By Tim Hall

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The impacts of de-industrialisation varied between different industries, and depended upon the particular composition of individual urban economies and national and local government actions. However, despite these qualifications it remains true to say that de-industrialisation was the most significant economic process to affect large cities in Europe and North America since the 1960s. The changing economic geography of the city • 39 One of the most dramatic demonstrations of the loss of economic dynamism in the urban industrial sector has been the fall in the total urban populations of large British cities.

Theoretically informed accounts of the ‘electronic’ city and the ‘sustainable’ city are as imperative in the early twenty-first century as they were of the industrial city in the mid-twentieth century. Second, Changing approaches in urban geography • 35 urban theory must be rooted around real urban issues. There are a range of continuing and very pressing urban problems affecting the world’s metropolises. These will not go away as cities change. Contrasting perspectives on these rather than wildly abstract arguments can only enhance the subject’s relevance.

However, by the early 1980s the majority of these cities were experiencing severe problems with their economies. Unemployment, through the decline of the manufacturing sector, emerged as the major problem facing older industrial cities in North America and Europe. 1). 1 The decline of manufacturing employment in the UK 1975 to 2004 Year Number of employees (thousands) Examination of the stark figures revealed that the problem of manufacturing decline in urban areas displayed a number of important dimensions: Temporal The emergence of a problem of long-term unemployment.

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