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Reading ‘Uneven Development’

April 29, 2011

Neil Smith’s (1984) Uneven Development is cited in discussions of the production of space and nature and the geography of capitalism. I’ve begun to trundle my way through, and I find it an insightful (if, at times, intuitive*) work. This is the foundation of theory which describes the world as I understand it: “at the most basic level…uneven development is the systematic geographical expression of the contradictions inherent in the very constitution and construction of capitalism” (Smith, xiii). This I see in the urban geography of poverty and food insecurity and in struggles over rights to space. The contradictions inherent to capitalism are evident in the policy barriers placed on vacant lot community gardening despite the clear improbability that commercial development will take hold on these lots.

*Its intuitiveness to me is, doubtlessly, a consequence of the growing prevalence of scholarship on geographies of uneven development in the post-modern context; in the context in which it was written, it was much more radical.

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