Chauncy D Harris (1914-2003) a Pioneer in the Emerging Field of Urban Geography, Chauncy Harris Was Also One of the Leading Experts on the Geography of the Post-War Soviet Union

Article excerpt

What was Harris's background?

Chauncy Harris was born in Logan, Utah, to Estella and Franklin Stewart Harris, His father, a research scientist at Utah State University, actively encouraged his son's interest in geography, to the extent that Harris had already decided to become a geographer by the age of eight. He attended Brigham Young University, where his father was president, and received his degree in 1933. He later spent two years at Oxford and one year at the London School of Economics. By the age of 25, Harris was working on his fourth degree and making a name for himself as an urban geographer at the University of Chicago.

What did he achieve?

Although Harris's initial interest was in the growth and classification of cities, he was also a pioneering geographer of the Soviet Union and a leader in urban, political and economic geography.

Family members say his interest in urban development was motivated at the age of 16 when his father gave him an almanac that included population figures for the various cities in the country. His first paper on this subject, 'A Functional Classification of Cities in the United States' was published in 1941. Lauded by political scientists and sociologists alike, it helped to establish Harris's reputation in the newly emerging field of urban geography.

In 1945, Harris collaborated with Edward Louis Ullman to produce his second widely acclaimed paper on urban development. The Nature of Cities published in 1945, looked at the multiple-nuclei pattern of urban development and new ways of viewing the city. The paper has since become a benchmark study on urban patterns. …