A Merger That Puts New York on Top
• The issue in America Online’s decision to buy time Warner is whether New York, will dominate the
new American global information economy.
• Its success will depend on how its West Coast rivals – Southern California, the Bay Area and Redmond,
Washington – respond to the merger of the world’s leading Internet company with the leading media-
• The merger position AOL Time Warner to lead efforts to reverse the erosion of New York City’s
position as cultural and economic center of the world’s most influential nation, which resulted from
rapid economic growth in the Sunbelt and the advent of cable television, personal computers and the
• Throughout U.S. history, New York has faced challenges to its status as the national metropole.
• In early 19th-century New Orleans was considered a serious challenger to become the commercial
center of the nation.
• New York had two advantages: Location of its ports and its growing capital markets.
• In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the discovery of electricity and the invention of the telephone,
motion pictures, wireless radio and television ensured New York’s economic hegemony.
• New York’s most remarkable qualities has been its ability to capture economic gains from commercial
developments that began in other regions.
• Consider: The location advantages that allowed New York to dominate U.S. trade with the rest of the
world have disappeared. The monopoly that the big three New York TV networks enjoyed has been
shattered. The historic dependence of new entrepreneurs and emerging economic sectors on New
York financing has been reduced.
• Unless the great Pacific metropolitan regions overcome their rivalries and develop a common vision, it
will be a matter of time before New York will end the debate about which city will emerge as the
“capital of the next American century.”
World Capitals of the
Rome vs. Gotham
• We have seen the rapid rise of dynamic new global cities, and the decline of many others.
• A majority of the world’s population now living in cities, their new wealth will shape this first truly urban century.
• Economic fundamentals is the main reason that some smaller cities are gaining on some of the leading global centers.
• Emerging world cities have survived the housing crisis much better that their national competitors.
• High-rise office buildings have emerged as the biggest signs of the new order among global cities.
• Boomtowns give shorter shrift to the environment, and the more important aspects of community.
• Chinese, Arabs and Russians are not new to city-building. If they decide to build their new cities, they will be providing the blueprints for
all of our urban futures.
• The economic disasters in New York and other cities have proved a boon for Washington.
• Wall Street’s demise has been D.C.’s gain as the financial power leave New York for the Treasury.
• The shift my spread beyond the financial sector.
• European cities and localities have less control over their destiny than in the U.S.
• Europe’s legacy of urban privilege has ebbed before the increasing power of the national capitals.
• American urban growth came primarily as a result of ruthless schemes and lofty aspirations, of local political and business leaders.
• The First World War, the Depression and the Second World War each boosted Washington’s status but hardly into the first rankof cities.
• In the 1960s, Washington emerged as a traditional national capital, with a large permanent population of well-educated and cultured
citizens as well as a robust economy based on the defense industry and the expanding welfare state.
• Obama and a Democratic majority are determined to expand federal mandates into every crevice of community life.
• Industrial cities may find new environmental restrictions on ports and other key infrastructures an impediment to a much-needed
• Ceding the power of urban planning to Washington will cripple the American city – except for the one that reigns as locale for imperial
America Compared – Conquering and Settling the West
• Karaganda, with its gridded composure and easy repetition of residential units looks as though
you landed in the American mid-west.
• What made Karaganda feel like Billings, Montana was the divisibility and hierarchy of space,
the abrupt fortress-like partition of urban from agricultural territory.
• Karaganda is a city erected in the midst of a labor camp, a city where children planting trees
come across human bones.
• Billings was founded by railroad entrepreneurs, farmers, miners, and businessmen on the
• The grid is not a novelty; it has been used as an architectural model for centuries.
• The American West represents the last, inexhaustible frontier of American individualism.
• Northern Kazakhstan conjures an image similar to Siberia; a place of unfreedom, exile, and
imprisonment, a place people was sent against their will.
• With the threat of the Cold War faded, there is more room to question whether knowledge
itself has not been gridded into neat polarities, communist and democratic.
• Historians and politicians in both countries have focused on the differences between Soviet
communism and American capitalism and ignored the parallels produced by the industrial-
capital expansions of the twentieth century.
• There were no cities in northern Kazakhstan or the Great Plains before the steam engine and
• Montana and Kazakhstan could support urban populations by means of technologies such as
railroad networks to move people and goods, steam-powered engines, irrigation systems, the
telegraph and telephone.
• In both places, the rush for land, water, minerals, and cash crops displaced the indigenous
• The difference between Kazakhstan and Montana is free will, to be held in a place by decree is
different than to be held, or propelled, by debt.
• The Russian-Germans that came here to the U.S. can without assets or cash. They immigrated
to the Great Plains to become part of the sugar-beet labor force.
• A major difference between the deportees to Kazakhstan and the homesteaders of Montana is
memory. The pioneers are lionized as men and women who with courage and the sweat of
their brow remade the West. The deportees are memorialized as victims of a heartless,
America Compared – Immigrants and Cities
The Great Atlantic Migrations
• Between 1870 and 1914, over 23 million foreigners arrived in the United States.
• Frank Thistlethwaite wrote that migration can be seen as the “central theme for a history
of the American people.”
• Serfdom and institutions hostile to migration had ended, institutions helpful to migration
and to economic development such as free labor, secure private property, and sources of
credit had risen.
• A jump in migration leaped after 1870 when steamships replaced sailing ships.
• Emigrants, heard from relatives and former neighbors living in the New World of
• Chain or “serial” migration was common and natural.
