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The Making of Global Cities, 2008-2009

Burgeoning mega-cities across the global South are striving to become global cities, attempting to join the ranks of such places as Tokyo, New York, London, and more recently Hong Kong and Singapore. The collaborative on the Making of Global Cities will bring together scholars from the global South and North to investigate the processes that have facilitated the transfer of global North models of urban transformations across cities in the global South; the social, political, and ecological consequences and limits of such models; and alternative development models, experimentations, and innovations emerging from within global South metropolises. Our goal is not only to encourage rigorous interdisciplinary research on select mega-cities in the global South, but also to develop an agenda for conducting comparative research across cities, focusing on the transnational processes that link these cities. More generally, we seek to catalyze a new way of conducting research that brings together scholars from diverse disciplines and geographical and backgrounds. In doing so, we hope to establish a new theoretical and methodological agenda that de-centers the study and analysis of global urbanism from the global North.

What are the economic, political and social processes that are shaping how mega-cities of the global South are being transformed, as they seek to become global cities? What are the implications of these changes for addressing important social issues such as expanding slums, insecure land rights, unequal access to public goods (such as water or health care), and environmental problems? What alternative theories and practices of development are emerging in the global South that could foster more socially and ecologically sustainable cities?

Conveners: Michael Goldman (Sociology, CLA), Helga Leitner (Geography, CLA), Eric Sheppard (Geography, CLA), Ragui Assaad (Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs), and Joe Allen (Asian Languages and Literatures, CLA).

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