A World in Emergence
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A World in Emergence

Cities and Regions in the 21st Century

Allen J. Scott

Beginning with the recent history of capitalism and urbanization and moving into a thorough and complex discussion of the modern city, this book outlines the dynamics of what the author calls the third wave of urbanization, characterized by global capitalism’s increasing turn to forms of production revolving around technology-intensive artifacts, financial services, and creative commodities such as film, music, and fashion. The author explores how this shift toward a cognitive and cultural economy has caused dramatic changes in the modern economic landscape in general and in the form and function of world cities in particular. Armed with cutting-edge research and decades of expertise, Allen J. Scott breaks new ground in identifying and explaining how the cities of the past are being reshaped into a complex system of global economic spaces marked by intense relationships of competition and cooperation.
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Chapter 4: Economic geography and the world system

Allen J. Scott


Space has always represented a barrier to the onward flow of capitalist development, though one whose potency has tended to decline steadily over time. This does not mean that the forces of agglomeration and urban growth are waning – they have, if anything, been reinvigorated by the economic changes of the last few decades – but it does help to explain why individual urban clusters all over the world are increasingly becoming bound up with one another in relationships of trade and social exchange. In addition, as the old fordist regime has waned, and the new economy has advanced, so the world-wide core–periphery spatial order has undergone significant erosion. As the finale of the present chapter will show, these intertwining trends, involving renewed agglomeration, ever-extending spatial interlinkage, and a fading core–periphery system, are manifest in the emergence of a new macro-geography, one of whose most visible components is a far-flung network of global city-regions. The main physical expressions of the new capitalism in general, and the cognitive–cultural economy in particular, are concentrated in these city-regions.

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