• 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.

Models, Experts and Consultants

This chapter deals with how economic practices are engaged in ‘world-making’ with specific reference to cities. It ties in with an important ‘performative turn’ that has taken place in understanding economies, inspired by the likes of Michel Callon, Donald MacKenzie and other economic sociologists. In an influential book, MacKenzie (2006) argues that economics is ‘an active force transforming its environment, not a camera passively recording it’. Rather than viewing it as a ‘pure’ science with a closed and unassailable episteme, economic knowledge is understood more specifically as ‘the economic techniques, models and calculations embedded in the wider world of business, finance, consulting, policy and regulation’ (Christophers 2014: 81).

Much of this work has sought to define the formulation, transmission and consumption ...

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