The issue of capital city relocation is a topic of debate for more than forty countries across the world. In this first book to discuss the issue, Vadim Rossman offers an in-depth analysis of the subject, highlighting the global trends and the key factors that motivate different countries to consider such projects, analyzing the outcomes and drawing lessons from recent capital city transfers worldwide for governments and policy-makers.
Capital Cities studies the approaches and the methodologies that inform such decisions and debates. Special attention is given to the study of the universal patterns of relocation and patterns specific to particular continents and mega-regions and particular political regimes. The study emphasizes the role of capital city transfers in the context of nation- and state-building and offers a new framework for thinking about capital cities, identifying six strategies that drive these decisions, representing the economic, political, geographic, cultural and security considerations.
Confronting the popular hyper-critical attitudes towards new designed capital cities, Vadim Rossman shows the complex motives that underlie the proposals and the important role that new capitals might play in conflict resolution in the context of ethnic, religious and regional rivalries and federalist transformations of the state, and is seeking to identify the success and failure factors and more efficient implementation strategies. Drawing upon the insights from spatial economics, comparative federalist studies, urban planning and architectural criticism, the book also traces the evolution of the concept of the capital city, showing that the design, iconography and the location of the capital city play a critical role in the success and the viability of the state.
A most impressive global history of capital city relocations.
Göran Therborn, University of Cambridge
A remarkable book that is both encyclopedic and expansive in ambition. By bringing together the history of dozens of capital cities in one place, Rossman offers a kaleidoscopic look at one of the core phenomena of urban life: the political capital. More than chronicling a number of separate stories disconnected by time and place, Rossman weaves together a single narrative that importantly offers several lessons. He goes beyond merely telling his story but tries to develop a framework for understanding the extent to which a new capital is a "success" or a "failure". At a time when regimes often consider moving their capital Rossman’s superb volume is an excellent reminder that such transfers are normal events.
Blair Ruble, Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Urban Sustainability Laboratory
Rossman has written an indispensable book on the timeless question of the correlation between power and space, particularly as evident in capital cities. With remarkable acuity and magisterial analysis, the author brings together the philosophical reflections, historical contexts, political ramifications, economic implications, and social consequences of the (re)construction, elaboration, (re)location of, and contestations over, capital cities in all parts of the world. Capital Cities is a tour de force.
Wale Adebanwi, Professor, Department of African American and African Studies, University of California-Davis, USA, and Visiting Professor, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University, South Africa.
Vadim Rossman is endowed with an uncanny ability to see systems in details, and details within abstract systems, and then also the connections between the two levels. Not to mention that he writes eminently readable prose.
Georgi Derluguian, Professor of Social Research and Public Policy, New York University, Abu Dhabi
Foreword (Blair Ruble), 1. History and Typology of Capital Cities, 2. Capital Cities Relocation Experience, 3. Capital City Relocations in World Regions, 4. Strategies of Capital City Relocations and their Critics, 5. Methods of Analysis and the Criteria of Effective Capital Cities, Conclusions
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