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The Prospect of Cities

2002
Author:

John Friedmann

The Prospect of Cities

A major figure offers a sweeping evaluation of the place of the city in the global future

In essays as engaging as they are informative, John Friedmann, a leading figure in urban planning and geography, broadly surveys the complex terrain of global urbanization. Unique in its scope and its prospective view of city-regions as substantially autonomous “quasi city-states,” this book offers an unprecedented look at the global urban future, focusing on models of development, transnational migration, citizenship, representation, and the good city as a utopian construct.

Friedmann’s vision is bold; he always treats planning expansively and globally. His project is nothing less than a utopia of the possible that gazes outward from the governance and conditions of city-regions and inward to everyday life. More a scholar than a practioner or activist, John Friedmann is a major figure in late-20th-century planning. Friedmann has made a place for himself in the intellectual history of city and regional planning. To remain unexposed to his ideas is to be ignorant of many of the core arguments that have shaped planning thought and practice over the last 50 years. And while this book can serve as an introduction to the breadth of his writings, it cannot fully convey its depth. For that, one must read more widely through his life in planning.

Journal of the American Planning Association

In essays as engaging as they are informative, a leading figure in urban planning and geography broadly surveys the complex terrain of global urbanization. Unique in its scope and its prospective view of city-regions as substantially autonomous "quasi city-states," this book offers an unprecedented look at the global urban future, focusing on models of development, transnational migration, citizenship, representation, and the good city as a utopian construct.

Beginning with an overview of global urbanization patterns—particularly the entropic forces that exacerbate poverty, increase violence, and discourage democratic life in peripheral areas—The Prospect of Cities goes on to address specific contemporary issues. These range in subject and scale from the impact of transnational migration on global cities whose populations are at least 30 percent of foreign origin to the critical importance of everyday life, as it is experienced on the streets and in neighborhoods, for a full understanding of urban planning. The final chapter traces the author’s evolution as one of the world’s foremost theorists of city-regional development and planning, deepening the perspective mapped out over the course of the volume and providing new insight into the study of the urban landscape in a global environment.

Whether arguing for a new approach to sustainable development, finding the moral focus of nonterritorial citizenship, or mounting a spirited, pragmatic defense of utopian thinking in urban planning, John Friedmann offers an informed, workable, and hopeful prospect for the cities of our time and of the future.

The Prospect of Cities

John Friedmann is professor emeritus of the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the founding chair of the Department of Urban Planning. He is also an honorary professor at the University of British Columbia. His recent books include Empowerment: The Politics of Alternative Development (1992) and, as coeditor, Cities for Citizens: Planning and the Rise of Civil Society in a Global Age (1998).

The Prospect of Cities

Friedmann’s vision is bold; he always treats planning expansively and globally. His project is nothing less than a utopia of the possible that gazes outward from the governance and conditions of city-regions and inward to everyday life. More a scholar than a practioner or activist, John Friedmann is a major figure in late-20th-century planning. Friedmann has made a place for himself in the intellectual history of city and regional planning. To remain unexposed to his ideas is to be ignorant of many of the core arguments that have shaped planning thought and practice over the last 50 years. And while this book can serve as an introduction to the breadth of his writings, it cannot fully convey its depth. For that, one must read more widely through his life in planning.

Journal of the American Planning Association

John Friedmann has been a prolific—and profound—author during his more than fifty-year career as a teacher, scholar, and advisor. This current volume serves as an admirable summation of his scholarly journey to date. The book makes contributions both to the theory of urban development and to planning theory. It is a highly readable and concise overview of his current thinking on a number of important issues. A provocative, enjoyable, and insightful read.

Journal of Planning Education and Research

John Friedmann broadly surveys the complex terrain of global urbanization, focusing on models of development, transnational migration, citizenship, representation, and the good city as a utopian construct.

Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society

The Prospect of Cities

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Urban Futures as Ideology

1. The Prospect of Cities
2. City Marketing and Quasi City-States: Two Models of Urban Development
3. Transnational Migration: Spaces of Incorporation
4. Citizenship: Statist, Cosmopolitan, Insurgent
5. The City of Everyday Life: Knowledge/Power and the Problem of Representation
6. The Good City: In Defense of Utopian Thinking
7. A Life in Planning

Notes
Bibliography

Index