Changing cities
Changing cities

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Changing cities

2.1 Places shaping and responding to global change

Disciplines such as geography, anthropology and urban studies help us to see that, actually, cities, regions and other places actively help to shape global processes (see Barnett et al., 2008; Clark et al., 2008). Some places are sites from which globalising processes arise. All towns, cities and regions, to some extent, make their own contribution to global social, economic and environmental processes.

Described image
Figure 2 Transition Towns are one localised response to global issues

The sense of a need to respond to global change is increasingly manifest in a range of strategies through which cities and other places aim explicitly and programmatically to transform not only themselves, but also other places with which they are connected. These initiatives include the rapidly internationalising Transition Town movement, Fairtrade Towns, city-twinning practices, ‘slow city’ movements and others. This response to global change is also expressed in various forms of collaboration through which different cities or towns officially or unofficially learn from the practices of other places, often including the circulation of different models for transforming cities or the sharing of templates for urban change. Alongside these more formal attempts to redirect urban processes there are also a great many less formal practices through which other agencies seek to bring about change or to resist the changes that are being imposed upon them. These include grass-roots associations and movements, day-to-day practices of maintaining and reconstructing the urban fabric and spontaneous forms of organisation that often spring up in the wake of sudden change or upheaval.

Any attempt to manage and transform specific places is going to be complex, subject to different or competing demands and constrained by limited resources and incomplete knowledge. The framework of critical spatial thinking outlined in this course is meant to help in the task of understanding the relationship between any single place and the wider world, giving ways of conceiving of linkages and interconnectivities that can help us make sense of the challenges of place making: how place-based issues arise, and how they take shape and gain intensity. 

D837_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371