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Views from the South: Visualizing uneven development in urban areas of emerging regions

Authors: Brad Dearden*, University of Maine Farmington
Topics: Third World, Economic Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: urban development, globalization, visual media
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Relevant literature suggests that still photographs and video recordings convey both literal and nuanced meanings of human activities and place. Some authors suggests that visual depictions can also ascribe new meaning to places and the processes that shape them. Visual forms of advertising that emanate from multinational enterprises situated within commercial city-space, for instance, infer an essential ‘branding’ of places associated with globalized interests. Vestiges of globalizing endeavors are evident in monetary form and in their visual representations upon the landscape. Such visual artifacts increasingly occupy select spaces in the urban geographies of emerging economies, often as part of a trajectory that encourages development under a scenario of expanded markets. As an approach to analyzing these manifestations and the interpretations they evoke, this study contextualizes the author’s still photographs and video recordings of Kathmandu, Beijing, and Guatemala City – places exhibiting fundamental differences but imprinted with activities common to globalization and development. Outcomes from this research suggest that visual media forms can be productive as a means to identify and examine this global-local phenomenon, namely the expansive commercial forms that can proliferate in the global marketplace amidst local spaces of deprivation and the consequent cultural landscape juxtapositions they elicit.

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