Urban World/Global City

Urban World/Global City

Urban World/Global City

Urban World/Global City

Synopsis

This book identifies and accounts for the characteristics of the contemporary city and of urban society. It analyses the distribution and growth of settlements and explores the social and behavioral characteristics of urban living.The latest theoretical and empirical developments and insights are synthesized and presented in an accessible and engaging way.This second edition has been extensively updated and referenced. Each chapter includes sets of learning objectives, annotated readings and topics for discussion. Well-illustrated throughout, it will be essential reading for students of Geography, Sociology and Development Studies and all who seek an understanding of how the urban world has evolved and how it will change in the twenty-first century.

Excerpt

One hundred years ago, in 1899, Adna Ferrin Weber submitted a Ph.D. thesis to Columbia University on The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century. This masterpiece of data collection, analysis and explanation was the first comprehensive attempt to document and understand urban phenomena at the global scale. It identified variations in levels of urban development around the world and explored in detail the social and economic differences between town and country. Weber's work was a seminal contribution to the understanding of cities and was responsible for establishing urban study as a central focus of inquiry in the newly emerging discipline of geography.

Although cities were commonplace in that part of North America in which Weber lived and worked, they were comparatively small and thinly scattered and together housed a minority of the population, a pattern that was repeated across much of north-western Europe. As places of residence they were different to rural settlements and their populations engaged in social and economic activities that were distinctively urban in character. Elsewhere in North America and the rest of the world, urban development was negligible and the population was overwhelmingly rural both in terms of location and ways of life. This pattern was slow to change. It is only in the last 30 years that it has become valid to talk about an urban world: a world in which urban places and urban living are the norm rather than the exception.

The contemporary urban world is a product of three principal developments. The first is the growth in the size, number and spread of settlements, so that there are now few regions that lack urban populations and places. The second is the increase in the proportion of the population that lives in urban places. The third is the transformation of society because so many people and such a large proportion of the world's population live in towns and cities and follow lifestyles which are urban in origin and character. These three developments are

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