Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and co-directs the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. Her new books are “Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages” (2008), “A Sociology of Globalization” (2007), and the fourth fully updated edition of Cities in a World Economy (2011). Her books have been translated into twenty-one languages. Sassen is a regular contributor to OpenDemocracy.Last updated on 11.03.2013
The great metropolises of the globe have outlived kingdoms and empires. The world’s oldest centers of political power will dominate the 22nd century. The influence of cities will eclipse the power of nation-states.
Along with the emergence of global cities, we witness the emergence of slums. What is often overlooked is the critical economic role played by informal settlements. Slums give rise to new identities and support the formal economy by providing a structure from below.