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Regular version of the site

Article

World-city-entrepreneurialism: globalist imaginaries, neoliberal geographies, and the production of new St Petersburg

Environment and Planning A. 2010. Vol. 42. No. 3. P. 626-643.

Whilst St Petersburg is not usually considered as a command-and-control centre in the organisation of global capitalism—a key characterisation of world cities to some proponents—I reveal how Russian political elites have been inspired by a world-city vision for St Petersburg and have begun pursuing specific spatial strategies to accommodate this vision. In order to explain this experience, I attempt to establish a firmer conceptual link between ‘world city’, ‘urban entrepreneurialism’, and ‘state rescaling’ by articulating the concept of world-city-entrepreneurialism. World cities are argued to be a political modus operandi and one possible layer in the multilayered and interrelated matrix of urban entrepreneurial strategies under neoliberalism. Four dimensions of world-city-entrepreneurialism are considered (with specific sociocultural reference to St Petersburg): (a) remaking the city as an international hub for circulatory capital and production, (b) making the city as a capital of corporate power, (c) reinventing the city character and tradition through globalist megaprojects, and (d) the role of central government. The evidence of emerging world-city-entrepreneurialism for St Petersburg is seen as part of the process of reorganising the principles of postsocialist spatial governance further away from the Soviet ‘scalar etiquette’ of administrative subordination and redistribution, and towards a neoliberal geoinstitutional regime of uneven accumulation.