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

By Ash Amin, Nigel Thrift

This ebook develops a clean and tough viewpoint at the urban. Drawing on a large and various diversity of fabric and texts, it argues that an excessive amount of modern city concept relies on nostalgia for a humane, face-to-face and bounded urban. Amin and Thrift hold that the normal divide among the town and the remainder of the area has been perforated via city encroachment, the thickening of the hyperlinks among the 2, and urbanization as a life-style.

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

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What evidence is there to show that firms locate in cities for export orientation or enhanced competitiveness? Do firms depend primarily on local linkage for competitive advantage? The evidence skates on thin ice. Krugman himself is careful to note the limits of how far international competitiveness can be claimed from eo-location in cities. He observes, for example, that even in a global powerhouse such as Los Angeles, the bulk of employment is unexcep­ tional, concentrated in 'non-base' activities such as goods and services provided for local consumption, with the export base confined to just a few industries.

Critics of equilibrium economics such as Albert Hirschman, Nicholar Kaldor, Fran<_;:ois Perroux and Gunnar Myrdal asserted that agglomeration in cities offered firms increasing re­ turns to scale linked to market size, as well as new business opportunit­ ies associated with growing urban density and specialization. In turn, agglomeration was said to help firms to enhance economic performance by reducing transport and transaction costs and making available varied specialized skills, inputs, services and know-how.

Against the hyperbole, however, we would highlight the enduring demand for standardized and tangible goods; the danger of confusing the digitization of communica­ tions with the dematerialization of economic transactions (at the end of the wire lie tangible people and tangible goods and services); the persist­ ence in many occupations (such as teaching, public services) of careers and work-based ideologies; the continuation of values of public service, admittedly with an extra dose of entrepreneurialism and increased job mobility; and the continuing value of an older grounded know-how- for instance, in retail and distribution, the care sectors, production and per­ sonal services, and in servicing the knowledge economy itself (see Amin, Massey and Thrift 2000).

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