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Inventing and reinventing the modern city: the 2012 city status competition in the United Kingdom

Beckett, John

Authors

John Beckett



Abstract

Three new cities were created in conjunction with Her Majesty the queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012: Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph. They were the winners of a competition which had no clear rules, no transparency and no proper feedback. The modern style is to create new cities in conjunction with a royal event, the winners to be decided by competition. How has this come to be the case? This article looks at the 2012 competition in the light of the ways in which cities have been created in the United Kingdom since the explicit link with Anglican cathedrals was dropped in 1888, and it asks whether it is worth the effort? The author concludes that what was initially conceived as a means of distinguishing between rivals for the status of city has become a competition driven by modern forms of civic boosterism, and a blatant opportunity for political patronage by governments who hide behind royal ‘privilege’. For all the effort expended, the distinction is hardly recognized outside of the town hall.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2014
Print ISSN 0963-9268
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Issue 4
Pages 705-720
APA6 Citation Beckett, J. (2014). Inventing and reinventing the modern city: the 2012 city status competition in the United Kingdom. Urban History, 41(4), 705-720. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963926813001053
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963926813001053
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/urban-history/article/inventing-and-reinventing-the-modern-city-the-2012-city-status-competition-in-the-united-kingdom/2A2944B1076DC7CB8033363B46D7205B
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