So, what is The New Metropolitan? It’s a web magazine about cities, with a twist.

New modes of being urban

According to UN figures, cities now house well over half the earth’s population, and cities everywhere are growing again after a long slump. What this has meant is not just a lot of new buildings, but new ways of being in cities for people who never lived in cities before. That is as true of the rich world as well as the developing world. Added to that, the great economic convulsions since 2008 have made life hard for many of those city dwellers, new or otherwise. They’ve had to find new modes of surviving in cities, new forms of resilience. And then we’ve developed a new understanding of the city as a political theatre. Most, perhaps all, of the spectacular political events of recent times have been played out in cities. Occupy Wall Street would have been nothing without Wall Street…

Citizenship and cities

The New Metropolitan is about these emerging urban cultures. What’s the twist? It’s about urban citizenship primarily, that is, the social conventions and obligations that – when they work – make us feel part of a city. It’s about urban citizenship in new forms, and it’s about the urban citizenship when old forms beak down. And most of all, it’s about the way the physical form of cities – their buildings, streets and squares – condition the way we behave with one another. We can never prove that form produces behaviour. But we’ve yet to meet anyone who did not, somehow, believe it to be the case.

New Metropolitan people

The home of The New Metropolitan is the University of Edinburgh, in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s produced by people there with interests ranging from art to architecture to law and political theory, and it has connections to a network that extends from Edinburgh to Amsterdam to Belgrade and Portugal. And while its interests are primarily European in the first instance, the people involved know a lot about the US and Brazil, and other places besides.

Join the conversation

It’s by no means a private club. If you like what you read, and would like to contribute, then write to us. We want to hear from you.

The New Metropolitan is funded by IASH, the Institute for the Advanced Study of the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.

Email The New Metropolitan editors: Stacey Hunter, Igor Stiks and Richard Williams at

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