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This interdisciplinary text examines the contemporary nature and possible futures of cities in a postindustrial and globalized world. Cities are considered both as complex systems and as the product of collective human action. The theoretical perspectives of urban history, geography and sociology, and empirical studies from the developed, developing and former soviet systems, are brought together to describe the crucial processes of the restructuring of urban employment, the creation of the built environment and the transformation of "culture" in cities.
DAVID BYRNE is Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Durham. He has worked both as an academic and in community research and his main intellectual interest is in the development of complexity theory as a method of understanding the social world in order to change it.