Saskia Sassen “Whose City Is It? Globalization and the Formation of New Claims”

The way in which cities are ‘claimed” has shifted over the years as a result of globalization. As the globalized world becomes smaller, cities become multicultural as the globalization process opens cities up to new and varied groups. With major advancements in telecommunications and technology and a shift to services, cities have globalized and have become the major service centers for international finance, investment and headquarters. Sassan argues that  global cities have become strategic production sites for the major economic sectors from all nations. As cities become transnational, so too do the inhabitants. An influx in Immigration to globalized cities has created a densely populated, multicultural city center.

The city dynamics, including the way in which people are linked to space and how they occupy it, has changed. As cities globalize, so do the links and interactions with the larger community; the global community. Time and distance to communicate is shrinking. Also diminishing is the notion of singular national identities in favor of a transnational community identify. Transnational communities are connecting a vast majority of the world to one another.   

As the economy becomes globalized, Sassen argues that place no longer matters but instead what matters is the worker transmitting information globally and the infrastructure required to do become a global entity. A new form of agglomeration is born out of the geographic dispersal facilitated by telecommunication advancements. The increase in transnational servicing networks has brought lesser developed cities such as Buenos Aires, Taipei and Mexico City, into the global economic class with Tokyo, London, New York, Paris and  Hong Kong. These newer global cities become disconnected from their home regions and instead develop relations with other members of the growing transnational economy, resulting in a demographic shift toward more women, specifically African Americans and immigrants, joining the transnational urban workforce.

As the growing transnational economy raises the profile of these less developed countries it has also lowered the profile of former major metropolitan business sectors and well developed countries. Increased immigration as result of globalization has created multicultural cities. The dominant culture, represented by the corporate power elite, still identifies these differences in ethnicity as  “otherness”. The members of the growing international professional class, the “others”, are marginalized as low wage, manual and service workers. These areas then become areas of marginality with inited resources where low skilled workers, earn low income. The devalorization of the marginalized group and the overvalorization of cooperate powerful perpetuate class differences and further disenfranchise large segments of society, creating conflict who in turn practice urban political violence to have their voices heard.

Less control by the government of these globalize our cities has brought into question the capacity of both public and private sector to maintain these processes including location, resources and telecommunication infrastructure. This raises the notion of the declining significant of the state as we see an increase in the significance of transnational politics. The financial, investment and service sectors are claiming cities and the way in which they are utilized as well as the way in which they progress or decline. The new city landscape is becoming an international business sector where the “others” struggle to reap the benefits (if any) from the globalized economy. What will a transnational world look like? Will one day every nation be a “melting pot” managed by the business sector? Will corporate politics overtly run the state political systems?

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