Chapter 9

The city and defence


The intention of the book, as stated in the introduction, was simply to trace the existence of links between collective, organized defence as an activity and aspects of the form and function of the contemporary city. If such links could be discovered, and were traceable, demonstrably important in comparison with other variables, and explainable in a coherent manner, then the ideal result would therefore be the emergence of both a ‘geography of urban defence’ and a ‘defence geography of the city’. The former should provide a framework for understanding the role of cities as places within defence studies, while the latter would be an ‘aspect’ urban geography, alongside many similar studies of the contribution of specific sets of variables to the shaping and spatial patterning of urban settlements.

A concluding chapter should assess to what extent these intentions have been realized in the preceding chapters. In so far as the coverage of the content falls short of the norms of comprehensiveness and balance—in terms of either aspects of the defence activity or types and locations of urban environments, or in so far as the structuring frameworks of analysis are insufficently internally logical or effective as methods of explanation—then these departures from the ideal however inevitable, need identifying, explaining and evaluating.

Two main difficulties have been encountered. First, the field is extremely broad: there are simply a very large number of quite different ways in which defence and the city are related. Second, the relationship between defence and the city is inextricably related to many other links between activities and places. They are, therefore, not only particularly difficult to isolate but may, in practice, only be understandable in a much wider explanatory context that strays far beyond both the defence activity and the urban scale.

A consequence of the first difficulty is an uneven coverage: some of the relationships have been treated at length, while others have received more cursory attention. Studies of the effects on cities of nuclear attack and, for instance, the resulting defensive strategies and provision, have been adequately examined, from various viewpoints, elsewhere, and have only


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War and the City


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