Cities and nation-states in the urban age
Will inter-dependence reshape rules for the twenty-first century?
in Cities and crisis
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Cities and their challenges may reshape national policies and international relations in the 21st century. A new paradigm or policy framework to reduce uncertainty will generate investment and innovation. If managing space better is the key to solving many problems, it also highlights the limits to the macro-economic and sectoral policy frameworks carried over from the 20th century. The advantages of a liberal, inter-connected economy must reinforce the social and environmental conditions of the places where people live, and most people live in cities and urban regions. This means accepting the degree to which modern urban economies are inter-dependent. Reducing uncertainty therefore challenges the assumption that national sovereignty is sufficient to cope with cross-border risks, which could overwhelm the Westphalian principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states. The crisis of 2008 has created more autonomy for cities and regions to take initiative, but some of the most important collective risks require more national leadership and involvement. Greater international co-operation remains possible, but unlikely until after more crises.

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