“Cities are the spaces in which the global economy finds its raison d’être, and global politics finds its crises and new expression. Cities are the confluence of technological, material, monetary, and migratory flows. Above all, they are the manifestation of the new society, of innovation, and of the concretization of heretofore unknown possibilities for humanity.”
We wrote this in the call for papers that became the basis for this issue of Glocalism and for the many, wide-ranging contributions we have received and published, and we believe that it reflects the importance, as well as the complexity and evolving dynamics of the role global cities play in the present-day context.
On the one hand, papers such as the one written by Neil Brenner and Roger Keil provide a rich and broad overview of how the outlook on global or globalizing cities is evolving; on the other, contributions such as Saskia Sassen’s provide a focus on specific topics, such as that which considers “the large complex city, especially if global, as a new frontier zone.” After all, the international dimension clearly had erected frontier zones through borders, whereas glocalization is erecting them within social fabrics and global functions, and the dimension of the global city is becoming a space of frontiers, both economic and political.
We believe this is a key facet of the relationship between urbanization and glocalization. The frontiers between local and global must be rethought within a complex and transversal system of relations. And it is in light of this perspective that Peter Taylor and Ben Derudder return to the topic of connectivity and its role in the city’s complex networks and functions.
The evolving dynamics of the urban reality raise the question: How can politics consequently evolve at an adequate speed? For example, the city of Milan is already addressing this topic. Therefore, we thought it would be useful to discuss global cities also with reference to a city like Milan (and not just in the Focus section), which is comprehensively dealing with the challenges of its metropolitan transformation. This issue can indeed help us understand how the town-planning culture of yesteryear is no longer of assistance in dealing with contemporary challenges, and it pinpoints the analytical orientations that can emerge today from a reflection on the city.
Chairman, Globus et Locus
Editor-in-Chief of “Glocalism”