Globalization’s New Urban Form?

Edited by John Harrison and Michael Hoyler

By critically assessing the opportunities and challenges posed by planning and governing at the megaregional scale, this innovative book examines the latest conceptualizations of trans-metropolitan landscapes. In doing so, it seeks to uncover whether megaregions are a meaningful new spatial framework for the analysis of cities in globalization. Situated within the broader contours of global urban analysis, the book draws together a range of thought-provoking contributions from scholars engaged in the study of trans-metropolitan regions. It thereby provides multiple paths of access for those wishing to familiarize themselves with this topical area of global urban studies.

Chapter 10: Megaregions reconsidered: urban futures and the future of the urban

John Harrison and Michael Hoyler

Subjects: geography, cities, human geography, urban and regional studies, cities, regional studies, urban studies


We live in a world of competing urban, regional and other spatial imaginaries. This book’s chief concern has been with one such spatial imaginary – the megaregion. More particularly, its theme has been the assertion that the megaregion constitutes globalization’s new urban form. Yet, what is clear is that the intellectual and practical literatures underpinning the megaregion thesis are not internally coherent and this is the cause of considerable confusion over the precise role of megaregions in globalization. This book has offered one solution through its focus on the who, how and why of megaregions much more than the what and where of megaregions. In short, moving the debate forward from questions of definition, identification and delimitation to questions of agency (who or what is constructing megaregions), process (how are megaregions being constructed), and specific interests (why are megaregions being constructed) is the contribution of this book. The individual chapters have interrogated many of the claims and counter-claims made about megaregions through examples as diverse as California, the US Great Lakes, Texas and the Gulf Coast, Greater Paris, Northern England, Northern Europe, and China’s Pearl River Delta. But, as with any such volume, our approach has offered up as many new questions as it has provided answers. In this concluding chapter, we identify some of these questions as part of an ongoing reconsideration of megaregions and reformulation of a programme of research for those of us interested in megaregions and global urban studies more broadly.

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