London continues to fascinate a vast audience across the world, and an extensive, diverse literature now exists describing and analyzing this metropolis. The central question - what is London? - has produced many answers but none of them, the author argues, uncovers the complex ways in which knowledge is constructed in the diverse attempts to represent places and people. On the contrary: a gulf has opened up between analysis of contemporary London as a global, postcolonial city, on the one hand, and historical accounts of the imperial capital on the other. The author shows how the gap can be bridged by combining an analysis of the representation over time by various experts of London and certain localities with an investigation of the ways in which residents have represented their communities through struggles over symbolic and material resources.