Daniel P. O'Donoghue
Definitions of urban entities and urban typologies are changing constantly to reflect the growing physical extent of cities and their hinterlands. These include suburbs, sprawl, edge cities, gated communities, conurbations and networks of places and such transformations cause conflict between central and peripheral areas at a range of spatial scales. This book explores the role of cities, their influence and the transformations they have undertaken in the recent past. Ways in which cities regenerate, how plans change, how they are governed and how they react to the economic realities of the day are all explored. Concepts such as polycentricity are explored to highlight the fact that cities are part of wider regions and the study of urban geography in the future needs to be cognisant of changing relationships within and between cities.
Bringing together studies from around the world at different scales, from small town to megacity, this volume captures a snapshot of some of the changes in city centres, suburbs, and the wider urban region. In doing so, it provides a deeper understanding of the evolving form and function of cities and their associated peripheral regions as well as their impact on modern twenty-first century landscapes.
- Introduction: Urban Transformations: Centres, Peripheries and Systems
Daniel P. O’Donoghue
- 1. The anatomy of urban sprawl in the Mediterranean region: case of the Girona districts, 1979-2006
- 2. Urban regeneration in Porto: reflections on a fragmented sub-regional space, without institutional powers and ‘lost’ between central government and local authorities
- 3. Consumption of advanced internet services in urban areas: a case study of Madrid
Rubén Camilo Lois-González, Francisco José Armas-Quinta and José Carlos Macía-Arce
- 4. Housing market dynamics in a peripheral region: the Atlantic Urban Axis in Galicia, Spain: 2001-2010
Alejandro López-González and Maria-José Piñeira-Mantiñán
- 5. Viability of flagship projects as models of urban regeneration: the representation of space through the discourse of the actors
Jose Ignacio Vila Vazquez
- 6. Creativity beyond large metropolitan areas: challenges for intermediate cities in a globalized economy
- 7. Is Pennine England becoming more polycentric or more centripetal? An analysis of commuting flows in a transforming industrial region, 1981-2001
Tony Champion and Mike Coombes
- 8. Riots by a growing social periphery? Interpreting the 2011 urban riots in England
Wayne K.D. Davies
- 9. In the shadow of a giant: core-peripheral contrasts in South East England
Daniel P. O’Donoghue
- 10. The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel: regional development perspectives
Christian Wichmann Matthiessen
- 11. Vertical extension processes and urban restructuring in Sydney, Australia
- 12. Inner-city social gentrification in Tokyo: the problem of childcare
Mikoto Kukimoto, Ryo Koizumi, Tomoko Kubo, Hiroyasu Nishiyama and Taro Kawaguchi
- 13. Power nodes: downtowns in the periphery? A case study, Toronto, Canada
- 14. Just ‘dumb and boring’ or ‘over’? Lifecycle-trajectories, the credit crunch and the challenge of suburban regeneration in the US
- 15. Urban transformation for sustainability and social justice in urban peripheries: new forms of urban segregation in post-apartheid cities
- 16. Recent morphological trends in metropolitan South Africa
H.S. Geyer, H.S. Geyer Jr, D.J. du Plessis and A. van Eeden
- 17. Metropolitan transformation and polycentric structure in Mexico City: identification of urban sub-centres, 1989-2005
Adrián Guillermo Aguilar and Josefina Hernández-Lozano
- 18. Delhi and its peripheral región: perspectives on settlement growth
Debnath Mookherjee, H.S. Geyer and Eugene Hoerauf
This book contains a number of discrete chapters based on ongoing research by members of the International Geographical Union (IGU) Urban Commission. One of the key aims of the IGU Urban Commission is to draw together urban researchers from around the world to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise from particular world regions. The authors in the book reflect the diverse international membership of the Urban Commission as does the range of countries and regions which are the focus of the research. This book not only reflects the important role of cities around the world but also identifies a huge variety of urban issues with which researchers engage. every four years the Commissions of the igU are requested to submit applications to continue their mandate. These applications are then considered by the igU every four years at the international geographical Congress. at the 2008 Congress in Tunis the Urban Commission was given a mandate to explore “emerging Urban Transformations” following on from their previous mandate to “Monitor the Cities of Tomorrow”. Each Urban Commission meeting has its own identity and a specific focus or theme. The theme of the Canterbury meeting of 2011 was “cores and peripheries”, which could be interpreted in a very wide sense – thus the diversity of chapters included in this volume. during the meetings there were a number of field excursions that explored the nearby global city of London as well as some more remote smaller peripheral centres within the south east region. The mandate given by the igU to the Urban Commission for 2008–2012, the long term history of the Urban Commission, and its focus on urban systems that date back to its inaugural meeting in 1976 in Leningrad, each contributed to the conception of the book.