• The pervasive motive for migration was economic improvement rather than religion,
politics, or persecution.
• Repatriation – returning home after a season, a year, or a few years – was also a long-
established pattern for many Europeans.
• The most striking feature of the migration to the U.S. is the great size, more than six
times the number who went to the second-place receiver, Argentina.
• Migration to the U.S. came from more places than did migration to Argentina, Brazil, or
• The differed from other New World receivers…. large area of cheap, accessible land
governed by laws that encouraged smallholding.
• By 1914, it became the New World receiver of urban-industrial, labor-seeking migrants.
• Serial and chain migration played a role in directing specific people to specific places.
• The economic attractions of the United States was real.
• Racist ideas about Anglo-Saxon, Aryan, and Teutonic superiority over Slavic and
Mediterranean peoples infected the thinking of many native white Americans.
• World War I put a temporary stop to transatlantic migration, and although it resumed for
a few years after the Armistice, the 1920s restriction laws and the 1930s Great
Depression ended it permanently.
• The European migrants were a lower-middle class, whether white collar or blue collar.
They fit into American society very well, since most of the native-born were similarly
America Compared – Immigrants and Cities
The City in the Land of the Dollar
• Modern urban life imposes a sameness upon the human environment that has
reduced the differences between nations.
• In many ways twentieth-century American urbanism got its start from Chicago.
• Skyscrapers were invented and given its definitive architectural form.
• Amsterdam was shaped by the Dutch Golden Age or Manchester by the British
Industrial Revolution, Chicago was formed by the commercial and industrial
expansion of the late nineteenth century.
• The Chicago fire provided a blank slate for land developers, builders, and
• Low-paid factory workers lived in tenements in industrial neighborhoods close
to their place of employment, but skilled craftsmen and white-collar workers
could live in residential neighborhoods where the fire codes did not apply.
• Chicago was the fastest-growing city in the world.
• It was an unprecedented urban phenomenon that would not be duplicated
until the growth of Third World cities in the second half of the twentieth
• The Columbian Exposition was a combination of naturalistic and formal
landscaping combined with grand public buildings.
• The White City offered Americans a new urban model just when one was
• “City Beautiful” was a slogan used for an urban improvement campaign in
• Because of City Beautiful activists, American cities started to look at themselves
• Burnham wrote, “We have found that those cities which retain their dominion
over the imaginations of mankind achieve that result through the harmony and
beauty of their civic works.”
• Commercial towers were symbols of the entrepreneurial American city.
• The clash between horizontal ideals and vertical aspirations is dramatically
illustrated in the evolution of North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
• “North Michigan’s transformation would see the construction of some of
Chicago’s most significant individual works of architecture, yet at the same time
this would result in a highly inconsistent pattern of urban design,” John
• In the Land for the Dollar, Burham’s vision of civic harmony was given short
shrift; the city profitable replaced the city beautiful.
Global Cities – Beyond City
• Cities rather than states are becoming the islands of governance on which the future world order
will be built.
• Time, technology, and population growth have accelerated the new urbanized era.
• A new category of megacities is emerging around the world.
• Defining feature of the new urban age will be megalopolises whose populations are measured in
the tens of millions, with jagged skylines.
• A look back at ancient cities of Cairo and Hangzhou were the centers of global activity, expanding
their influence outward in a borderless world.
• Cities are the real magnets of economics, the innovators of politics, and the drivers of diplomacy.
• Western cities have dominated the leading urban centers since the Industrial Revolution.
• Asia-Pacific financial hubs such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, and Tokyo are leveraging
globalization to spur an accelerating Asianization.
• The shift towards new regional centers of gravity are port cities, “free zones” where products are
efficiently re-exported without the hassles of government red tape.
• For the emerging hubs, modernization does not equal Westernization.
• The Qatari capital of Doha, has become a global melting pot with
residents from more that 150 countries, they far outnumber the locals.
• Megacities, superpopulous urban zones that are worlds unto themselves
but still punch below their weight class economically.
• The millions of urban squatters pouring into the megacities are often
form functional, self-organizing ecosystems that are “off the grid.”
• Economic inequality flourishes in these new urban clusters.
• Sovereignty is eroding and shifting, cities are now competing for global
influence alongside states.
• As our world order is built on cities and their economies rather that
nations and their armies, the United Nations becomes more inadequate
as a symbol of universal membership in our global polity.
• Urban ambition ranges from new business districts to special economic
zones to entirely new cities never before on the map.
• “Charter Cities” aim to help poor countries leapfrog into the urban age
by embracing an idea like charter schools.
• From climate change to poverty and inequality, cities are the problem –
and the solution.
Global Cities – Urban Legends
• The old suburban neighborhoods, with single family homes, is increasingly
• We are heading toward heavier reliance on public transportation, greater
density, and less personal space.
• Megacities call “commanding heights” will occupy global economy, specializing in
high-end “producer services” – advertising, law, accounting – for worldwide
• Not all global cities are equal.
• Third World megacities have a challenge with feeding their people, getting them
to and from work, and maintaining minimum health level.
• The new age of the megacity might well be an era of unparalleled human
congestion and gross inequality.
• Culture, media, and other “creative” industries, as important as they are, does
not spark an economy on their own.
• Throughout history urban development, the size of the city roughly correlated
with its wealth.
• The goal of urban planners should not be to fulfill their own grandiose visions of
megacities on a hill, but to meet the needs of the people living in them,
particularly those people suffering from overcrowding, environmental misery,
and social inequality.