Cities and Regions in the 21st Century
Chapter 9: Interstitial geographies: the cultural economy of landscape
Just as large metropolitan regions are undergoing far-reaching transformation in this historical moment of capitalism, so, too, are many of the interstitial spaces between them. The spaces that I have in mind here do not concern the endless tracts of industrial agriculture or the desolate wastes that make up much of the earth’s land surface. Rather, my focus in this chapter is on those non-metropolitan areas comprising rural expanses and associated networks of small towns that participate in the new cognitive–cultural economy by means of their specialized forms of agricultural and craft production, their symbolic assets and traditions, and the appeal of their natural landscapes. As such, these areas are articulated with major metropolitan areas around the world both as production locales that export distinctively marked local outputs to urban markets and as places that offer in situ experiences to visitors. Obvious examples abound: specialized agricultural regions like the Napa Valley and Burgundy with their vintage wines; many different parts of France and Italy with their picturesque landscapes and historical scenes; archeological sites all around the shores of the Mediterranean; areas of Botswana, Brazil, and Costa Rica where ecological tourist sites are developing rapidly; and any number of out-of-the-way locations in both the Global North and the Global South where traditional arts and crafts are undergoing commercialization for wider markets.
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