Philosopher, essayist and publisher, Olivier Mongin, former editor of the journal Esprit, has reflected for nearly 30 years on the process of progressive deterritorialization of cities, which escape regulations because of their integration into a vast global movement materialized by flows. For Mongin, Metropolitan areas are faced with an alternative, either move towards fragmentation or towards an inclusive reconfiguration giving back a minimum of solidarity between territories included in the flows and territories taking refuge in the inner city. According to Mongin, urban values have focused all the thoughts of the city but also the action of the city because the city is not the domain of vita contemplativa but the domain of vita activa, and therefore of exchanges. Urban values draw on extremely diverse semantic and symbolic registers that are not heterogeneous and overlap more or less according to the situation:- the political register, which draws on Greek thought, Roman law and biblical texts – the register of the imaginary, which is a register of staging, of the image, which has become very important in the way the city is valued and evaluated;-the urban planning register is a recent register, specific to European history, which refers to architecture as well as to the uto-pie.
There is therefore no accomplished urban model but a luxuriance of reflection on urban values. In the age of globalization, the latter also draws on several historical traditions that we tend to ignore. To ask the question of the values of the city of tomorrow presupposes starting from the observation that there is a radical disjunction between Urbs and Civitas, between urbanization and urban values, i.e. urbanity. The real issue is therefore to take note of urban globalization and to consider whether it is possible to rebuild urban value.
This also implies reflecting on the notion of “limits” since the European classical city, the fortified city of the Middle Ages, was a city that marked limits for integration, thus laying the foundations of the reputed city.
Today, the tendency is more to choose one or the other extreme. From now on, the city is sometimes thought of as illi- mited in the case of an octopus city like São Paulo or the cauldrons cities mentioned by Jean-Louis Borloo, sometimes as a contracted city, as an island city, which often serve as examples, such as Dubai or Singapore.