Authenticity resonates throughout the urbanizing world. As cities’ commercial corridors and downtowns start to look increasingly the same, and gentrification displaces many original neighborhood residents, we are left with a sense that our cities are becoming "hollowed out," bereft of the multi-faceted connections that once rooted us to our communities. And yet, in a world where change is unrelenting, people long for authentic places. This book examines the reasons for and responses to this longing, considering the role of community development in addressing community and neighbourhood authenticity.
A key concept underscoring planning’s inherent challenges is the notion of authentic community, ranging from more holistic, and yet highly market-sensitive conceptions of authentic community to appreciating how authenticity helps form and reinforce individual identity. Typically, developers emphasize spaces’ monetary exchange value, while residents emphasize neighbourhoods’ use value—including how those spaces enrich local community tradition and life. Where exchange value predominates, authenticity is increasingly implicated in gentrification, taking us further from what initially made communities authentic. The hunger for authenticity grows, in spite and because of its ambiguities. This edited collection seeks to explore such dynamics, asking alternately, "How does the definition of ‘authenticity’ shift in different social, political, and economic contexts?" And, "Can planning promote authenticity? If so, how and under what conditions?" It includes healthy scepticism regarding the concept, along with proposals for promoting its democratic, inclusive expression in neighbourhoods and communities.
Table of Contents
Laura Tate and Brettany Shannon
Introduction: Planning for AuthentiCITIES
Part I: Mooring
Leslie Shieh and Jessica Chen
Chinatown, not Coffeetown: Authenticity and placemaking in Vancouver’s Chinatown
Neighbourhood authenticity and sense of place
Urban authenticity as a panacea for urban disorder? Business improvement areas, cultural power, and the worlds of justification
A framework of neighbourhood authenticity for urban planning: Three aspects and three types of change
Negotiating diversity: The transitioning Greektown of Baltimore City, Maryland
Planning and authenticity: A materialist and phronetic perspective
Part II: Performing
Maria Francesca Piazzoni
Authenticity makes the city: How "the authentic" affects the production of space
Authenticity’s many performances in the urban studies literature
Tactical urbanism as the staging of social authenticity
Sincerity, performative authenticity, and tourism in New Orleans
Angela Babb, Adrianne Bryant, and Daniel C. Knudsen
Gardening in America
Utilizing comical mascots (yuru-kyara) to create city authenticity?
Authentic Downtown Project: Intentional community-making in the digital age
Part III: Healing
Shu-Mei Huang and Jeffrey Hou
Relocated authenticity: Placemaking in displacement in southern Taiwan
Coding the "authenti-city": North Harbour and Århusgade Quarter, Copenhagen
Cecilia Giusti and Edna Ledesma
Diálogos for Latino Communities
Planning for reconciliation: Indigenous authenticity in community engagement and urban planning in Canadian cities
Urban-social imaginaries of authenticity—and the John Lennon Wall
Laura Tate, PhD (University of British Columbia), is an urban planning scholar, lecturer and consultant. Laura has an extensive practice background in city planning and public health. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and has most recently held the position of Visiting Lecturer at the California Polytechnic State University.
Brettany Shannon, PhD in Urban Planning and Development (University of Southern California), studies how media arts and digital communications intersect with urban and social placemaking. As the USC Bedrosian Center for Governance Scholar-in-Residence, she continues her research in the interview-based podcast, Los Angeles Hashtags Itself.
"In our interdependent urban world how do people sustain real community? Tate & Shannon weave sixteen answers into three hopeful strategies: discover and invent objects to moor people to a shared place; perform social actions designed to carve out community spaces; and use purposeful cultural, political and professional strategies to heal spatial rifts hewn by indifferent development. Bravo!" -Charles Hoch, Professor Emeritus, Department of Urban Planning & Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
"Planning for AuthentiCITIES is a timely, novel, and stimulating book that will advance conversations and debates about the growing desire for and claims making about "authenticity." Written in an engaging manner and marked by compelling portraits of efforts on the ground to preserve perceived authenticity, this comprehensive text promises to guide conversations within and beyond the classroom about this charged topic. Crucially, this collection provides insights about when, how– and whether– planners ought to grapple with concerns for authenticity." -Japonica Brown-Saracino, Associate Professor of Sociology, Boston University, USA
"Planning for AuthentiCITIES contributes in a particularly lively way to our understanding of the role of place, identity and territory in our post-structuralist age. Co-editors Laura Tate and Brettany Shannon have enlisted both established scholars and new talents in a volume which brings to life the dynamics of how we see ‘authenticity’ as animating city and space, while not shrinking from individual and collective experiences of exclusion, marginality and inequality." -Tom Hutton, Professor of Urban Studies and City Planning, University of British Columbia, Canada