City Region and Regionalism: A Geographical Contribution to Human Ecology

By Robert E. Dickinson | Go to book overview

PART III
THE CITY-REGION

CHAPTER 6
THE REGIONAL RELATIONS OF THE CITY

1. THE CITY-REGION

The city cannot be fully understood by reference only to its arbitrarily defined administrative area. It has to be interpreted as "an organic part of a social group",1 and in approaching the analysis of the four main urban functions -- dwelling, work, recreation and transport -- "it must be remembered that every city forms part of a geographic, economic, social, cultural and political unit, upon which its development depends".2 The problem of the regional interpretation of the city, of defining and analysing the functions and limits of the city and the unifying relationships in the surrounding area, is one of disentangling the regional component and examining the multitude of tributary areas served by and serving the city. Each group of functions has its particular extent and characteristics. Many functional areas have no close relation with each other in their geographical extent -- which is often difficult to define -- or in their causes or characters. But they all have a common denominator in their dependence on the city and, in consequence, in the scientific sense, we may refer to this area that is functionally dependent on the city as the city-region.

The regional interpretation of the functions of the city involves a twofold approach: first, an assessment of the effects of the character of the region -- its resources, and economic production -- on the character of the activities of the city; and, secondly, an examination of the effects of the city, as a seat of human activity and organization, on the character of the region. There is also involved the question of the limits of the city, and its spheres of influence or tributary areas in its multitude of regional

____________________
1
M. Aurousseau, Recent Contributions to Urban Geography, Geographical Review, Vol. XIX, 1934, pp. 444-55.
2
J. L. Sert, Can Our Cities Survive?, Harvard U.P., 1943, p. 10.

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