PRINT November 1998

Saskia Sassen

THERE HAS BEEN AN EXPLOSION of sites on the Web, signaling the possibility of a new version of urbanism—Web urbanism—and a new politics of the local. The architecture of digital networks, primed to span the world, can actually serve to intensify transactions among residents of a city or region, making neighboring communities with shared local concerns aware of one another. It can also connect communities that are at opposite ends of the world but have common concerns. This is not a cosmopolitan route to the global. This is about the global as a multiplication of the local, and the following sites constitute a collective refutation of the received wisdom that the Net is a killer of sociability and engagement with one’s surroundings.

Saskia Sassen is professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. Her most recent book is Globalization and Its Discontents (New Press, 1998).