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Urbanization : An Introduction to Urban Geography

ISBN: 9780131424500 | 0131424505
Edition: 2nd
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Pub. Date: 1/7/2005

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Towns and cities are in constant flux. They are hives of industry and crucibles of social, cultural, and political change, where there is always something happening. At times, circumstances accelerate the restlessness of urban change, with the result that the function, form, and appearance of cities are transformed. Such was the case a hundred years ago, when a combination of economic, social, and technological changes were turning cities in Europe and America inside out and upside down, forging, in the process, the physical, economic, and political framework for the evolution of the "modern" city.

We are currently living through another phase of transformation, this time involving global processes of economic, cultural, and political change. Within the cities of the developed world, the classic mosaic of central city neighborhoods has become blurred as cleavages of income, race, and family status have been fragmented by new lifestyle and cultural preferences. The long-standing distinction between central cities and suburbs has become less and less straightforward as economic reorganization has brought about a selective recentralization of commercial and residential land uses in tandem with a selective decentralization of commerce and industry. Outlying centers big enough to be called "edge cities" and "boomburbs" have appeared, as if from nowhere.

Meanwhile, cities in less developed countries have grown at unprecedented rates, with distinctive processes of urbanization creating new patterns of land use and posing new sets of problems. A pressing problem today for many less developed countries is a process of overurbanization in which cities are growing more rapidly than the jobs and housing that they can sustain. There has been a "quartering" of cities into spatially partitioned, compartmentalized residential enclaves. Luxury homes and apartment complexes correspond with an often dynamic formal sector of the economy that offers well-paid jobs and opportunities; these contrast sharply with the slums and squatter settlements of people working in the informal sector—in jobs not regulated by the state—who are disadvantaged by a lack of formal education and training and the often rigid divisions of labor shaped by gender, race, and ethnicity.

Urban geography allows us to address these trends, to relate them to our own individual lives and concerns, and to speculate on how they play a role in other fields of study such as economics, history, sociology, and planning. The study of urban geography can help us better understand the marketplace and appreciate the interdependencies involved in local, national, and international economic development. It can provide us with an appreciation of history and the relationships among art, economics, and society. It can illuminate the interplay of science and technology with economic and social change, reveal important dimensions of race and gender, raise important issues of social inequality, and point to important lessons for governance and policy. Most of all, of course, it can help us to understand, analyze, and interpret the landscapes, economies, and communities of towns and cities around the world.

In this book we attempt to capture the changes in the nature and outcomes of urbanization processes as well as the development of new ways of thinking about urban geography. A dynamic approach to the study of urban geography is the most distinctive feature of the book: unraveling the interlocking processes of urbanization to present a vivid and meaningful explanation of constantly changing urban geographies. An important advantage of such an approach is that it provides a framework that is able to capture recent changes while addressing much of the "traditional" subject matter of urban geography. The dynamic approach also allows for the integration of theory with fact. In this book, key concepts and theories are presented in relation to prior events and ideas. In this way, we can appreciate the logic of particular theories and their relevance to particular circumstances. In writing this book, we have aimed at providing a coherent and comprehensive introduction to urban geography that offers a historical and process-oriented approach with a North American focus that also provides a global context and comparative international perspectives.

The text of this second edition has been completely revised and updated with a large number of new illustrations, Follow Up exercises, Key Sources and Suggested Reading, helpful websites, and a glossary. The focus on North American cities has been augmented with material on cities in other developed countries (in Europe, Australia, and Japan, as well as Russia). New material has been added on urban environmental issues such as brownfields and urban sustainable development, and on the interdependence between globalization and urbanization (including such topics as terrorism and cities and the future of cities in an increasingly interconnected world).

A new chapter (Chapter 2) has been added on the origins and growth of cities from Mesopotamia, through Greek, Roman, and Medieval cities to the cities of the Industrial Revolution, together with three new chapters on urbanization in less developed countries: Chapter 7 deals with the legacy of colonial urbanization and contemporary urbanization trends in less developed countries; Chapter 8 deals with urban form and land use in less developed countries; and Chapter 9 deals with urban problems (poverty, inadequate housing, lack of urban services, transportation problems, and environmental degradation) and responses (by governments, private agencies, non-profits, and communities) in less developed countries.

We are grateful to many individuals for their help in forming and testing our ideas. Our gratitude is wide and deep, and we take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Brian Berry University of Texas at Dallas; Martin Cadwallader, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Bill Clark, University of California, Los Angeles; Ron Johnston, University of Bristol; Peter I Taylor, Loughborough University; and Helga Leitner aryl Roger Miller at the University of Minnesota. We have also been fortunate in being able to call on the talents and energies of Ceylan Oner, Michael Peragine, and Joel Schneider in searching for material and checking data, and Erin Taylor Connaughton and Joe Gustaitis at nSight, Inc. in preparing the book for publication. Dan Kaveney at Prentice Hall provided a constant source of advice, enthusiasm, encouragement, and support.

PAUL L. KNOX
LINDA McCARTHY

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