The title reflects the conflicts within urban geography between central and peripheral areas at a range of spatial scales. As we discover within the book definitions and interpretations of what constitutes “urban” are constantly evolving. Urban entities and urban typologies are changing constantly to reflect the growing physical extent of cities and their hinterlands, which may or may not include suburbs, sprawl, ex-urbia, edge cities, gated communities, conurbations and networks of places. There is much debate over the precise nature of places and the terminology used, and this is reflected throughout the book in different spatial, historical and conceptual contexts. internally, cities are regenerating physically, socially and economically each of which has related impacts at various distances from the city and across regional, national and global spaces and networks. This book hopes to capture a snapshot of some of the changes in central cities, suburbs, and the wider urban regions around the world so that students of the subject get a real exposure to, and understanding of, the evolving form and function of cities and their associated peripheral regions as well as their impact on modern twenty-first century landscapes. Chapters explore case studies from a range of countries including Spain, Portugal, France, UK, Denmark, Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, South Africa, Mexico and India.
When the mandate for the 2008–2012 Commission was being adopted and prepared in 2007 few of us envisaged the far reaching consequences of the “credit crunch” or the “global economic crisis” that were almost upon us. One would like to think we were a rather prescient group of urbanists when we decided upon “emerging Urban Transformations” as our mantra for the forthcoming years, but while very appropriate i can assure you we did not have a crystal ball. Despite the lack of a crystal ball we knew, as all geographers do, that the world is in constant flux. As most of the world’s population now live in cities we also knew that there would be continuous and incremental changes in those cities. Changes in their form, changes in their functions, and changes in their relationships with each other were all to be expected. however, we did not foresee either the spatial extent or depth of the changes that would follow the events of late 2007 and early 2008. We were not just entering a period of economic uncertainty, but one of the deepest and most prolonged and turbulent periods of economic uncertainty the modern world has ever known. In some senses, we were like accidental tourists who had suddenly arrived in a new place or paradigm, but like all good tourists we had our cameras at the ready to record the changes taking place. Urban geographers face a series of challenges with new and surprising opportunities for research into topics and places that only a year or two before were unthinkable. There was now the chance to explore cities and urban change in a period of rapid economic and social change with changes that could no longer be described as incremental. The Urban Commission’s mandate to explore “emerging Urban Transformations” retrospectively seems not just timely and appropriate, but ideal. The book is divided into four sections each with a strong link to a particular world region, but also with links to particular aspects of the changes taking place in our cities on a global scale.
One theme that seems to emerge in a number of chapters is that of “resilience”. While only one chapter (Chapter 14) makes explicit reference to this term, many other chapters explore this concept more implicitly. The idea of resilience is particularly relevant when one considers the way in which urban places respond to external shocks. In many senses all of the chapter are concerned with the way in which various cities, regions and systems perform in the face of problems they have experienced during the current economic meltdown. In a sense, the individual chapters taken as a collective, highlight the resilience of cities. The processes of urban change are a response to the pressures placed on cities and their systems. it is clear not all places respond similarly to external stimuli. due to different circumstances different locations perform differently, each depending upon the complex interaction of global, national and local forces for change. a key component of these variances is the level of development found in particular locations. Both absolute and relative differences in development between places at both continental and global scales helps structure the book into four sections.
