• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Global Cities and Urban Theory provides an innovative set of approaches to understanding some of the world’s major cities, working with concepts such as smart cities, volumetric urbanism, and critical accounting to illustrate the everyday agents and practices that place cities in the world. Donald McNeill draws on detailed discussions of major cities such as London, San Francisco, Paris and Singapore to provide a deep understanding of how urban theory can be grounded in the cultural economies of urban development. The book: • Reviews the insights of key thinkers such as Bruno Latour, Mike Davis, and Jane M. Jacobs in relation to specific cities. • Highlights methodological and epistemological notes on each theme. • Provides case studies of nine key global cities, examined in the context of specific material and spatial practices. Essential reading for upper level students and researchers across urban studies, urban geography, urban sociology and urban policy.


We can view global cities as being about concentrations of power and influence, that gain their power from their ability to organize distance. They have a certain centrality or capitality in relation to other spatial formations. The purpose of this chapter is to explore how organized religions – their institutions, buildings, leaders, civil services, standards, and practices - have long been a key force in the governing of distance-based communities. This chapter focuses on one particular religion, and one particular branch of Christianity: Roman Catholicism. It does so because for several centuries, this religion has organized itself around a single city, Rome, with a leader, the Pope, that gains legitimacy from its biblical, locational genealogy. It uses this as the basis of both ...

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