This highlights a disturbing aspect of the rise of the global city. In the race to stay ahead of rivals, must they suck all the money and talent from the rest of the country? And if they break the bonds of their host state, will they fall victim to the hubris of thinking global while neglecting the local?
Mathieu Lefevre argues that the 21st century city has the power to solve the problems which afflict mankind more effectively than the nation state. By contrast, Ben Judah looks at London and sees a glittering city which displaces too many, nursing their bitterness on the outskirts.
In China, which has seen the world’s greatest rush to the cities, we look through the other end of the telescope. The countryside is in danger of becoming depopulated. But how to keep people at the plough when land cannot be bought, sold or borrowed against? Shanghai lawyer Gang Chen looks at ways to update the law of land tenure that fit with China’s history and political system.