If a city based its planning decisions on the needs of an international bureaucracy rather than on the traditional needs of local residents and businesses, how would that city change? How might it look?
In Brussels, Belgium—since 1957 home to the European Union—such change is taking place. Observing the change, Alexis G. Papadopoulos explores a new geographical concept, the Central Executive District. This urban form is significantly different from the Central Business District, its conventional counterpart. Drawing on game and rational choice theories, spatial analysis, and land economics, the author analyzes how the landscape of the city's center has evolved over the last three decades under the influence of successive coalitions of local and foreign elites. He describes how foreign diplomats, international corporate executives, and real-estate developers cooperate with one another to carry out major urban projects in the face of resistance from local neighborhood groups, conservationists, and political factions.
This study makes a substantial contribution to geography and urban studies both for its implications about the future of world cities like New York, London, and Paris and for its original application of the notion of cooperative regimes.