The City Authentic: How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America (Paperback)

The City Authentic: How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America By David A. Banks Cover Image

The City Authentic: How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America (Paperback)


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One of Dazed's Best Non-Fiction Books of 2023

The first book to explore how our cities gentrify by becoming social media influencers—and why it works.

Cities, like the people that live in them, are subject to the attention economy. In The City Authentic, author David A. Banks shows how cities are transforming themselves to appeal to modern desires for authentic urban living through the attention-grabbing tactics of social media influencers and reality-TV stars.
Blending insightful analysis with pop culture, this engaging study of New York State’s Capital Region is an accessible glimpse into the social phenomena that influence contemporary cities. The rising economic fortunes of cities in the Rust Belt, Banks argues, are due in part to the markers of its previous decay—which translate into signs of urban authenticity on the internet. The City Authentic unpacks the odd connection between digital media and derelict buildings, the consequences of how we think about industry and place, and the political processes that have enabled a new paradigm in urban planning. Mixing urban sociology with media and cultural studies, Banks offers a lively account of how urban life and development are changing in the twenty-first century.
David A. Banks is Lecturer and Director of Globalization Studies at the University at Albany, a delegate to the Troy Area Labor Council, and author of many essays on technology, cities, and politics.

Product Details ISBN: 9780520383456
ISBN-10: 0520383451
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: April 25th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English
"There is a strong Marxist theoretical basis to the arguments presented here. Banks ties the City Authentic processes he identifies to ongoing needs by a capitalist system for uneven development. This book will be of considerable interest to students and scholars working in contemporary urban studies and urban planning. . . . Recommended."

"The City Authentic is a book written by a real and quite likable human, one who is so versed in and concerned about these hard-to-pin-down cultural and economic problems that they are willing to throw every possible writerly approach at them."
— New Inquiry

"The City Authentic delves into what exactly ‘authenticity’ means, why we look to it as a source of meaning, and why the 'city authentic' model has made urban inequality even worse. . . . While the subject matter is sometimes complex, this is far from being a dry, academic tome: Banks uses accessible examples to illustrate what he’s talking about, and writes in a witty, engaging style." - Best Nonfiction Books of 2023
— Dazed

"Fortunately, there’s someone able to explain these changes going on not only in my hometown but in similar small cities across the nation."
— Commonweal