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The role of iconic architecture in globalizing urban megaprojects

Sklair, Leslie (2013) The role of iconic architecture in globalizing urban megaprojects. In: del Cerro Santamaria, Gerardo, (ed.) Urban Megaprojects: a Worldwide View. Research in urban sociology (13). Emerald Group Publishing, Bingley, UK, pp. 161-183. ISBN 9781781905937

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Identification Number: 10.1108/S1047-0042(2013)0000013012


This chapter explores the role of iconic architecture in the development and promotion of urban megaprojects (UMPs) in globalizing cities. Iconic architecture is defined in terms of fame and aesthetic/symbolic significance. The argument is framed within the concept of the culture-ideology of consumerism. While the focus is on two case studies – the grands projets in Paris and UMPs in major Chinese cities since the 1980s – the chapter seeks to demonstrate the increasing importance of iconic architecture for UMPs around the world. The chapter utilizes official sources, scholarly research, and reports in the mass media to support the arguments, all within the context of a theoretical framework developed over the last two decades and widely published by the author, to explain how capitalist globalization works. Within the context of the culture-ideology of consumerism, the widely accepted rationale for capitalist globalization, the production and marketing of what has been increasingly identified as iconic architecture is the main route to achieving the profits – financial, political, and cultural – deemed necessary for the success of UMPs all over the world. The chapter presents the first available analysis of the key role of the transnational capitalist class in the production and marketing of iconic architecture in urban megaprojects, thereby offering a systemic explanation of the growth and characteristics of urban megaprojects in the era of capitalist globalization.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Divisions: Sociology
LSE Human Rights
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2013 16:47
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2024 22:18

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