Contentious Global Issues
Edited by H. S. Geyer
Chapter 1: Approaches to Urban Policymaking: A Framework
B.J.L. Berry Prologue The world reached a milestone in 2006 when the United Nations formally acknowledged that more than three billion people, half the global population, lived in urban areas. Yet another burst of technological innovation is not only producing greater transnational global interdependence and extraordinary immediacy of interchange, it is both propelling and is propelled by unparalleled ﬂows of capital and labour. Capital moves with lightning speed to take advantage of earnings opportunities, promoting both seedbeds of innovation and the relocation of routinized activities to low-wage areas. Movements of people are channelled from rural to urban areas within the least developed countries, transnationally towards the major urban centres of the most developed nations, and within developed nations, where there is no longer any discernible urban–rural divide, from traditional urban cores into former small-town and rural peripheries.1 Global interdependence and the new scale of city-systems raise fundamental questions about the role of national urban policy. It has been said that policy without implementation is hallucination (to which the extensive discursive urban policy literature bears witness). For there to be eﬀective implementation there must be closure between means and ends. Increased global interdependence means that the possibility of achieving such closure at the national level has vanished, and what is left for any distinctively ‘urban’ policy are the traditional place-based domains of public service delivery and city and regional planning, especially land use regulation and design. As more parts of the globe become completely urbanized every national policy becomes...
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