Handbook of Urban Geography
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Handbook of Urban Geography

Edited by Tim Schwanen and Ronald van Kempen

This collection brings together the latest thinking in urban geography. It provides a comprehensive overview of topical issues and draws on experiences from across the world. Chapters have been prepared by leading researchers in the field and cover themes as diverse as urban economies, inequalities and diversity, conflicts and politics, ecology and sustainability, and information technologies. The Handbook offers a valuable resource for students and researchers interested in cities and the urban in geography and across the wider social sciences.
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Chapter 2: Worlding cities and comparative urbanism

Laura Cesafsky and Kate Derickson


We have reached, as we are often reminded, a geographic tipping point in which the majority of people live in cities for the first time in human history. How is urban theory coming to terms with this new, apparently ‘global’ urban condition? Some have argued the new ‘urban age’ is an expression of ‘planetary urbanization’, or the ‘complete urbanization of society’ that Henri Lefebvre predicted in the 1970s. For yet other urbanists, the political possibilities of city life lie not at the cosmic scale of the planetary but in embodied and everyday practices of urban social reproduction and livelihood strategies. After a brief review of the literature, we show how comparative urbanism and worlding cities, as postcolonial approaches, seek to side-step totalizing narratives of universal capitalist globalization by deploying ethnographic and collaborative methods to generate alternative 'transurban' threads and solidarities that do – or potentially could – hold disparate urban worlds together.

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