Cityness (Saskia Sassen)

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Introduction, From Sound to Waves to Territories


by Saskia Sassen, Centennial Visiting Professor, LSE and Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago:

“Urban agglomerations are very often seen as lacking the  features, quality and sense of what we think of as cities. Yet, urbanity is perhaps too charged a term, charged with a Western sense of cosmopolitanism of what public space is or should be. …

The same thing applies to this question of cityness as a way to capture forms of urbanity that do not necessarily correspond to our more Westernised eye, who knows what morphing is going on, even in these very rigid structures. …

Partly this is an empirical question but, coming back to this notion of stripping urbanity from its Western richness and trying to use cityness as a tool to detect urbanities that may be constituted in very different ways, I would say that one issue that cuts across all of this is if the gaps between the differences, between component parts that belong to slightly different worlds, if those gaps cross certain thresholds, to what extent do we actually lose the possibility of cityness?”


Download the pdf Cityness in the urban age (Urban Age project, LSE and the Alfred Herrhausen Society) from here

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