Havana, 90 miles from the mainland of the United States, was first a client of the US, and later allied with the Soviet Union.
Isfahan, located on the periphery of the Soviet Union, received resources from both superpowers.
Taipei, strategically located near America’s interests in Asia (particularly Japan), was a client of the United States.
They each were impacted by the global flows which urbanists now argue have come to underpin the contemporary world system.
1) ethnoscapes produced by flows of business personnel, guest workers, tourists, immigrants, and refugees
2) technoscapes involving flows of machinery, technology, and software produced by transnational corporations and government agencies
3) finanscapes consisting of flows of capital, currency, and securities
4) mediascapes comprised of flows of images and information through print media, television, film, and — now — the Internet
5) ideascapes including flows of ideological constructs, mostly derived from Western world views, e.g. democracy, sovereignty, representation, and human rights
6) commodityscapes produced by flows of material culture that encompass everything from architecture and interior design to clothes and jewelry
Moreover, since all three cities received large amounts of weapons in the early years of the Cold War when urban expansion was at its peak, I would add another ‘scape’ and call it a defensescape.
At any rate, cities worldwide were susceptible to external influences at the same time that they were being transformed through strong domestic forces.
In each instance, superpower support and influence involved flows that triggered a contestation with more local happenings.
And — in each of the three cases under discussion, a close relationship with the United States ended midway through the Cold War period. By the conclusion of the Cold War conflict in 1990, not one of the three countries retained client status — or even a diplomatic relationship — with the US.
From the American perspective, the break with Havana and Isfahan was involuntary, the result of revolutionary change.
In contrast, the break with Taipei was voluntary, based on the US desire to establish a relationship with Mainland China that would pit Russia and China against each other.
In actuality, each city was most affected by Cold War inflows for only a portion of the Cold War conflict: Taipei from 1950-1979; Isfahan from 1968-1979; and Havana from 1960-1986. Today it’s fair to ask: What is the residual effect of these inflows? We’ll examine their legacy in posts to come.