Secret Life of Cities
The Social Reproduction of Everyday Life

By Helen Jarvis, et al.
March 2001
Prentice Hall / Pearson Education
ISBN: 0-13-087318-7
256 Pages
$72.50 paper original

Contemporary urbanization has two faces- global flows of people, money and information, and that of localized social and economic disparities. Recent research has focused on the headlines of global cities as control centers of the world economy, and social and economic shock waves that have raged through cities and regions, but less attention has been paid to the secret life of cities, and the changing nature of everyday life in the wake of such changes.

This book challenges current research and policy agendas recommending spatial concentration and relocation as a solution to the problems of environmental sustainability and social dislocation. Instead, this book highlights the key linkages between social and environmental problems, it argues that neither are likely to be resolved with a simple spatial fix.

The book draws attention to local contexts of contemporary urbanization emphasizing consideration of policy making from the perspective of the household as a key unit of analysis in identifying links between labor and housing markets, transport and leisure. This book draws upon detailed household interviews about the daily experience of life in a global city. It illustrates the dilemmas and solutions that people routinely find in order to go on in their lives.

It shows that these local fixes that are managed at the level of the household work in spite of, and sometimes against, existing policies aimed at sustainability. It concludes that policy making needs to be radically overhauled in order to address the integrated nature of people's everyday lives.

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