David A. BanksJun 19, 2023
The City Authentic
How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America
University of California Press 2023
The City Authentic: How the Attention Economy Builds Urban America (U California Press, 2023) is 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.
Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of The Social Construction of a Cultural Spectacle: Floatzilla (Lexington Books, 2023) and Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington Books, 2022). His general area of study is on media representations of people and place. He is currently conducting research on the branding of cities. I am particularly interested in the similarities and differences in how travel and tourism agencies see a city as compared to how residents and visitors see the same city. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at email@example.com.