The Rise of Cities
Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Other CitiesBook - 2017
In the late 2000s human society entered a new urban epoch in which the majority of human beings live in cities. Whilst the city has historically been viewed as the foundation of democracy and citizenship, the geo-political spaces of modern cities are widely misunderstood despite their key role in shaping contemporary global society. How and why have cities become the command centres of the world economy? Does globalization menace cities as we know them? Are cities able to exercise democratic control and strategic choice when multinational corporate competition increasingly limits the importance of place? The Rise of Cities offers intriguing responses to these questions by analyzing how cities coalesce, develop and thrive, and how they can remake themselves for better for worse.
Examining key issues such as the parasitic relationships cities have with Nature, the webs of trade and immigration they rely on to survive, and the spatial structure of the contemporary metropolis, the contributors develop a startling outline of cities in crisis and demonstrate why the State has failed, and must fail, to end the urban crisis. These themes are explored through a variety of concrete, real-world examples of the challenges of urban politics: metropolitan governance, urban redevelopment policy, housing problems, grass roots activism and urban planning. In the background looms the spectre of neo-liberal globalization, with the development of influential world cities related to the emergence of modern telecommunications, the growth of multinational corporations and the generation of a world economy with an increased movement of cultural symbols and artifacts across national borders.
Dimitri Roussopoulos is a well-known urban activist. He has worked in the field for over thirty years in several different cities, organising grassroots democratic opposition to mega-urban development and the destruction of community spaces. Through his public speaking and prolific writings he has pioneered novel approaches to urban democratization and new definitions of citizenship in the city.