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Cities in Relations: Trajectories of Urban Development in Hanoi and Ouagadougou

ISBN: 978-1-118-63277-2
232 pages
March 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Cities in Relations: Trajectories of Urban Development in Hanoi and Ouagadougou (111863277X) cover image


Cities in Relations advances a novel way of thinking about urban transformation by focusing on transnational relations in the least developed countries.

  • Examines the last 20 years of urban development in Hanoi, Vietnam, and in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
  • Considers the ways in which a city’s relationships with other places influences its urban development
  • Provides fresh ideas for comparative urban studies that move beyond discussions of economic and policy factors
  • Offers a clear and concise narrative accompanied by more than 45 photos and maps
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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

List of Tables x

Acronyms xi

Series Editors’ Preface xiii

Preface and Acknowledgements xiv

1 Comparing Cities in Relations 1

Relating Hanoi, Ouagadougou … and Palermo 4

A Brief Introduction to Two Distant Cousins 5

World-city Research Beyond the West 9

Relational Geographies 12

Comparing Cities 17

The Structure of the Book 26

2 Trajectories of Urban Change in Two Ordinary Cities 31

Regime Change in Hanoi and Ouagadougou 33

Forms of Relatedness 42

Conclusion 55

3 Transnational Policy Relations 60

Mobile Planners and City Networks 63

Concrete and Paper in Hanoi’s Urban Development 64

Ouagadougou’s Competing Worlds of Policy Relations 76

Conclusion 87

4 Public Space Policies on the Move 92

A Repertoire of Translocal Connections 94

Public Space: Understandings, Practices and Things 97

Translocal Connections and Public Space Policy in the Making 103

The Politics of Translocal Connections 108

Traveling Participation and Public Space Design 110

Conclusion 116

5 Connecting to Circuits of Architectural Design 120

Stretched Geographies of Design 121

Circuits of Architectural Design in Hanoi and Ouagadougou 123

Hanoi: Design Spaces of an Emerging Economy 125

Ouagadougou: Architectures of Development 131

Grounding Design 136

Conclusion: Transnational Learning Processes and “Banal” Nationalism 140

6 On Road Interchanges and Shopping Malls: What Traveling Types Do 145

Modernization as Morality and Power 147

Modernization Through Ouagadougou’s Built Environment 150

Staging New Social Identities in Hanoi’s Shopping Malls 159

Conclusion 166

Conclusion: For a Politics of Urban Relatedness 171

Comparing Processes, Worlds of Relations, and Relational Effects 172

The Evolving Relational Worlds of Cities 175

An Assets-based Politics of Relatedness 178

References 181

Index 196

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Author Information

Ola Söderström is Professor of Social and Cultural Geography at the Institute of Geography, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He has published extensively on urban material culture, visual thinking in urban planning, and urban globalization. His current research focuses on a comparative ethnography of contemporary urban ways of life. He is the co-author of Urban Cosmographies (2009) and the co-editor of Critical Mobilities (2013) and Re-shaping Cities: How Global Mobility Transforms Architecture and Urban Form (2010).

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“This would be especially valuable in continuing the study of urban developments in the post-communist environment.”  (Geographica Helvetica, 1 May 2015)

Cities in Relations is a book of immense methodological and political importance. At a time when neoliberalism and globalization are thought to shape much of urban life, Ola Söderström offers a more imaginative way to grasp what is distinctive about worldly cities. The book is an invitation to urban studies to think again about the bases for comparison in a world where cities beyond the West have to negotiate different ways of being global.’
John Allen, Professor of Economic Geography, The Open University, UK

'The idea that urbanism is relational is by now taken for granted, but what is far less common are detailed accounts of the forms, politics and implications of relationality, especially for cities too often neglected in urban theory. Through detailed and nuanced discussion of two quite different contexts – Hanoi and Ouagadougou - Söderström’s rigorous and lively book provides an insightful investigation of the variegated and increasingly translocal politics of urban development, and offers important contributions to debates on both relational and comparative urbanism.’ 
Colin McFarlane, Reader in Human Geography, Durham University, UK

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