How the West overcomes crises, reduces risks, and copes with uncertainty
in Cities and crisis
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Paradigm shifts in economic governance have occurred at intervals of a century or more; we may be at a point of transition comparable to that of the early 20th century, a point of conjuncture between short and long term trends. History becomes all the more relevant therefore because there is no living experience of what such a paradigm shift entails. It is part of a process by which crises are resolved when the previous paradigm no longer provides effective or credible solutions. The challenge today, to make cities safer in the 21st century, calls attention to problems which the macro-economic and sectoral policy frameworks of the 20th century are ill-equipped to address. Each paradigm shift in the past was associated with a major increase in the scale of urbanization. This analysis introduces the distinction between meta-regulation, which operates at the level of a paradigm, and regulation in the form of specific roles. Meta-regulation helps to keep the entire system going in reference to basic values, defined in terms of society’s deepest hopes and fears.

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