Futuribles Journal n° 398

Territoires, réseaux

A Comeback for Cities: Can “City Localism” Provide a New Basis for Political Thinking?


Economic crisis, ecological crisis, global warming –things have come to a serious pass. The situation may at times seem desperate, judging by the inability of states to meet these kinds of challenges at the national level and also internationally, given the difficulty of establishing global (economic, environmental etc.) regulatory regimes. Yet, as has been reported in these pages on several occasions (see issues no. 354 and 392), many promising initiatives have emerged at the local level which may turn out to be test-beds for policies that can be transposed to the national level or may, at any rate, make useful contributions to current political efforts to curb the consequences of these various crises.

Can we say, then, that cities are back? Might they, through local action, with the occasional support of networks formed between them, contribute to a renewal of political thinking, or even foster the emergence of desirable new social models. This is, at least, an avenue opened up by “city localism”, as Jean Haëntjens demonstrates here, and it might point to new paths that can be taken in the future by societies which, though globalized, are making little headway today.

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