A World in Emergence

A World in Emergence

Cities and Regions in the 21st Century

Allen J. Scott

Beginning with the recent history of capitalism and urbanization and moving into a thorough and complex discussion of the modern city, this book outlines the dynamics of what the author calls the third wave of urbanization, characterized by global capitalism’s increasing turn to forms of production revolving around technology-intensive artifacts, financial services, and creative commodities such as film, music, and fashion. The author explores how this shift toward a cognitive and cultural economy has caused dramatic changes in the modern economic landscape in general and in the form and function of world cities in particular. Armed with cutting-edge research and decades of expertise, Allen J. Scott breaks new ground in identifying and explaining how the cities of the past are being reshaped into a complex system of global economic spaces marked by intense relationships of competition and cooperation.

Chapter 5: Emerging cities of the third wave

Allen J. Scott

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban economics, geography, cities, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, cities, urban economics, urban studies


Earlier chapters of the book have laid out an argument to the effect that a very special episode of capitalist development and urbanization started to emerge some time in the early 1980s. This episode can be described in terms of an initial postfordist phase that subsequently evolved into a more expansive system of cognitive–cultural capitalism representing a major developmental edge in the contemporary world economy. The still-unfolding spatial system that is coming into being as all of this occurs can in large part be described in terms of an assertive mosaic of great city-regions that have made their appearance, unequally but definitely, in countries at many different levels of average income. These city-regions are intrinsically intertwined with complex globalization processes that bind them ever more tightly together as mutually-dependent nodes in an international network of social and economic relationships. As this global amalgam of city-regions comes to the fore, so a reorganization of older national urban hierarchies into a more integrated international system is steadily coming about. A selected set of these city-regions forms the vanguard of what I call here the “third wave” of urbanization.

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