Takashi Machimura

Sidney Smith Hall, Room 5017A | 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G3 (map)

Losing Control in Further Globalization?

Challenges and Difficulties of Tokyo as a Post-Global City

John Bousfield Public Lecture

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Global cities, a concept that was coined in the 1980s, have entered a difficult phase. With the consolidation of the Internet and neoliberalism, one could say that global cities are surpassed by the growing trend of globalization itself. Cities remain spatially fixed, while the capitalist economy grows more mobile. Profits derive increasingly from the ability to connect “the real” and “the virtual” across borders. Global cities are required to provide mega-infrastructures for the transnational operation of capital. And yet profits are not bound to return to the urban locations in which they are generated. As a result, cities face growing challenges in paying for the total cost of securing themselves from various risks and uncertainties, such as inequality, terrorism, disaster and aging. This presentation considers the difficulties for global cities after globalization. What kinds of narratives are mobilized to give legitimacy to new structures governing transnational capital mobility? Why are major global cities, such as London (2012), Tokyo (2020), Paris (2024), eager to host Olympic games? How has developmentalism been (re)unified with neoliberalism politically, economically, and culturally, with what consequences? The presentation considers these questions with reference to the case of Tokyo, and also reflects on how Japanese experience can help sharpen contemporary debates about the global city.


Takashi Machimura is a professor in the Graduate School of Social Sciences at Hitotsubashi University, Japan, and John Bousfield Distinguished Visitor in Planning at the University of Toronto. His research encompasses comparative urban studies and critical development studies. His paper on Tokyo’s world city making has been selected as one of the most influential papers in comparative urbanism and reprinted in the 40th anniversary issue of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies. Professor Machimura’s research also examines the politics of development, with due consideration to the transformation of developmentalism in Japan. Most recently this work has examined material politics of infrastructure and social movements in relation to the Fukushima Nuclear disaster 2011.


Sidney Smith Hall (100 St. George Street, Toronto, M5S3G3) is an accessible building, with a ramp located at the Huron Street entrance. Closest TTC locations: St. George and Spadina stations, the 510 Spadina streetcar at Harbord Street, and the 94 Wellesley/Ossington bus at St. George Street.

Toronto is in the ‘Dish With One Spoon Territory’. The Dish With One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect.MACHIMURAFlyer-01

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