It is not the purpose of this book to come up with all the answers. However, a likely reason for most urban geographers conducting their research is that it may help improve “urban areas” for their populations. To do so authors hope that some of their material holds policy relevance and that lessons may be learned from various models of governance. it is impossible to say without more detailed research on each of these topics what policies should be put in place or how they should be implemented. Therefore the chapters of the book should be seen as beacons whose intent is to highlight specific problems in specific places thus raising awareness of urban change, problems, processes and the potential for policy intervention. in that light the book explores urban problems whose policy response needs to be made across the spectrum of spatial constructs. Issues, problems and processes are identified for particular neighbourhoods (Chapter 12), particular cities (Chapters 2, 4, 8, 11, 13), particular city-regions (Chapters 9, 14, 17, 18), particular regions (Chapters 1, 3, 7), particular countries (15, 16), and across more than one country (5, 6, 10). In each case there will be no global solutions, but the concept of subsidiarity should certainly be applied, whereby the appropriate policy responses are made at the appropriate scale.
The very fact that one might organize the chapters according to scale, as in the previous paragraph, raises questions surrounding the organization of this book. A number of reviewers have suggested a variety of approaches, all valid. This is always going to be a problem for a book of this nature. What is the best way to organize a series of individually written case studies into a coherent collective? Should one organize the book according to the scale of analysis or sets of distinctive processes or themes? i believe the answer is one of preference rather than correctness, one of interpretation rather than precision, and one of outlook rather than of result. given the nature of the varied chapters, each exploring differing locations, utilizing differing scales and methods of analysis, identifying differing processes, with differing and often distinctive outcomes, based upon differing policies and forms of governance, across differing levels of development to try and utilize any one of these dimensions as an organizing principle seems rather odd to me. While some might see the choice as arbitrary and recognizing that whatever organizing principle i utilize will leave me open to criticism, i am happy to pin my colours to the regional mast. The book is therefore organized according to the geographical location from which the case studies are derived. in doing so i argue there can be no other way to organize the book, otherwise one might falsely fall under the impression that this book had some other intention than that of providing a range of case studies to highlight the variety and diversity of urban research around the world today. It really does not make a difference in what order you read these chapters, each stands on its own and tells an interesting story about a particular city, or network of cities.
The first section explores urban change on the Iberian Peninsula. This reflects both the strong representation within the Urban Commission from this region but also the great changes that have been taking place in this region in the recent past. since accession to the european Union in 1986 spain and Portugal have undergone profound changes. as these countries consolidated their democracies and opened up to the rest of europe there was a rapid inflow of funding from Europe as well as an inflow of people; both as tourists and migrants. The rapid economic advancement upon joining the eU, particularly in the spanish case, led to rapid urban investment and growth. Urban sprawl literally exploded as did property markets. Both the urban centres and peripheries were transforming at an amazing pace as these countries sought to “catch up” with the rest of europe. older centres were rejuvenated and massive projects ensued to regenerate older city centres. The new urban fabric and associated infrastructural change, both physical and technical, meant that cities in this region could now compete with other european centres for investment. however, much of this very rapid revitalization and growth was based on borrowing that often ignored underlying structural problems with their economies. Portugal and spain have been propelled into the group of southern european nations referred to as PIGS (an acronym for the countries of Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) with shared economic problems. The investment has dried up, many projects have been halted and potential economic collapse appeared imminent. by 2013 the worst case scenarios seem to have been avoided. it is within this context that this section explores some examples of how recent economic changes have transformed the urban spaces of the iberian peninsula.
Chapters 1 and 4 highlight the huge urban growth that took place in Spain. Chapter 1 highlights the weaknesses in the planning regime that permitted such growth to occur in the Girona districts of Catalunya, while Chapter 4 highlights how Galician housing markets behaved before and after the economic crisis. Chapters 2 and 5 explore regeneration in cities, the former with a particular emphasis on the role of governance in Porto while the latter focuses on the role of flagships projects, actors and the discourse of regeneration. Chapter 3 focuses on the differential engagement with internet technologies in madrid while Chapter 6 explores the potential of intermediate sized cities for the creative industries.
