The New Economy of the Inner City

Restructuring, Regeneration and Dislocation in the 21st Century Metropolis

By Thomas A. Hutton

© 2008 – Routledge

336 pages | 95 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
New in Paperback: 9780415569323
pub: 2010-04-12
Hardback: 9780415771344
pub: 2008-03-19

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Following the restructuring process which swept away the traditional manufacturing economy of the inner city 25 years ago, new industries are transforming these former post-industrial landscapes. These creative, technology-intensive industries include Internet services, computer graphics and imaging, and video game production. The development dynamics of these new sectors are volatile in comparison with those of the classic ‘Industrial City’. But these new industries highlight the unique role of the inner city in facilitating creative processes, innovation and social change. Further, they reflect the intensity of interaction between the ‘global’ and the ‘local’ in the metropolis, and represent key agencies of urban place-making and re-imaging.

This book addresses the critical intersections between process and place which underpin the formation of creative enterprises in the emergent industrial districts of the ‘new inner city’. It contains intensive case studies of industrial restructuring within exemplary sites in prominent world cities such as London, Singapore, San Francisco and Vancouver. The studies demonstrate the global reach of development and innovation across these cities and sites, marked by clustering, rapid firm turnover, and interdependency between production and consumption activity. The evocative case studies, brought to life by interviews, sequential mapping exercises, media narratives, and photography, also disclose the importance of local factors (including urban scale, built form, property markets and policy) which shape both the specific industrial structures and socio-economic impacts.

The New Economy of the Inner City places inner city new industry formation within the development history of the city, and underscores its role in larger processes of urban transformation. The findings inform a critique and synthesis of urban theory which frame the evolving conditions of the 21st century metropolis. This book would be useful to researchers and students of Geography, Urban Studies, Economics and Planning.


"Always informative, this book makes a substantive contribution to the literature on the contemporary space-economy of cities. Highly recommended, for upper division undergraduate, through faculty and research collections." Robert Beauregard, Columbia University, USA

"[Hutton’s] assessments of urban change are careful and thus sympathetic, quite different from the recent hype associated with the apparent general renaissance of cities. Without any doubt, the book sets a standard in contemporary knowledge of the development of inner cities. . . its contribution to the urban discourse will be much appreciated." Markus Hesse, University of Luxembourg, LUX

"With numerous photographs and maps as well as detailed evidence from interviews, and with richly detailed case studies of industrial districts in London, Singapore, San Francisco, and Vancouver, the book documents the emergence of this new urban economy. Weaving together industrial restructuring, changing land uses, the city's social composition, public policy, and urban culture, Hutton's approach captures the contingent complexity of metropolitan transformations, though it also unearths striking similarities among cities in quite different nations and cultures. Always informative, this book makes a substantive contribution to the literature on the contemporary space-economy of cities." -- Choice, December 2008

'Without any doubt, the book sets a standard in contemporary knowledge of the development of inner cities. Hence, its contribution to the urban discourse will be much appreciated.' Urban Studies, Markus Hesse, University of Luxembourg

Table of Contents

1. The Reassertion of Production in the Inner City 2. Process: Geographies of Production in the Central City 3. Place: The Revival of Inner City Industrial Districts 4. Restructuring Narratives in the Global Metropolis: From Postindustrial to 'New Industrial' in London 5. London’s Inner City in the New Economy 6. Inscriptions of Restructuring in the Developmental State: Telok Ayer, Singapore 7. The New Economy and its Dislocations in San Francisco’s South of Market Area 8. New Industry Formation and the Transformation of Vancouver’s Metropolitan Core 9. The New Economy of the Inner City: An Essay in Theoretical Synthesis

About the Author

Thomas A. Hutton is Professor of Urban Studies and City Planning in the Centre for Human Settlements, School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Canada. Dr Hutton’s research interests include new industry formation in the inner city and the role of service industries in urban transformation within the Asia-Pacific.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Economic Geography

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Urban & Regional
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography