Spaces of consumption in the mobile metropolissymbolic capital, multi-accessibility and spatial conditions for social interaction

  1. José Carpio Pinedo
Supervised by:
  1. Francisco José Lamiquiz Daudén Director
  2. Javier Gutiérrez Puebla Director

Defence university: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Fecha de defensa: 19 November 2020

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 642516 DIALNET


“The city is a market place” (Weber, 1969), but also where “strangers are likely to meet” (Sennett, 1977). Put together, Weber’s and Sennett’s definitions of the city bring us to the social dimension of commercial activities: consumption as social interaction between seller and customer, as a gathering together with friends, but also as exposure to others. The social dimension is becoming increasingly relevant now that the basic satisfaction of needs can be solved by online shopping. However, all spatial models of commerce are based on its economic dimension alone. The two definitions together trigger this thesis main objective: evaluating the degree of match between the distribution of commercial spaces and the areas where strangers are more likely to meet. For this, two previous tasks have been necessary: the study of the metropolitan geography of commercial spaces, and the analysis of the spatial hierarchy for social interaction. The thesis develops a metropolitan geography of consumption by integrating the physical, economic, and socio-symbolic dimensions of commercial spaces. The latter corresponds to the places to which consumers attribute symbolic capital (recognition, prestige), and follows its own logic, not detached from the territory as many authors have described, but profoundly rooted in the landscape of socio-economic segregation. On the other hand, this thesis operationalises Sennett's definition of the city by proposing a framework to analyse the spatial hierarchy for social interaction: the arrangement of spaces according to the conditions fostering a higher quantity and heterogeneity of interactions, both locally and by multimodal transport. By the comparison of the two studies, the main conclusion of this thesis is that the metropolitan geography of commercial spaces is intensely associated with the social interaction potential. However, the city as market place is much more concentrated, and only occupies the prime locations of the spatial hierarchy for interaction.