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The outer-inner city: urbanization, migration and ‘race’ in London and New York

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Publication details

JournalUrban Research Practice
DatePublished - 22 Feb 2012
Issue number1
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)6-25
Original languageEnglish


This article explores the emergence of ‘outer-inner cities’ located on the periphery of London and New York. As traditional ‘zones in transitions’ and inner city districts of both cities have gentrified, these neighbourhoods no longer offer an affordable entry point to the low-waged immigrants whose work is necessary to keep the global city working. Moreover neoliberal practices of immigrant and working class dispersal in addition to the manipulation of fear regarding the ethnic and ‘racial’ other and the threat of deportation exert considerable centrifugal pressure making the central an increasingly hostile environment for immigrants. As such devalued sections of the periphery,
such as suburbs suffering from disinvestment, are emerging as unlikely meeting points for new immigrants, those displaced from the central city and descendents of previous waves of suburbanisation. Common to both forms of inner city is the racialization of antagonistic community relations. Yet in contrast to the ‘inner city’ of the Fordist metropolis the outer-inner city is more fragmented, characterized by informal and flexible arrangements of labour and dwelling and most crucially lacks symbolic resonance on a government and policy level.

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