Yet identity is becoming the main, and sometimes the only, source of meaning in an historical period characterized by widespread destructuring of organizations, delegitimation of institutions, fading away of major social movements, and ephemeral cultural expressions. People increasingly organize their meaning not around what they do but on the basis of what they are, or believe they are … Our societies are increasingly structured around a bipolar opposition between the Net and the Self.
Manuel Castells, The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture, volume I, The Rise of the Network Society (1996)
The 1980s were thus a time of a new kind of planning, some would say anti-planning: anti-strategic, opportunistic, project-based, regeneration-focused. Two decades later, and over a decade into a new century, the question is what is new and different? The answer is not much; rather, much more of the same. But so much more, that it throws into even starker relief the history told in the previous chapter; and it poses the even more disturbing question of what story a future planning historian might tell. For the fact is that everywhere the city of enterprise has boomed and busted and then boomed and busted again, as have global economies all around it; partly in consequence, the fates of its citizens have diverged.