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M. Bevolo, G. Richards, L. Marques, K. Mein, A. Pavoni, J. Peck, D. Ponzini, S. Fotev, F. Mavaracchio, A.P. Russo, G. Richards, G. Richards, R. Palmer & W. Schivelbusch

In: The SAGE Handbook of New Urban Studies

Part V: Distinctive and Visible Cities

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Distinctive and Visible Cities

Globalization and rising inter-urban competition has stimulated cities to seek out new strategies for increasing their attractiveness, distinction and visibility. Many cities have sought to do this through improving their physical environment, often with spectacular buildings and architectural masterplans, as described by Ponzini et al. (2016). However, the proliferation of ‘starchitects’ and their iconic buildings underlines the fact that these features are no longer as distinctive as they once were. They also tend to be expensive, and their iconic value often only lasts until another city creates a more interesting icon.

One of the defining characteristics of urban development in recent years has therefore been the search for more flexible strategies that produce rapid economic and political returns. ...

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