construed as a "primary symbol" of modern life (Berman, 1982), recent analyses of changing patterns of consumption have often focused on some permutation of the mall (Shields, 1989; Johnson, 1991; Gottdiener, 1995), Disneyland (Zukin, 1991; Warren, 1994) or the festival marketplace (Goss, 1996; Hannigan, 1998), rather than on the understudied urban street (Gregson, 1995; Jackson and Thrift, 1995). The thesis examines the street as the site of the experiences of modern urbanism. Occupant and use data for some 1600 sites in two areas of central Edinburgh from 34 ground surveys performed between 1978 and 1994 were collected. A GIS/database was then used to construct a "spatial narrative" (Meethan, 1996) to study in detail the composition of the urban street and generate a 'history' (Morris, 1988) of the street's persistence and change. Analysis of this data calls into question the universality and applicability of many narratives of urban change. The street is revealed to represent the simultaneous manifestation of constant change intermixed with overwhelming levels of historical persistence, typified by Berman's (1982) identification of the dualism of change and stability as the central dialectic of the modern experience. Considerable evidence of high and increasing levels of homogeneity in the street is identified, but only in very limited geographic areas, questioning the local specificity of wider globalisation narratives (Zukin, 1990; Massey, 1994). The increasing importance of leisure as a component of the street is clear although several markedly different types of change can be identified within the data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available