Putting Culture on the Map:

Authors: Brady Collins*, Cal Poly Pomona
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, Ethnic Geography
Keywords: urban growth machine, discourse analysis, cultural economy, ethnic communities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In today’s post-industrial economy, the extent to which cities and neighborhoods can develop and promote their cultural diversity has become a key strategy for maintaining competitiveness by attracting tourism, investment, and job and population growth. The economic value of immigrant communities is derived from the fact that, in an time where ethnic diversity and multiculturalism are accepted and valued realities of the contemporary city, notions of “exotic” and “authentic” cultural urban experiences are marketable assets for cities and communities. These cultural modes of place marketing and urban revitalization fit the logic of the urban growth machine, in that they foster ideologies of place to encourage investment and enhance the profitability of the local economic base. Building off Molotch’s theory of the urban growth machine, this paper examines the role of the local media in transforming ethnic communities into landscapes of cultural consumption and marketable assets in the cultural economy. Through a critical discourse analysis of newspaper articles written about Koreatown, Los Angeles, this paper unpacks how immigrant communities are commodified in the local media and demonstrates how these narratives of place serve the urban growth machine.

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