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By : Bob Brown

A new urban paradigm, the global city, emerged in the late 20th Century finding acceptance in discussions of urban development. Tied into a global network of exchange, it exists principally as a place of financial speculation and transaction. It is marked by a parallel economy of culture, which underpins a re-conceptualisation and spatial re-formation of the city. Despite its widespread currency, criticisms have challenged its economic sustainability. Further questions have contested its tendency to impose a singular, homogenized space prioritizing consumption while marginalising other concerns. Post-independence Rigaís recent experience provides a platform from which to critique the global city paradigm, which the city embraced as it sought to embed itself in the West not only politically but culturally and economically as well. In opposition to this modelís intrinsic singular emphasis and exclusionary tendencies, this text will explore the concept of palimpsest; this proposition understands the city as a multiplicity of layers, within which convergences and divergences offer a site from which to generate synergies. This will be framed in reference to recent discourse on the sustainable city and development practice. Recent design-led inquiry situated in the context of Riga will then provide a lens on palimpsest as an alternative form of praxis.
Keywords:Global City, Palimpsest, Joined-Up, Sustainable.

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