International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities
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International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

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.
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Chapter 37: Suburbanization and Global Cities

Roger Keil


Roger Keil INTRODUCTION Global city formation has been predominantly a narrative of centrality. It is about establishing urban primacy or hegemony at a variety of scales. Most of all, the idea of global cities was originally linked to the notion of globalization as a worldwide process of economic expansion in which cities play a major role as control centers and headquarters locations. In so far as this steering role in the world economy has been linked to the rise of financial capitalism after the 1970s, the focus of global city research has been predominantly on the advanced producer services, often located in the central business districts, that support the burgeoning, fast-changing and pace-setting financial industries at the core of the globalized urban region. Policies of expansion and renewal were recorded as in step with the rising spatial and service appetites of those industries and their highflying white-collar workforce (to the detriment of dramatic social polarization and socioeconomic segregation), leading to gentrification and creating, as Sassen (2000) notes, a ‘narrative of eviction’. The formation of the built and social environment of global urbanity around the financial-producer services complex has itself gone through a series of material restructurings and ideological and discursive shifts. Cities’ push for global relevance has often been accompanied by spectacular urban development through megaprojects and iconic cultural and architectural objects (museums, etc.); more recently the rise of creative class discourse has been used as the hegemonic frame for global city expansion. Whether it is transportation terminals or talent,...

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