Constructing metropolitan space: Actors, policies and processes of rescaling in world metropolises, by Jill Simone Gross, Enrico Gualini, and Lin Ye (eds.), London and New York: Routledge.
Reviewed by: Yimin Zhao, Renmin University of China
Neoliberalism has completely reshaped our cities and their governance, both in the global north and south. With upward and downward forces, we are presented a new scalar pattern where the significance of the nation scale is decreased while regions at supra- and sub-national levels become more critical. In this process, cities and their governance are influenced together by global forces and increasing local/ regional autonomy. Geographically, the emergence of political and economic issues beyond the city scale/ boundary induce more attention paid to metropolitan development and governance. This is the context where this book has been focusing on and trying to further investigate with cases from eight “metropolitan” areas in both the north and the south. Instead of delving into the geographical inquiry of scale theories per se, this book shifts the focus to the policy processes that are at the core of urban politics and governance yet “require political action beyond the urban scale” (p.214). The contributors make it clear that the metropolitan region/ scale is not a consolidated policy object. Instead, it is a dynamic and ongoing arena that enables contestations and cooperation at both institutional and strategic fronts. By utilizing theoretical resources from geography and related disciplines, this book highlights the spatial dimensions and dynamics of urban policies for a more in-depth analysis of the overall policy process. This book presents an insightful analytical framework together with a rich set of empirical case studies on metropolitan/ regional scales. Moving back and forth between the local mechanisms and global forces, the book shows vividly how and how far the changing global and local political economy have been spatially manifested through new configurations of governance and regulation, where both the (central and local) state and the private sector has their own, and often contested, roles.
The full book review will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs.
The reviewer may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.