The City Authentic: Why Cities Act Like Influencers and Reality TV Stars

Oct. 10, 2023, 5:00 p.m.

Taylor Hall Room 203

Does it seem like every place looks the same now? From gentrified upstate New York cities to the most elite Los Angeles streets, the architecture and interior designs have all started to resemble each other. David A. Banks’s new book The City Authentic investigates how and why cities are becoming social media influencers—and why it works. From fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson’s parties listed as luxury apartment amenities, to proprietary apps designed to ease the transition from Park Slope to Woodstock, the attention economy is reorganizing urban geography. Increasingly smaller cities are using these recent changes to market themselves as unique thrift-store finds compared to the name brands of major urban centers.

David Banks is lecturer in the Department of Geography & Planning and Director of Globalization Studies Program at University at Albany, SUNY.

Sponsored by the Urban Studies Program. Co-sponsored by the Department of Earth Science & Geography, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Film, with support from the Office of the Dean of Faculty.

Headshot of David Banks
David Banks
Photo: Brit Gil