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Working Capital: life and labour in contemporary London

Nick Buck, Ian Gordon, Peter Hall, Michael Harloe, Mark Kleinman
Routledge (24 October 2002)

The turn of the century has seen a fundamental change in attitudes to major cities, heralding the arrival of a new urban era. For decades the cities of the developed world were seen as problem-beset relics from times of low mobility and slow communications. But now, their potential to sustain creativity, culture and innovation is perceived as crucial to success in a much more competitive global economy. The vital requirement to secure and sustain this success is argued to be the achievement of social cohesion, presenting a more positive reason to address some old urban problems, of poverty, crime and quality of life.

This book provides a rigorous but accessible analysis of these key issues, taking London as its text case. London is the most internationalised and deregulated of all major cities, but also exhibits both a sharp economic turnaround and increasingly concentrated deprivation since the 1980s.

Working Capital provides the first substantial analysis of key economic, social and structural issues, that the new London administration needs to deal with. In a wider context, its critical assessment of the bases of the new urbanism and the global city thesis will raise questions both about the adequacy of urban thinking and about the capacity of new institutions alone to resolve the fundamental problems faced by cities.

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