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Urban Regimes and Strategies

Building Europe’s Central Executive District in Brussels

If a city based its planning decisions on the needs of an international bureaucracy rather than on the traditional needs of local residents and businesses, how would that city change? How might it look?

In Brussels, Belgium—since 1957 home to the European Union—such change is taking place. Observing the change, Alexis G. Papadopoulos explores a new geographical concept, the Central Executive District. This urban form is significantly different from the Central Business District, its conventional counterpart. Drawing on game and rational choice theories, spatial analysis, and land economics, the author analyzes how the landscape of the city’s center has evolved over the last three decades under the influence of successive coalitions of local and foreign elites. He describes how foreign diplomats, international corporate executives, and real-estate developers cooperate with one another to carry out major urban projects in the face of resistance from local neighborhood groups, conservationists, and political factions.

This study makes a substantial contribution to geography and urban studies both for its implications about the future of world cities like New York, London, and Paris and for its original application of the notion of cooperative regimes.

310 pages | 23 halftones, 36 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1996

University of Chicago Geography Research Papers

Geography: Economic Geography

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
1. Introduction
2. Theoretical Foundations
3. The Historical Background
4. The Planning Aspect
5. The Quartier as Land Market
6. National, Ethnic, or City Interests First? The Quartier as Political Artifact
7. From the Boudoir to the Trenches: Two "Rational" Urban Games
8. In Search of Monumentality in Consumption
9. Conclusions
Appendix: Building Permit for the Centre International du Congrés

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