Using the concept of 'global cities' as a key context to the discussion, Murray draws our attention to the large metropolises that dominate as economic power bases cities such as New York and Tokyo and then contrasts them with cities that aspire to such 'world-class' status as Johannesburg and So Paulo. While mindful of the historical and socio-political differences between South Africa and Brazil, the author notes the similarities in terms of their global marginalisation as key players, as well as the parallel ways their urban architecture has developed. So Paulo and Johannesburg both share a colonial past, and both became wealthy through exploitation of natural resources (coffee, minerals). Both share the development of an ever-growing chasm between the rich and the poor, reflected in contemporary designs of urban space. Murray takes a sharp, incisive look at the factors which are shaping the spaces in two contemporary cities, and comes up with a pithy commentary which is part architectural critique, part socio-political comment and part post-modern debate.
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