? Urban Groundshifts I: A new global order, a new economy
? Urban Groundshifts II: A new society, a new personal life
? Urban Groundshifts III: An urban species
In World Risk Society, Ulrich Beck (1999, 2) argues that “a new kind of economy, a new kind of global order, a new kind of society and a new kind of personal life are coming into being, all of which differ from earlier phases of social development.” Given the breadth, depth and speed of these interconnected transformations, it is tempting to think that we are living through an era of unprecedented change. And yet noted writer Henry Mintzberg once wryly observed that it is the great conceit of people in every era to believe that they are living through times of chaos and flux, the likes of which have never been experienced before(!)
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
(1) What is ‘globalisation’? What do we mean when we say that contemporary globalisation is multidimensional?
(2) Why is globalisation occurring? Does contemporary globalisation represent a novel condition? (3) Ulrick Beck (1999), in World Risk Society, has described contemporary globalisation as “organised irresponsibility.” In which ways is globalisation “organised”? In which ways is it “irresponsible”?
(4) What is a ‘knowledge-based economy’?
(5) One of the fundamental trends in the economy over recent decades has been the accelerating rate of innovation and change. The transition towards a global economy is often cited as a key reason for this trend. Why is this? Can you explain the link between the two?
(6) Many of the innovations and innovative companies that have profoundly shaped our lives in recent years have emanated from the brains, creativity and passion of young people. (Consider for instance, that the founders of Microsoft, Apple, Netscape, Google and eBay were all either teenagers or twenty somethings.) Indeed, David Forrest (2001) has gone so far as to describe the 1990’s internet and e-commerce revolution as “a generational experiment in changing the world.”4 Why is it, do you think, that young people have become key consumers and producers in the knowledge-based creative economy? What are the implications of this trend for communities aiming to prosper in the global knowledge-based era?
1) Sandercock (1998) identifies three major socio-cultural trends reshaping societies and cities. What are these? Can you identify ways that these factors are changing cities and city policy making?
(2) Fred Block (in O’Donnell and Hancock, 2000, 13) argues that in the post-war decades, most Australians adhered to what has been described as a ‘linear life course’. What exactly is a ‘linear life course’? Why do you think there was so much uniformity around the ‘linear life course’ during this era?
(3) Social researchers have highlighted the shift from linear to ‘individualised’ and ‘de-traditionalised’ life courses. What do they mean by this?
(1) We examined many interconnected economic, demographic and socio-cultural changes that are transforming the world. Reflecting on these changes, do you think that we are living through an era of unprecedented change, or would this just be generational conceit (Mintzberg)?
(2) Occurring alongside these changes (and closely linked with them), we have become an urban species. Given the scale and velocity of current urbanisation, we face profound challenges in trying to create urban places that are sustainable and that offer life chances. And yet Saunders (2010) and Glaeser (2011) view this urbanisation favourably. Why is this?
(3) What are some of the key challenges facing cities and city policy makers as a consequence of the economic, demographic and socio-cultural changes explored? What are some of the key challenges highlighted in Beatley’s (2004)?
REFERENCES MUST BE USED:
1. Giddens, A. (1999), ‘Runaway World Lecture One: Globalisation’. British Broadcasting Commission 1999 Reith Lectures Transcript
2. Leadbeater, C. (1999), Living on Thin Air. Viking, London (p. 37-52)
3. Florida, R. (2002), The Rise of the Creative Class. Basic Books, New York (p. 4-12, 15)
4. United Nations Development Programme (2009), Human Development Report 2009: Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development. UNDP, New York (p. 1-5)
5. Sandercock, L. (2003), Cosmopolis II. Mongrel Cities of the 21st Century. Continuum, London (p. 1-2, 4)
6. Sandercock, L. (1998), Towards Cosmopolis. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester (p. 14-20)
7. Giddens, A. (1999), ‘Runaway World Lecture Four: Family’. British Broadcasting Commission 1999 Reith Lectures Transcript
8. Saunders, D. (2010), Arrival City. How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping our World. Allen and Unwin, Crows Nest (p. 12-27)
9. Glaeser, E. (2011), Triumph of the City. Macmillan, London (p. 1, 247-249)
10. Beatley, T. (2004), Native to Nowhere. Sustaining Community in a Global Age. Island Press, Washington, DC (p. 1-24)