Earlier chapters of the book have laid out an argument to the effect that a very special episode of capitalist development and urbanization started to emerge some time in the early 1980s. This episode can be described in terms of an initial postfordist phase that subsequently evolved into a more expansive system of cognitive–cultural capitalism representing a major developmental edge in the contemporary world economy. The still-unfolding spatial system that is coming into being as all of this occurs can in large part be described in terms of an assertive mosaic of great city-regions that have made their appearance, unequally but definitely, in countries at many different levels of average income. These city-regions are intrinsically intertwined with complex globalization processes that bind them ever more tightly together as mutually-dependent nodes in an international network of social and economic relationships. As this global amalgam of city-regions comes to the fore, so a reorganization of older national urban hierarchies into a more integrated international system is steadily coming about. A selected set of these city-regions forms the vanguard of what I call here the “third wave” of urbanization.
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