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Las Vegas, Nevada, represents a singularly fascinating subject within the field of urban studies. This is not so much because of its history in terms of urban development—which is nevertheless rich and illuminating—but more because of its historiography, in that its locus and meaning within scholarly discourse have changed dramatically and controversially within the past 50 years. As a place, Las Vegas continues to stimulate debate as globalized economics, social deprivation, and climate change begin to have a powerful impact on its future development.

There are, of course, other sites in the continental United States where gambling is legalized or where the focus of the urban environment is toward leisure and recreation. Atlantic City, New Jersey; Reno, Nevada; and Tunica, Mississippi, for example, as well ...

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