- Structure and imagination of changing cities: Manchester, Liverpool and the spatial in-between
- Urban Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 52 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The emergence of new urban configurations - marked by enlarged scale, polycentrism and strong cities - often conflicts with the settled institutions of the ‘old’ city, with its hierarchical, centripetal development model. This model is challenged through the autonomous locational decisions of commercial and private actors, and sometimes through planning initiatives that aim to establish new planning spaces adapting to this new spatial reality, but despite this ongoing challenge, traditional conceptions of cities seem to prevail. This article offers a sociological-institutional approach to analysing how the institutions of the ‘old’ city are challenged, looking at the role of symbolic markers in planning strategies as an explanation for the institutional activation of new perceptions of the changing city. The urbanised zone of the Manchester and Liverpool city regions in the UK - where a massive investment strategy by a private-sector company has presented a new vision that challenges the entrenched positions of the two core cities - provides an excellent case study for investigating how symbolic markers spark a conflict over the meaning of two city regions that are closely linked but have thus far worked in isolation. The degree to which the meaning of existing institutions is reflected in the strategy is crucial for the success potential of establishing new governance spaces.
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