Exposition Cosmopolis

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Cosmopolis tells the story of urban globalisation at the dawn of the 21st century. Instead of focusing on large economic centers, Cosmopolis looks at three cities which were for long marginal and have recently opened to global flows of capital, people and ideas. The three cities, situated on three continents, are Palermo, Hanoi and Ouagadougou. Throughout the exhibition parallels are drawn between these transformations and the ones occurring in Neuchâtel.

In order to show how cities globalise today, Cosmopolis will lead you through 3 aspects of city life:

  • the daily life of inhabitants, through the transformations of the places where we buy, eat and go out
  • political life, through the transformations of urban development policies
  • life of urban forms, through the recent transformations of the built environment

The exhibition shows that globalisation is related to a series of international connections, influences and choices in which local actors are involved. It is not an abstract, impersonal force acting from above. By pointing at this,
Cosmopolis invites its visitors to domesticate globalisation as much as possible in order to shape a desirable future for their city.

Cosmopolis will also present work done by students from schools of the region, in relation with the theme of the exhibition.

Hanoi, the capital of a communist country, Vietnam, was isolated from a large part of the world between 1954 and 1992, when Vietnam’s Constitution was revised.
Ouagadougou, the capital of one of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso, experiences an important economic development since 1994.
Palermo in Sicily, situated in a rich country, was dominated and partly isolated from the rest of the world by the mafia between 1947 and 1993.

Largely globalised and situated in a country which has been prosperous for a long time, Neuchâtel acts as a control city in this exhibition. Its forms of globalisation will be confronted with the ones found in our three urban laboratories.

Cosmopolis is based on research by the Institute of Geography at the University of Neuchâtel between 2007 and 2010. The aim of the research was to compare ways in which cities globalize. By focussing on the how of globalisation in different cities, more than its consequences, it shows that globalising cities follow different routes.

Cosmopolis is the official contribution of the University of Neuchâtel to the thousand years anniversary of the city. Cosmopolis is produced by the Institute of Geography of the University of Neuchâtel, initiated and directed by Ola Söderström and coordinated by Valérie Sauter.

Scenography: Tinker, Utrecht
Sponsoring: Autodesk, University of Neuchâtel, Fondation Sandoz, Loterie Romande
Collaboration : Section neuchâteloise de la Société suisse des ingénieurs et des architectes (SIA), Ville de Neuchâtel, Association du Millénaire, Société Neuchâteloise de géographie