The Challenges of “Comparative Urbanism” in Post Fordist Cities: The cases of Turin and Detroit


In 1947, the U.S. Secretary of State, George C. Marshall announced that the USA would provide development aid to help the recovery and reconstruction of the economies of Europe, which was widely known as the ‘Marshall Plan’. In Italy, this plan generated a resurgence of modern industrialization and remodeled Italian Industry based on American models of production. As the result of these transnational transfers, the systemic approach known as Fordism largely succeeded and allowed some Italian firms such as Fiat to flourish. During this period, Detroit and Turin, homes to the most powerful automobile corporations of the twentieth century, became intertwined in a web of common features such as industrial concentration, mass flows of immigrations, uneven urban sprawl, radical iconography and inner-city decay, which characterized Fordism in both cities. In the crucial decades of the postwar expansion of the automobile industries, both cities were hubs of labor battles and social movements. However, after the radical decline in their industries as previous auto cities, they experienced the radical shift toward post-Fordist urbanization and production of political urbanism. This research responds to the recent interest for a comparative (re)turn in urban studies by suggesting the conceptual theoretical baseline for the proposed comparative framework in post-Fordist cities. In better words, it develops a “theory” on the challenges of comparative urbanism in post-Fordist cities

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