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EDWARD SOJA. TEN THESES ON CONTEMPORARY URBANIZATION 1. THE CHANGING CITY Over the past thirty years, the industrial capitalist city has experienced greater.

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Presentation on theme: "EDWARD SOJA. TEN THESES ON CONTEMPORARY URBANIZATION 1. THE CHANGING CITY Over the past thirty years, the industrial capitalist city has experienced greater."— Presentation transcript:


2 TEN THESES ON CONTEMPORARY URBANIZATION 1. THE CHANGING CITY Over the past thirty years, the industrial capitalist city has experienced greater changes than in any similar period since its origins in the late 18 th century.

3 2. THE POSTMETROPOLITAN TRANSITION The changes being experienced in cities around the world are part of what can be called the postmetropolitan transition, the still ongoing shift from the (modern) metropolis to the (postmodern) postmetropolis.

4 3. THE PRIMARY FORCES OF CHANGE The primary forces reshaping the modern metropolis are 1) the globalization of capital, labor, and culture; 2) the rise of a new geopolitical economy described as flexible, knowledge intensive, global, and postfordist; and 3) the revolution in information and communications technology.

5 4. THE NEED FOR NEW URBAN THEORY The postmetropolitan transition poses many challenges to existing urban theories and our established ideas about urbanism, suburbanism, and the nature of the city. New theories are needed to understand the postmetropolitan transition.

6 5. PUTTING SPACE FIRST Spatial thinking and analysis have been at the forefront of making practical and theoretical sense of the restructuring of the modern metropolis. 6. THE SPATIAL TURN Thinking spatially about the city has been stimulated significantly by what some call the spatial turn, the spread of a spatial perspective to almost every field of knowledge.

7 7. THE STIMULUS OF URBAN AGGLOMERATION The leading edge of the new theories of urbanization focus on the generative forces for economic development, technological innovation, and artistic creativity that arise from urban agglomeration and what are now called Jane Jacobs externalities.

8 8. THE NEW REGIONALISM A resurgence of regionalism, the promotion of the regional concept, has accompanied the discovery of the new agglomeration theories, leading to new ideas about regional innovation systems, regional worlds of production, region specific assets, and regional urbanization.

9 9. REGIONAL URBANIZATION Urbanization in the contemporary world is becoming increasingly concentrated in polycentric and highly globalized megacity regions, networked regional cities of more than one million inhabitants. REGIONAL URBANIZATION is replacing METROPOLITAN URBANIZATION as the dominant form of urban expansion.

10  10. THE URBANIZATION OF THE GLOBE/ THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE URBAN Every square inch/centimeter of the world is becoming urbanized, whether in the Amazon rainforest, the Sahara desert, or the Siberian tundra. At the same time, every city is experiencing some degree of globalization, becoming more culturally and economically heterogeneous.

11 FRONTIERS OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AND REGIONAL RESEARCH 1. Regional economies as driving force of global economy and fundamental form of all societies, comparable to markets, government, and kinship. 2. Shift from hard to soft economy, from calculable measures of profit, development, etc. to relational approaches: reflexivity, associations, social capital. 3. Economic theory in crisis—the externalities problem 4. Positive externalities: synekism and the stimulus of urban agglomeration=SPATIAL CAPITAL 5. Negative externalities=SEEKING SPATIAL JUSTICE

12 RETHINKING THE RANDSTAD New regional scales of urbanization The Euro-lowlands conurbation -- Randstad+Antwerp/Brussels+Lille+Ruhr/ Cologne+? --50 million in inhabitants—largest megalopolitan region in Europe --no megacity? Greater Randstad as megacity? --moving east—the Grande Region of Luxembourg or Saarlorluxrhin


14 REDISCOVERING URBAN SPATIAL CAUSALITY JANE JACOBS: WITHOUT CITIES WE WOULD ALL BE POOR… Cities are the mother of economic development, not because people are smarter in cities, but because of the conditions of density. There is a concentration of need in cities, and a greater incentive to address problems in ways that haven’t been addressed before. Without it, we’d all be poor.

15 URBAN SPATIAL CAUSALITY - SUMMARY  Is more than just a statistical fact about the majority of the world’s population  Foregrounds the stimulus of urban agglomeration--as both a positive and negative force  Represents a radical shift in Western social thought  Reflects and builds upon a broader spatial turn  Opens up new and specifically spatial modes of interpreting the world

16 POSITIVE SPILLOVERS Polycentric and Networked city regions are the primary generative force for economic development, technological innovation, and cultural creativity. Taking advantage of this generative force has become the leading edge of planning and public policy. Creative cities, city-marketing and branding, clusters, new industrial spaces, regional innovation systems, learning regions, technopoles, FIRE centers, culture/creative industries.

17 NEGATIVE SPILLOVERS Accelerated environmental degradation and global warming as a product of regional urbanization Increasing economic inequality and/or social polarization—rise of super-rich One billion slum dwellers and the urbanization of poverty and wealth Implicit in earlier ideas: backwash/polarization effects, underdevelopment as process, core-periphery relations

18 SEEKING SPATIAL JUSTICE AND THE RIGHT TO THE CITY “Just as none of us are beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.” (Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism)

19 “Questions of justice cannot be seen independently from the urban condition, not only because most of the world’s population lives in cities, but above all because the city condenses the manifold tensions and contradictions that infuse modern life.” (Erik Swyngedouw, Divided Cities)

20 SOME THOUGHTS ON AMSTERDAM AND SPATIAL JUSTICE Los Angeles and the Bus Riders Union Public transit (and public health and housing) in Amsterdam

21 CONCLUSION The contemporary planning challenge: maximizing the positive effects of synekism and spatial capital, while minimizing socio-spatial injustice and environmental degradation. The contemporary research challenge: Making up for lost time: understanding the new regionalism and the stimulus of urban agglomeration.

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