The New Metropolitan Mainstream

Theory and research:

The term “new metro­po­li­tan main­stream” was deve­lo­ped to deci­pher a broad ran­ge of phe­no­me­na that have recent­ly emer­ged in cities around the world which have important impacts on urban deve­lo­p­ment and ever­y­day life. Under the con­di­ti­ons of pla­ne­ta­ry urba­niza­ti­on, cities have beco­me stra­te­gic nodes of the glo­bal eco­no­my and of social life. Increased com­pe­ti­ti­on bet­ween cities leads to simi­lar stra­te­gies for attrac­ting capi­tal invest­ment and high­ly qua­li­fied labor, and simi­lar stan­dards and pro­ces­ses for urban plan­ning and design. A pres­ti­gious blend of cul­tu­ral amen­i­ties and offe­rings for luxu­ry con­sump­ti­on is today part of the stan­dard poli­cy reper­toire. Many con­tem­po­ra­ry cities both in the glo­bal North and in the glo­bal South are con­fron­ted with gen­tri­fi­ca­ti­on and urban rege­ne­ra­ti­on, and have been equip­ped with sky­scra­pers, flag­ship pro­jects, and “star” archi­tec­tu­re. The new metro­po­li­tan main­stream has mul­ti­ple faces and exists in many dif­fe­rent ver­si­ons. It is the aim of this pro­ject to ana­ly­ze and compa­re this diversity.



Research, exhibition and publication project:

Inter­na­tio­nal Net­work for Urban Rese­arch and Action INURA

The New Metro­po­li­tan Main­stream is a rese­arch, exhi­bi­ti­on and publi­ca­ti­on pro­ject laun­ched by INURA. The Chair of Socio­lo­gy sup­ports this pro­ject and takes part on the deve­lo­p­ment of the theo­re­ti­cal con­cept and the rese­arch. The pro­ject star­ted in 2008. Ana­ly­ti­cal cate­go­ries and stan­dard frame­work set­tings were deve­lo­ped in a coll­ec­ti­ve pro­cess. 36 local teams desi­gned maps and pos­ters of their cities using com­mon indi­ca­tors and cri­te­ria. Maps and pos­ters were pre­sen­ted in a public exhi­bi­ti­on at the 20th INURA con­fe­rence 2010 in the Rote Fabrik in Zurich. They were sub­se­quent­ly revi­sed and published on the INURA web­site in Octo­ber 2011. Pos­si­ble pro­ducts of the pro­ject are a book with maps and com­pa­ra­ti­ve ana­ly­ses as well as an inter­ac­ti­ve website.

The aut­hors of the pro­ject are mem­bers of the Inter­na­tio­nal Net­work for Urban Rese­arch and Action (INURA), a net­work of peo­p­le inte­res­ted and invol­ved in the deve­lo­p­ment of cities. The net­work was foun­ded in 1991, in Sale­ci­na, Switz­er­land. Mem­bers come from dif­fe­rent back­grounds and share a cri­ti­cal per­spec­ti­ve on today’s eco­no­mic, eco­lo­gic and social deve­lo­p­ment of cities.


INURA (eds.): The Con­tes­ted Metro­po­lis. Six Cities at the Begin­ning of the 21st Cen­tu­ry, 2004.
INURA (eds.): Pos­si­ble Urban Worlds. Urban Stra­te­gies at the End of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, Birk­häu­ser-Ver­lag, Basel/Boston/Berlin. 1999