Fluidity characterizes not just the population of the modern metropolis but also its economic structures. In the fast-changing world of consumer tastes, global shifts in manufacturing, and rapid worldwide investment flows, urban economies are neither solid nor constant. Marx and Engels referred to modern capitalism as a force that makes “all that is solid melt into air,” and economist Joseph Schumpeter depicted it as a form of creative destruction. The instability is particularly evident in contemporary urban economies, where innovation and change are the only constants and corporate decisions unfold against the fluid background of globalization.

At the midpoint of the 20th century the economic dominance ...

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