This critical introduction to the special issue examines the place and significance of urban modernity as a concept in contemporary urban studies. It draws on postcolonial theory to demonstrate that the relation between the city and modernity developed within the western tradition of urban thinking has produced a geographically and historically uneven conceptualisation of urban modernity. This conceptualisation not only involves dynamics of othering, in which cities are differentiated hierarchically, but also obscures a vast array of possible understandings of contemporary urban living. The aim of this introduction is to question this way of thinking about urban modernity in light of globalisation and 21st-century transformations of urban space. It argues that it is crucial, now more than ever, to render the concept of urban modernity attentive to the lived experience of contemporary cities worldwide.
- postcolonial theory
- urban studies