"This essay attempts to reconnect political theory to the study of cities by probing the link between built environment, public life, and democratic politics. By doing so, we can discern critical and troubling dynamics shaping contemporary democratic citizenship in this inegalitarian social context."Having laid out the work she's taking on, she also forecasts her overall findings, in the first paragraph on page 356:
"In this essay, I argue that the architecture of our urban and suburban lives provides a hostile environment for the development of democratic imagination and participation."Can't get much more straightforward than that. So your job is to examine the ways in which she offers evidence for that claim, how she complicates and extends that claim, and whether you believe that evidence to be a) pertinent and b) compelling.
It's a long (22 pages) and dense paper. If you find yourself struggling with really comprehending the overall form, I have a suggestion.
- Print a copy of the paper
- Take a pen and number each paragraph
- Open a fresh Word document
- Using the same paragraph numbers, summarize each paragraph into a sentence. You'll lose a lot of the complexity, but you can organize the big ideas.
- Study your new outline. Where does the paper change directions? Are there big thematic chunks you can identify?