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The growth machine concept appears most systematically developed in John Logan's and Harvey Molotch's Urban Fortunes, published in 1987. The book follows a series of research papers by the authors and develops the ideas crafted by Molotch in his 1976 classic paper, “The City as a Growth Machine.” In these pieces, Logan and Molotch proposed a distinct approach to urban theory. This entry looks at the idea's evolution, its current application, and cross-national contrasts.

Conceptual Background

In the 1970s, the field of urban sociology—and other fields focusing on urban research such as economics, urban geography, and planning—were proponents of the idea that cities could be understood as mere containers of human action. According to this idea—which echoes the original proposals of the Chicago School—a competition among actors ...

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