Elgar original reference
Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox
Chapter 1: Introduction: A Relational Urban Studies
Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox Although changing centuries is a purely arbitrary temporal event – it all depends on when you start counting the years – our recent entry into the twenty-first century does coincide with societal recognition of some quite momentous alterations in the condition of, and prospects for, humanity. Critical concerns for climatic change, mega-urbanization, delinquent banks, dwindling energy sources, religious nihilism, anti-social globalization, population growth and/or decline, increasing environmental disasters and new imperialist geopolitics have all come to the fore to jostle for a place on twenty-first century worldwide policy agendas. These are all massive issues that intersect with on-going vital interests within a humanity divided by (in alphabetical order) belief systems, citizenship status, class, ethnicity, gender, nation, race and sexuality. This International Handbook deals with the interface of two of the critical concerns – urbanization and globalization – through which elements of the vital interests will be addressed. In focusing on globalization and world cities we take a specific approach to urbanization. By treating cities at a global scale we privilege the ‘stretching’ of their functions beyond their specific place locations. As such we are part of a recent tendency to foreground the role of ‘relations’ in social research; our relational geographies pivot on cities. Given the scale of their relations we can reasonably refer to them as world cities. As nodes within myriad worldwide networks, these cities may be interpreted as a special spatial organization, the geographical frame of contemporary globalization. In the relational...