A great deal has been written in recent years about the apparent transformation of the form and type of cities in Europe and North America. Much of this debate has focused on the emergence of ‘postmodern’, ‘post-industrial’ or ‘post-Fordist’ urban forms. Postmodern urban form is signiﬁcantly different in its structure, its patterns of land values, its social geographies and its landscapes to the modern city described in models such as Burgess’ concentric ring model (1925) and Hoyt’s sector model (1933). Such cities, which developed over the course of the twentieth century, typically displayed homogeneous zones of land use and social group, with land values which declined regularly away from the centre of the city. Since the early 1980s, urban geographers have argued that this idea of the city is outdated and that we have been witnessing the emergence of new urban forms. Despite a number of differences between individuals they generally agree that these new cities
are more fragmentary in their form, more chaotic in structure and are generated by different processes of urbanisation than earlier cities. This new urban form has been nicknamed the ‘galactic metropolis’ (Lewis 1983; Knox 1993). This describes a city which, rather than being a single coherent entity, consists of a number of large spectacular residential and commercial developments with plentiful environmentally and economically degraded space in between. They are said to resemble a pattern of stars ﬂoating in space rather than a unitary metropolitan development growing steadily outward from a single centre.