When Cities Get Married?
In this article, the authors examine the processes by which urban space became sexually coded through municipal consolidation in the nineteenth century. The analysis covers the union of Van Vorst Township to Jersey City in 1851 and the absorption of the City of Brooklyn to "Greater New York" in 1898. In both cases, urban space was gendered and sexualized through courtship and marriage metaphors used by local newspapers. The authors argue that consolidation is represented in gendered and sexualized terms so that the question of municipal expansion became insulated frommoral, racialized, and environmental concerns about the "threats" of the big city. Our analysis has contemporary relevance because it suggests the sexist and heterosexist norms that may be embedded in the noblesse oblige of contemporary municipal consolidation. It also suggests a way of looking at contemporary municipal boundary changes through a normative lens that takes us beyond economic notions of self-interest.
[Editor's note: The link below is to a 200KB PDF.]
Thanks to Urban Affairs Review Table of Contents