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Globalization’s New Urban Form?

Edited by John Harrison and Michael Hoyler

By critically assessing the opportunities and challenges posed by planning and governing at the megaregional scale, this innovative book examines the latest conceptualizations of trans-metropolitan landscapes. In doing so, it seeks to uncover whether megaregions are a meaningful new spatial framework for the analysis of cities in globalization. Situated within the broader contours of global urban analysis, the book draws together a range of thought-provoking contributions from scholars engaged in the study of trans-metropolitan regions. It thereby provides multiple paths of access for those wishing to familiarize themselves with this topical area of global urban studies.
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Chapter 3: Megaregions and the urban question: the new strategic terrain for US urban competitiveness

David Wachsmuth


We live, so the refrain goes, in an era of global urbanization where new-urban forms and new economic processes intermingle in complex and-perhaps unprecedented ways. As Taylor and Lang (2004) argue, urban-studies confronts the ‘shock of the new’. Indeed, Taylor and Lang offer a-helpful starting point for evaluating the question of what would it mean,-in an era of global urbanization, for megaregions-to be globalization’s new-urban form. They provide a list of 100 concepts describing recent urban-change, which, they point out, was by no means exhaustive when it was-compiled. It is difficult to imagine that in the decade that has passed since-its release this figure will not, at a minimum, have doubled. Of the 50 concepts-Taylor and Lang single out as describing new intercity relations, 48-include some variant of ‘global’, ‘world’, ‘international’, ‘transnational’ or-‘planetary’. In other words, if megaregions-are indeed globalization’s new-urban form, they have plenty of company in that role. The connection between urban form and economic process is of course-not a new scholarly concern. Since Manuel Castells (1977) first posed the-‘urban question’ four decades ago, critical urban studies have debated the-relationship between processes of capitalist accumulation and governance-and the production of urban space. Accordingly in this chapter I wish to-draw on some old insights to advance some new claims about contemporary-urbanization processes.

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