Cities are seen as essentially “good”: innovative, pro-growth, poverty-reducing. This book argues that the same urban properties which make cities so extraordinarily proficient at producing the “good” innovations – agglomeration economies, network externalities and a massive built environment – also provides fertile ground for the development of the “bad” ones, on which urban elites have syphoned off wealth from other localities and regions.
The book scrutinizes the interconnections between wealth creation and poverty generation by putting cities centre stage as a fundamental explanatory category for understanding how the wealth of nations is produced as well as for grasping how the poverty of nations is created. It seeks to correct the developmentalist enthusiasm, commonplace in urban and regional studies, for cities’ efficiency, which has displaced interest in cities’ role in uneven development.
Christof Parnreiter is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Hamburg and an Associate Director of the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. His books include Global City Makers (2018) (with Michael Hoyler and Allan Watson).