it is not just the more peripheral regions of europe that have suffered since 2008. This economic crisis has struck right at the heart of the core regions of Europe. This next section examines examples from Northwest Europe with three chapters based on the UK (Chapters 7, 8 and 9) and one on Denmark (Chapter 10). Even within the core, regional inequalities have always been a topic of interest, but these have often been explored at a macro-scale, e.g. the north-south divide in the UK. it is important as geographers that we can recognize and explore inequalities and change at a variety of scales. The three chapters dealing with the UK each explore spatial variations at different scales. Chapter 7 explores the way in which large cities in northern england are connected and evolving in such a way as to question whether they are merging into one large polycentric mega-city region. This concept of polycentricity, whose definition is somewhat fluid, crops up and is debated in a number of other chapters. Chapter 9 explores the lopsided relationship between london as a global city and its surrounding urban system, or Polycentric Urban Region (PUR). Chapter 8 explores the events of August 2011 in London. It is suggested that growing inequalities and financial hardships faced by many, as austerity programmes introduced by governments to combat debt take hold, means that sometimes critical thresholds are reached and cities may tip over into violence. The london riots of 2011 are the focus of this chapter. Chapter 10 explores how regional inequalities and peripherality might be overcome in Denmark through supranational cooperation and the development of huge infrastructural mega-projects. large scale projects of this nature can have profound and almost immediate effects on cities and their residents.
The third section of the book explores a range of urban issues in other core economies outside Europe. The physical appearance of the built environment of our cities and suburbs across the world has been transformed in recent years with the advent of ever taller and denser downtown areas, ever bigger and more specialized retail developments, ever more sprawling suburbia and ever more busy workers. Drawing on examples from australia, Japan, Canada and the United states it is possible to see the transformation of downtown districts in cities such as Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto as well as the suburbs of North America. The impact of particular economic sectors such as finance and its role in the reproduction of urban space is explored in Chapter 11. The work-life balance of people, and families in particular, and the provision of social spaces and services is explored in the context of Tokyo in Chapter 12. The out of town shopping expansion begun in the United states in the 1950s seems to be reaching its culmination in the early 21st Century and this phenomena and its spatial impacts are explored in Canada’s most populous city, Toronto (Chapter 13). Chapter 14 highlights the social and economic costs of a suburban financial crisis as the issue of property foreclosure is explored in the suburban California setting of Stockton. The direct consequence of the credit crunch and global economic crisis can be clearly seen and the resilience concept is explicitly explored.
The final section of the book visits places that are considered normally to be part of the global periphery. While no longer necessarily considered to be developing countries (due to their economic growth and increasing importance) they are still not seen as core countries, and thus offer a glimpse of very different problems, pressures and processes of change. Examples are drawn from South Africa (Chapters 15, 16), Mexico (Chapter 17) and India (Chapter18). In the case of the latter two examples the cities researched are far larger than most of the examples used from the core countries (Tokyo being the exception in this instance). As such these cities are representative of urban transformations at a global scale as the cities of the developing/peripheral economies overtake those of the developed world in population and scale. The cities of the global periphery share many of the same problems that cities face everywhere. however, the uncontrolled nature and speed of growth in many of these cities has meant the scope and range of problems they face are often quite specific but would challenge even the most advanced countries in the world. In addition, some of the changes are also quite unintended (Chapter 15). In very large cities such as Mexico City and Delhi whole new networks are emerging that require further exploration. Issues of migration are very important and understanding how the whole system of places functions is important if one is to recognize and act on specific problems in specific locations. Questions over inequality and justice in cities are paramount, not just in places with particular historical circumstances, but throughout the urbanized world, especially at a time when there seems to be a widening gap between the “haves” and “have nots” which calls into question the sustainability of cities globally.
The diversity of urban research should be apparent upon reading this book, but more importantly for students of urban geography is the appreciation of how similar processes operating at a range of spatial scales can have both similar and varied outcomes based on the particular characteristics of place. different policy responses will have different outcomes around the world but ultimately all of our cities face similar sets of problems, be they social, economic or institutional. I hope you find something that interests you.
Daniel P. O'Donoghue