The theme of this book is ostensibly simple: it examines a set of relationships between an activity (defence) and a particular spatial setting (cities). Such relationships may be viewed from the standpoint of the defence function, in which case the title is best expressed as ‘the urban factor in defence’. In such a study the city is seen as one environmental setting, among many others, whose distinguishing characteristics are variables influencing the way such an activity is pursued (‘the urban geographical factor in defence studies’) and are themselves liable to be influenced by its practice (‘the impact of defence upon the city’). Conversely, the relationship may be examined from the standpoint of the city, in which case defence is examined as one of the many activities exercised in cities and the focus is upon the place of this function within the urban synthesis. The result would be ‘an urban defence geography’, in the same sense as existing urban social, economic, or political geographies. The chosen title, ‘war and the city’, indicates that both viewpoints will be taken, and on occasion it is in practice difficult to separate the two, however logical such a distinction may be. Nevertheless, the emphasis must remain firmly on the relationship between the two. The justification for this approach rests upon two assertions.
|1 A focus upon this link between the defence function and the urban setting reveals aspects of both that would not be apparent in studies focusing exclusively on one or the other. In other words, urban studies without a consideration of defence and defence studies without a consideration of cities are both seriously incomplete. |
|2 Such an examination has not previously been satisfactorily attempted. |
The book as a whole must stand as surety for the first assertion, failing in its primary purpose if insufficient evidence is marshalled to be convincing on this point. At this stage a prima-facie case is simply stated: an activity which has occupied such a large part of the attention and resources of cities and has been an important factor in both their origins and growth (or, conversely, their decline and even annihilation) can be assumed to be worthy of at least