Cities and Regions in the 21st Century
Chapter 10: Cosmopolis
The geographic realities now emerging around us are preeminently – though as we have just seen, not uniquely – constituted by an urban world, one in which some of the more dynamic and diversified forms of economic and social life are concentrated above all in large city-regions. These same city-regions make up the principal nodes of the global networks of spatial flows and interconnections that also typify this world. At the same time, we must not lose sight of the other geometries and topologies that characterize the contemporary condition, and in particular, the different spatial scales at which life is played out, not only at the local level but simultaneously at many more spatially extensive levels as well (Badie 1995; Brenner 2009; Jessop et al. 2008). In recent years there have been calls, notably by Marston et al. (2005), to abandon the notion of scale altogether and to view reality in terms of a “flat ontology” in which the world becomes just a multiplicity of coequal sites of social activity lacking any principle of spatial, juridical or functional ordering. This advocacy has the merit of correcting exaggerated views of the world as being composed of unidirectional top-down hierarchies, as for instance in the bare proposition that the forces of globalization determine the constitution and logic of local economic systems. It posits, instead, a world in which different socio-spatial assemblages interact with one another in complex relationships of antagonism and cooperation, producing “localized expressions of endo-events and exoevents” (Marston et al. 2005, p. 426).
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