Table of Contents

International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

Elgar original reference

Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox

This Handbook offers an unrivalled overview of current research into how globalization is affecting the external relations and internal structures of major cities in the world.

Chapter 9: Spatial Transformations of Cities: Global City-region? Mega-city Region?

Kathy Pain

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


Kathy Pain INTRODUCTION By the turn of the twenty-first century, many of the world’s cities were caught up in major economic and social transformation. The 1980s and 1990s informational revolution has facilitated global connectivity on an unprecedented scale compared with previous periods of international economic relations. Ongoing developments in information and communications technologies (ICTs) since the mid 1970s are continuing to upgrade the intensity and speed of communications and transactions between cities across the world. Alongside these dramatic changes, the emergence of a distinctive, enlarged, urban functional space has been observed in a number of world locations. This has been described by Allen Scott as a ‘global city-region’ (2001a, 2001b) and subsequently by Peter Hall and Kathy Pain (2006) as a global ‘mega-city region’. Both these concepts have attracted major policy attention in Europe, North America and East Asia, where city governments are recognizing that something unprecedented is happening around their major urban concentrations. Globalizing cities are spilling over their metropolitan boundaries, creating challenges for their planning, management and governance. Manuel Castells has gone so far as to proclaim that these changes are making ‘the category (“the City”) .  .  . theoretically and practically obsolete’ (Castells, 1998, p. 1). Ed Soja has referred to this ‘transition if not transformation taking place’ as ‘Postmetropolis’ (2000, p. xiii). New theorization can help inform understanding of what is going on, what processes are involved and the practical implications for governance, but empirical research in Western Europe has shown that we need to be careful about using...

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