Cities: Reimaging the Urban: Reimagining the Urban by Ash Amin, Nigel Thrift

By Ash Amin, Nigel Thrift

This e-book develops a clean and hard standpoint at the urban. Drawing on a large and numerous variety of fabric and texts, it argues that an excessive amount of modern city idea relies on nostalgia for a humane, face-to-face and bounded urban. Amin and Thrift continue that the normal divide among town and the remainder of the realm has been perforated via city encroachment, the thickening of the hyperlinks among the 2, and urbanization as a lifestyle.

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Extra info for Cities: Reimaging the Urban: Reimagining the Urban

Example text

Let us return to the role of cities in the knowledge economy. They are meant to be a place of orientation and vitality for the deracine know­ ledge entrepreneur/worker. Leadbeater, himself a freelance journalist, intellectual and consultant, considers himself lucky to live in London because it is 'where ideas and people circulate at great velocity' (1999: 13). The city is a place for knowing, through its density of knowledge­ able and creative people and its offer of meeting places for such people.

This example is not atypical in the distanciated economy. Increas­ ingly, the role of cities, through the miles of distribution complexes located near major transport nodes, is to keep produce from around the world 'on hold' for customers well beyond the city. These are sites neither of production nor consumption. The rapid rise of such distribution centres in recent years is related to the growth of domin­ ant business corporations, global supply chains, time and cost saving logistics, IT-based management systems, and minimized storage at CITIES AS SITES factories and retail outlets.

They possess the economic power of consumption and circu­ lation. This power is largely neglected in contemporary theorization of urban economic life. As Glaeser, Kolko and Saiz note: [The] basic viewpoint - that cities are good for production and bad for consumption - colors most of urban economics and has influenced most thinking on the future of cities. The critical questions about the future of cities have always been ( 1 ) whether cities can maintain their productive edge in the world of information technology and speedy transportation, 68 CITIES IN A DIST ANCIATED ECONOMY and (2) whether the service industries that currently drive urban employ­ ment will stay in cities or follow manufacturing plants out to the non-city areas.

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