Bagnasco le gales, cities in contemporary europe solano

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Bagnasco le gales, cities in contemporary europe solano

  1. 1. European cities: local societies and collective actors? in Bagnasco A., Le Galès P. (eds), Cities in Contemporary Europe 1Giacomo Solano
  2. 2. 2  Main topics: - the model of European city - City and changes caused by globalization - Cities as local societies and collective actors  Bagnasco and Le Gales start from a neo-Weberian point of view, considering the city as a complete society in the same way as a state (as a local society)Giacomo Solano
  3. 3. The European city 3 In Europe, cities are very important in the history and in the development of the area A model of European city can be defined essentially in contrast to the American city, focusing on 4 aspects:  morphology and age  characteristics of the urban system  political and social structures  state interventionGiacomo Solano
  4. 4. 1 - Morphology and age 4 European cities are built up around a centre which “contains” public buildings, squares and open space etc. High density of construction and of population Stability of the urban system: most cities born in first wave of urbanization (10th- 14th centuries) and their structure remained stable during the centuries major waves of urbanization are similar in Europe (medieval cities, industrial cities and capital cities)Giacomo Solano
  5. 5. 2 - Characteristics of the urban system 5 Very large number of cities Cities are close to one another Prevalence of medium-size townsGiacomo Solano
  6. 6. 3 - Political and social structures 6Giacomo Solano
  7. 7. 4 - State intervention 7 Existence of public services development of infrastructures and of public utilities (water, electricity, transport etc.) are the core of the municipality in Europe Town planning there is the evidence of forms of town-planning in more or less all European countriesGiacomo Solano
  8. 8. Facing globalization/1 8 What’s happened to the city in a time characterized by more mobility and high flows of capitals, information, people etc.? No decreasing of the city’s importance: cities are still and again nationally and internationally actors. The crisis of the state led to a space, to an historical interlude, that seems to bring some political space to cities (cities as social actors).Giacomo Solano
  9. 9. Facing globalization/2 9 So we are in front of two types of processes, acting in the same time (Bagnasco, Le Galés, p. 26):2. Cities and regions are losing their significance, and the ever multiplying flows and networks that run through them make any kind of social coherence or territorial politics illusory3. Emancipation from the state has led to the mobilising of localised political and social energies, thus giving rise to the notion that certain cities and regions can become political and social actorsGiacomo Solano
  10. 10. Conclusions: the end of the European city? 10 The central question is:Giacomo Solano
  11. 11. Conclusions: the end of the European city?/2 11 Opinions and evidences for … YES different modes of urban governance in Europe, facing globalization there is a new urban geography, which cuts across the old division between rich and poor countries, and so the power of cities is no longer related to the importance of the global area where they are located, but the destiny of the city is related to its ability to enter in the transnational circuit of major cities (S. Sassen, Sociology of globalization, 2007)  more similarity among cities in the same position in the new urban geographyGiacomo Solano
  12. 12. Conclusions: the end of the European city?/3 12 Opinions and evidences for… NO "Although profound changes now affecting the physical form and social structure, these transformation do not show a new entity, a new type of city [...], even though we discuss of new phenomena and new urban spatial forms and social structures that city shows [...], however, cities present a substantial and inevitable continuity with its past" (Vicari Haddock, La città contemporanea, Il Mulino, 2004 p. 7) "Still there are obvious indicators of big differences between European cities and big cities elsewhere: the physical structure is distinct as the political system and social coherence as well" (Haussermann, The end of the European city?, 2005 p. 8)Giacomo Solano
  13. 13. Conclusions: the end of the European city?/4 13 Speaking of a European model of city is still correct: when we analyse some important aspects of cities (for example: polarization, urban segregation, forms of “self-segregation” -gated communities-, inequalities etc.) we could find some differences among European cities but we find always more differences between European cities and cities of other continentsGiacomo Solano

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