The cold war split single cities in two. Globalisation is bringing separate ones together, regardless of nationsby Tim Judah / June 20, 2001 / Leave a comment
The last half of the 20th century was defined by the divided city. Jerusalem, Berlin, Sarajevo, Nicosia and most recently Mitrovica, split between Kosovo’s Albanians and Serbs. We will see more divided cities in the future, but I have a prediction. In the next 50 years, in this era of globalisation, a new urban phenomenon will emerge: the “fusion city.”
I don’t know if they are called fusion cities and I expect that geographers already have some fancy name for them. But the term will do for me. Obviously they are the opposite of cities divided by conflict-they are different cities in different countries growing together into one urban unit. Thus the two halves of the old divided Berlin don’t count, but Danish Copenhagen and Swedish Malm? and so, in an exuberant and radically different way, do San Diego in southern California and Tijuana in Mexico.
How can this be? After all, the city fathers of conservative and rather antiseptic San Diego would be horrified if their town centre began to resemble Avenida Revoluci?in Tijuana, where tourists have their photos taken on zebra-drawn carriages. And likewise the Swedish army would probably be called in if dirty looking middle-aged dope peddlers set up stalls selling chocolate bar sized slices of hash, as they do on Pusher Street in Christiania in the middle of Copenhagen. But believe me, Copenhagen and Malm?d San Diego and Tijuana are gradually fusing into two big, dynamic and forward-looking cities.
Say Copenhagen and, if you haven’t been there, the first thing that comes to mind is that silly little statue, the Little Mermaid. Let me tell you, it is as disappointing as that daft Manneken Pis in Brussels. But if you really want to see what modern Copenhagen is made of, take a drive through and over the ?esund Fixed Link, which connects the Danish capital to Malm?er the busy Baltic waters which divide them.
The name “?esund Fixed Link” does not sound thrilling. Actually, it is stupendous. When, as a child, I first saw San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge I was impressed. My children do not bat an eyelid at the Golden Gate but they were impressed by the ?esund Fixed Link and gazed in amazement at ocean going ships far, far below.
Opened to traffic and trains on 1st July last year, the Fixed Link consists of 16 kilometres of bridge, tunnel and man-made…