Games offers space for wider reflections on London: a new book on the city considers the future

One of the major opportunities the London 2012 Olympics has produced is for the city to become more clearly a focus –  object for multiple reflection. Taking stock and acknowledging London’s strengths as a creative capital and a ‘live’ city is encouraged by the buzz of the Games. Re-thinking London, acknowledging success as well as challenges is part of the 2012 experience. Such refelctions form the main themes of a new publication from Ashgate press: London After Recession: A Fictitious Capital?. It comes from an editorial team from London East Research Institue and lead by Prof. Gavin Poynter. The book includes local and international contributors. It serves as a follow up to previous Ashgate volumes, London’s Turning (2008) Eds. Phil Cohen and Mike Rustin, Olympic Cities: 2012 and the Remaking of London Eds Gavin Poynter and Iain MacRury – amounting to a trilogy of analytic texts looking at urban change – with London as case study and central exemplar. Details at:

The Olympic city should be looked at in the context of wider events. The credit crunch has been a case in point. London is subject to fragmentary policy initiatives, amplified inequalities and economic stagnation – as well as creative energy and successes. There is a lot to think about!  London After Recession seeks to contribute to this debate from a variety of perspectives – and figuring many versions of London. US and Chinese cities are considered too.

The City has long been the main generator of London’s wealth and, needless to say, the impact of the Economic Crisis in the recent years on the City has greatly affected the wider urban and surrounding region, not to say country as a whole. This book examines the impact of the recession and discusses London’s future trajectory as an entrepreneurial city and capital of the United Kingdom. While recognising the enduring capacity of London to ‘reinvent’ itself – from being the centre of a vast Empire to becoming a global centre for financial and business services – contributors evaluate different dimensions of the city’s current and future development through analyses derived from sociological, economic, cultural and urban studies perspectives

Contents: Preface; Introduction: a fictitious capital?, Gavin Poynter; Part 1 Global Cities and Responses to Recession: The global recession, Gavin Poynter; New York City’s economy: more than Wall Street?, Sean Collins; The glittering prizes of Shanghai, Alan Hudson; Finance and culture: twin towers in London’s lightness of being, Andrew Calcutt. Part 2 Financialisation and London’s Economy: Historic transitions and circuits in London’s financial services, Richard Sharpe; Opening and closing spaces for fictitious capital: the state and finance capital in London, Richard Sharpe; London’s financial services: after the credit crunch, Daniel Ben-Ami; The apprentice: realities and fictions for the London skyline, Iain MacRury; A tale of two journalisms: counteracting tendencies in London’s media, Andrew Calcutt; The real economy and the regeneration of East London, Alvaro de Miranda; Energy, James Woudhuysen; Carbon trading in the city of undoing, Maxine Newlands; Music from the storm clouds: the continuing troubles of the music business, Andrew Blake; Farewell Nathan Barley? The rise and decline of the freelance creative, Graham Barnfield. Part 3 Mobility and Social Policy in London: Overcoming the limits to travel, Alastair Donald; Immigration and London’s economy, Gavin Poynter; The housing crisis, Penny Bernstock and Gavin Poynter; The health service of the future, Justine Cawley; Hard times for higher education: knowledge economy, economies of knowledge, Karina Berzins. Part 4 London’s Future: The crisis of fictitious capital, Michael Rustin; Toward a new urban economy?, Gavin Poynter; Index.

About the Editors: Gavin Poynter, University of East London, UK, Iain MacRury, University of East London, UK and Andrew Calcut, University of East London, UK

Reviews: ‘This original and timely book is one of the first to come to grips with London’s changing politics and economics in the wake of the on-going global financial crisis. It brings together new contributions and insightful assessments of past trends to provide a convincing account of the relationships between the city’s globalised financial and creative industries, its governance, and the well-being of its citizens. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in contemporary urban studies and the impacts of the financial crisis on urban development and change.’ 
Mike Raco, University College London, UK

‘The rise of London, with New York, as the leading financial center of the global economy is the most significant event in the history of Britain since the end of the imperial era. It affects profoundly every aspect of British life, from the geographical and functional balance of the economy to the values and culture of British society. This book does justice to this huge, sprawling subject. Written for the most part by academics at the University of East London, a stone’s throw from The City, It brings a sharp multidisciplinary focus to its subject matter, and suggests that, with the rise of this Northern Dubai, Britain has struck a Faustian bargain with the now discredited masters of the financial universe. A milestone study.’ 
Simon Head, New York University, USA and St Antony’s College, Oxford, UK 

This title is also available as an ebook, ISBN 978-1-4094-3103-9

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