• 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.


The aim of this book was to bring together the set of literatures linking materiality and practices, with that of the political and cultural economy of global cities. The starting point was that the term ‘global city’ has become something of a fetish, over-determined to the point of being meaningless. I have had considerable sympathy for the motivations behind the ‘ordinary city’ literature and approach, which has become established in the field. However, the problem facing global-cities studies is only partly caused by locational overstretch; as important, I suggest, is that all sorts of city- and world-making practices have to be made banal and everyday. The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that the key global cities of the North, so ...

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