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London and Shanghai: lass and national wealth differences in urban governance - Essay Example

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“It takes a village”. This term achieved popularity after Hillary Clinton's book on the topic, but the idea also applies to an increasingly popular understanding of governance and consensus-building in politics…
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London and Shanghai: lass and national wealth differences in urban governance
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London and Shanghai: lass and national wealth differences in urban governance

“It takes a village”. This term achieved popularity after Hillary Clinton's book on the topic, but the idea also applies to an increasingly popular understanding of governance and consensus-building in politics.The increasing importance of non-strictly-governmental institutions that nonetheless craft policy and influence policy-making such as the IMF and World Bank might be contributing to this notion. Consider the forces involved in making a decision even for a small municipality. The decision will need to comply with local, provincial or regional, and national or federal laws; it will likely have political lobbies both for and against it by local groups such as grassroots activism groups, PTAs and churches; it will be impacted by tax moneys based on the property values of the area and by local businesses. Increasingly, then, even making small-scale decisions for a medium-sized urban area requires collaboration between dozens of potential stakeholders.Analyzing London and Shanghai show that, while rich cities obviously have strategies and techniques useful to poorer cities as they develop, expand, grow and acquire wealth, poor cities also have developed methods of urban governance that prove useful to bigger cities. Differences Probably the largest, most obvious difference between the two cities in terms of their urban planning and therefore the difficulties to governance is that, while both cities are historical cities that have been consecutively occupied for millennia, their recent industrial development and the positions of their countries are totally different. Shanghai was always industrial, but China was always viewed as an imperial holding (McGill, 2011; Chomsky, 1996). In the European colonization scheme, the only countries that ended up becoming industrial First World powers were the US and Japan, who extricated themselves from that scheme (Chomsky, 1996). China had always occupied a sort of middle-tier status, exploited to some extent and definitely the victim of the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion, but not the same by any stretch of the imagination as Africa or Latin America, a middle-tier status it carried into the Cold War as a Second World power: Like Russia, not faced with abject poverty like the Third World, but was not quite as industrialized or prosperous as the First World. After the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the Asian tigers, China had an explosive growth rate, maintaining GDP growth rates far above the Americans, and even though their current 8% GDP growth goal is probably slightly unrealistic in the recession, certainly they are still performing better in macro-economic terms than even some First World competitors (McIntyre, 2009). Shanghai bears the scars and signs of that growth. Shanghai has always had industrial areas (McGill, 2011). But certainly, the face of the city is changing rapidly, like most of China, in response to the new wave of growth, economic reform and industrialization. Further, unlike London which is an island city, Shanghai has potential room to expand outwards into the rest of a large country. Meanwhile, London is an established industrial megalopolis (Cody, 2010). London was one of the first industrial cities, and one of the engines of the Industrial Revolution. Many of the premier inventors of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century who were creating the new technologies of the Industrial Revolution would set up shop here. Of course, while there was prosperity in this period, there was also misery: One out of every eight Londoners drank themselves to death, and sharp divides in inequality structured the city into slums and rich neighborhoods (Cody, 2010). While the processes of deindustrialization, outsourcing, and the other changes of the last forty years under new economic conditions have certainly changed the city to some extent, London is still a prosperous, First World city. Poverty does remain an issue: Four in ten ... Read More
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