Global Cities and Their Discontents

May 9th, 2019 7-8:30PM
SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
151 Third St. San Francisco, CA 94103


Across cultures and borders, cities around the world participate in the flow of products, technologies, capital, people, and information. On the one hand, the rise of global cities has led to greater inter-connectivity and economic opportunity, as urban hubs link across a network of goods and services. On the other hand, it has also led to greater inequality—demonstrated by extreme wealth among the few, concentrated in urban areas, and the displacement of populations from rural areas as a result of political turmoil and environmental devastation. As Saskia Sassen explains in Expulsions, global capitalism has created devastating consequences for people across borders and even for our planet.

A collaboration between Public Books and SFMOMA’s Public Knowledge initiative, this discussion explores the impacts of globalization with an eye to the specific San Francisco Bay Area context. How do the consequences of global capital in San Francisco from hyper-gentrification to sea-level rise reflect challenges for cities around the world? How does San Francisco’s tech-based knowledge economy create greater disparities and complexities in addressing injustice? Can a city be reclaimed through its public spaces and institutions? Can discourse, neighborhood advocacy, and activism revitalize our civic imagination?

Join renowned urban theorist and sociologist Saskia Sassen in conversation with Teresa Caldeira, chair and professor of regional and city planning at UC Berkeley, for a conversation on the past, present, and future of San Francisco.



Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and co-chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University

Teresa Caldeira, chair and professor of city & regional planning, University of California, Berkeley

Sophie L. Gonick, assistant professor, metropolitan studies at NYU (moderator)