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FOCUS on Geography
Atlases, and Books
The Geographical Review
October 1998, Vol. 88 (4), pp. 528-547
MIDTOWNS, MEGASTRUCTURES, AND WORLD CITIES
LARRY R. FORD
"Midtown" is an important but understudied component in the morphology and
historical evolution of North American and, to a lesser extent, European cities, and
landmark buildings have played a notable role in giving midtowns identity and prestige.
Especially significant is a recent diffusion and expansion of the twinned "midtown-skyscraper"
concept to the major cities of East and Southeast Asia. For a variety of reasons, it
is likely that massive midtowns anchored by famous buildings will become most evident on
the western fringe of the Pacific Rim. Western architectural, engineering, and planning
firms are playing major roles in this diffusion and illustrate nicely the importance
of exporting the services component of the global economy. Buildings and midtowns provide
(reinforced) concrete examples of the impact of the new global economy on the landscapes
of major cities.
Keywords: Asia, midtowns, skyscrapers, world cities
DR. FORD is a professor of geography at San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182-4496.