The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

1968  Large
Using the concept of 'global cities' as a key context to the discussion, Murray draws our attention to the large metropolises that dominate as economic power bases cities such as New York and Tokyo and then contrasts them with cities that aspire to such 'world-class' status as Johannesburg and So Paulo. While mindful of the historical and socio-political differences between South Africa and Brazil, the author notes the similarities in terms of their global marginalisation as key players, as well as the parallel ways their urban architecture has developed. So Paulo and Johannesburg both share a colonial past, and both became wealthy through exploitation of natural resources (coffee, minerals). Both share the development of an ever-growing chasm between the rich and the poor, reflected in contemporary designs of urban space. Murray takes a sharp, incisive look at the factors which are shaping the spaces in two contemporary cities, and comes up with a pithy commentary which is part architectural critique, part socio-political comment and part post-modern debate.

Product information

Format : 148mm x 210mm
Pages : 68
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2072-9 (D&G 5)
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2072-0
Publish Year : 2004

Martin J Murray is Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York in Binghamton. He is the author of numerous books, including

The development of capitalism in colonial Indochina (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 1980), South Africa: time of agony, time of destiny (London and New York: Verso 1987), and Revolution deferred: the painful birth of post-apartheid South Africa (London and New York: Verso 1995). He is currently interested in questions of urban space, including modernist (and post-modernist) city building, the contradictory impulses of real estate capitalism, the exclusionary effects of bunker architecture, and place making as boundary marking.
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