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Functional integration, political conflict and muddled metropolitanism in the London region: 1850–2016

Gordon, Ian R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2170-8193 (2016) Functional integration, political conflict and muddled metropolitanism in the London region: 1850–2016. In: Cole, Alistair and Payre, Renaud, (eds.) Cities as Political Objects. Cities series. Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 31-55. ISBN 9781784719890

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Identification Number: 10.4337/9781784719906.00011


London still is a somewhat ‘unique city’, as Rasmussen (1937) claimed, in several ways that impact on its capacity for self-governance. Notable among these is its international orientation – both historically as the power centre of a great trading and colonial empire, and, more recently, as the most globalised of financial centres – placing powerful demands (beyond those of its citizenry) on its ordering and development. And yet, the organic character of its evolution, which is what particularly struck Rasmussen, might also make it the epitome of a post-industrial metropolis, unique in its early experience of dilemmas that all large and complex city-regions will come to face, if not to resolve. From a French perspective, at least, this kind of development – ‘more by fortune than design’ in Hebbert’s phrase (1998) – might be seen as simply reflecting a particular British cultural bias in favour of ‘muddling through’ rather than harnessing state power to a rational ordering of this complexity. There is a flavour of this in applause for Rasmussen’s suggestion that ‘London had benefited from fragmentation, checks and balances in its system of governance’, which resisted modernist ‘clean sweep’ planning and thus preserved a variety in the city’s urban fabric that came to be widely valued (Hebbert, 1998, 203).

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Editors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2017 12:12
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2024 21:09

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