Paradigms for economic governance
How cities grew bigger and better
in Cities and crisis
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Illustrating paradigm shifts relevant to economic governance and cities, this chapter begins with the moral order which dominated Europe until the mid-17th century, continues with the rational paradigm of political systems to promote progress in the 18th and 19th centuries, and concludes with the paradigm of efficiency and prosperity which came in at the turn of the 20th century and became consolidated during and after World War One. Space-time co-ordination of global networks, and electrification, marked the limits to the laissez-faire model which had not been able to eliminate slums or reduce the scale of poverty. Each paradigm was organized around a different set of fears and hopes. Why should we believe that the 20th century paradigm of prosperity – which worked well enough in the post-1945 era – can guide the development of cities in a more inter-dependent world where the rate of environmental, spatial change appears to be accelerating?

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