The Globalized City: Economic Restructuring and Social Polarization in European Cities

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Frank Moulaert, Arantxa Rodriguez, Erik Swyngedouw
OUP Oxford, Mar 27, 2003 - Social Science - 302 pages
This book explores the dynamics that have accompanied the implementation of large-scale Urban Development Projects (UDPs) in nine European cities within the European Union (EU). It contributes to the analysis of the relationship between urban restructuring and social exclusion/integration in the context of the emergence of the European-wide 'new' regimes of urban governance. These regimes reflect the reawakening of neo-liberal policy and the rise of a New Urban Policy favouring private investments and deregulation of property and labour markets. The selected UDPs further reflect global pressures and changing systems of local, regional, and/or national regulation and governance. These projects, while being decidedly local, capture global trends and new national and local policies as they are expressed in particular institutional forms and strategic practices. The large scale urban interventions were deliberately chosen as reflections of a particular hegemonic and dominant expression of urban policy, as pursued during the 1990s. The book provides a panoramic view of urban change in some of Europe's greatest cities. The nine case-studies include: The Europeanization of Brussels, The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, the new financial district in Dublin, the science-university-technology complex 'Adlershof' in Berlin, the 1998 World Expo in Lisbon, Athens's bid to stage the Olympic Games, Vienna's Donau City, Copenhagen's Oresund project, and Naples' new business district. These case-studies testify to the unshakable belief the city elites hold in the healing effects that the production of new urban mega-projects and -events has on their city's vitality and development potential. The book also analyses the down side of this development in terms of social exclusion, the formation of new urban elites, and the consolidation of less democratic forms of urban governance. The principal aim is to show how the production of these new urban spaces is actually also part of the production of a new polity, a new economy, and new forms of living urban life that are not very promising for a socially harmonious and just future for metropolitan urban Europe.

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