The Battle for Space in Shaw Essay

The Battle for Space in Shaw Essay

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The Battle for Space in Shaw

"Groups, classes or fractions of classes cannot constitute themselves or recognize one another as ‘subjects’ unless they generate (or produce) a space. Ideas, representation, or values which do not succeed in making their mark on space….will lose all pith and become mere sign…Space’s investment - the production of space – has nothing incidental about it: it is a matter of life and death."

Henri Lefebve, The Production of Space

Lefebvre's quote speaks of the production of space as a common, inevitable

Occurrence. Different groups, organizations and people, are constantly producing spaces. These groups are in existence only because they have generated a space and occupied it. Today, a battle for space is occurring throughout DC and other urban areas throughout the country in the vision of new Global, high tech cities. What is left of the existing space and the people who occupied it prior? Lefebvre suggests that these 'ideas, representation, and values' that are unsuccessful in keeping their ground eventually fade and become mere memory. The public commonly hears the word development – a fancier world that legitimizes a particular production of a space. (Class discussion 3-17-01) In mainstream society, producing a new office complex or a shopping center is thought of as an engine that generates new jobs and production that brings great amounts of money into the area. Although this model is successful, it fails to recognize other, less dramatic models of economic development that also stimulate growth and change without hurting an entire community. Development, defined by Raymond Williams "can limit and confuse virtually any generalizing description of the current world economic order, and...


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... packet 320) Like McGovern suggest, this way of thinking involves a change in consciousness away from the hegemony that has taught as to think this way. The underlying truth is that development will hurt Shaw – Mayor Williams and other development officials may provide enticing information about the benefits that a Global city will have on DC’s economy. In the long run, however, this help - greater revenues from department stores and cafés, tax incentives for new home buyers and businesses, and attracting the rich suburbanites who finally want a part of city life - will repave and destroy the Shaw neighborhood and eventually all of DC. As Lefebve says "the production of space has nothing incidental about it: it is a matter of life and death" and in the near future, maybe the only thing left, will be a lifeless plaque that commemorates the forgotten residents of Shaw.

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