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Urban geography is the subdiscipline of
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The first person t ...

geography
that derives from a study of cities and urban processes. Urban geographers and urbanists examine various aspects of urban life and the built environment. Scholars, activists, and the public have participated in, studied, and critiqued flows of economic and natural resources, human and non-human bodies, patterns of development and infrastructure, political and institutional activities, governance, decay and renewal, and notions of socio-spatial inclusions, exclusions, and everyday life.


Research interest

Urban geographers are primarily concerned with the ways in which cities and towns are constructed, governed and experienced. Alongside neighboring disciplines such as
urban anthropology Urban anthropology is a subset of anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies lif ...
,
urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
and
urban sociology Urban sociology is the sociological Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within ...
, urban geography mostly investigates the impact of urban processes on the earth's surface's social and physical structures. Urban geographical research can be part of both
human geography Human geography or anthropogeography is the branch of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a coun ...
and
physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...
. The two fundamental aspects of cities and towns, from the geographic perspective are: # Location ("systems of cities"): spatial distribution and the complex patterns of movement, flows and linkages that bind them in space; and #
Urban structure Urban structure is the arrangement of land use Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are natural environments on Earth that have not been sign ...
("cities as systems"): study of patterns of distribution and interaction within cities, from quantitative, qualitative, structural, and behavioral perspectives.


Research topics


Cities as centers of manufacturing and services

Cities differ in their economic makeup, their social and demographic characteristics, and the roles they play within the city system. One can trace these differences back to regional variations in the local resources on which growth was based during the early development of the urban pattern and in part to the subsequent shifts in the competitive advantage of regions brought about by changing locational forces affecting regional specialization within the framework of a
market economy A market economy is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The ide ...
. The recognition of different city types is critical for the classification of cities in urban geography. For such classification, emphasis given in particular to ''functional town classification'' and the basic underlying dimensions of the city system. The purpose of classifying cities is twofold. On the one hand, it is undertaken to search reality for hypotheses. In this context, the recognition of different types of cities on the basis of, for example, their functional specialization may enable the identification of spatial regularities in the distribution and structure of urban functions and the formulation of hypotheses about the resulting patterns. On the other hand, classification is undertaken to structure reality in order to test specific hypotheses that have already been formulated. For example, to test the hypotheses that cities with a diversified economy grow at a faster rate then those with a more specialized economic base, cities must first be classified so that diversified and specialized cities can be differentiated. The simplest way to classify cities is to identify the distinctive role they play in the city system. There are three distinct roles: # ''central places'' functioning primarily as service centers for local hinterlands # ''transportation'' cities performing break-of-bulk and allied functions for larger regions # ''specialized-function'' cities, dominated by one activity such as mining, manufacturing or recreation and serving national and international markets The composition of a city's labor force has traditionally been regarded as the best indicator of functional specialization, and different city types have been most frequently identified from the analysis of employment profiles.
Specialization Specialization or Specialized may refer to: Academia * Academic specialization, may be a course of study or major at an academic institution or may refer to the field in which a specialist practices * Specialty (medicine), a branch of medical ...
in a given activity is said to exist when employment in it exceeds some critical level. The relationship between the city system and the development of manufacturing has become very apparent. The rapid growth and spread of cities within the heartland-
hinterland Hinterland is a German word meaning "the land behind" (a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encycl ...

hinterland
framework after 1870 was conditioned to a large extent by industrial developments, and the decentralization of population within the urban system in recent years is related in large part to the movement of employment in manufacturing away from traditional industrial centers. Manufacturing is found in nearly all cities, but its importance is measured by the proportion of total earnings received by the inhabitants of an urban area. When 25 percent or more of the total earnings in an urban region derive from manufacturing, that urban area is arbitrarily designated as a manufacturing center. The location of manufacturing is affected by myriad economic and non-economic factors, such as the nature of the material inputs, the factors of production, the market and
transportation Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and ...

transportation
costs. Other important influences include
agglomeration Agglomeration may refer to: * Urban agglomeration, in standard English * Megalopolis, in Chinese English, as defined in China's ''Standard for basic terminology of urban planning'' (GB/T 50280—98). Also known as "city cluster". * Economies of agg ...
and external economies, public policy and personal preferences. Although it is difficult to evaluate precisely the effect of the market on the location of manufacturing activities, two considerations are involved: * the nature of and demand for the product * transportation costs


Urbanization

Urbanization, the transformation of population from
rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in differen ...

rural
to urban, is a major phenomenon of the modern era and a central topic of study.


History of the discipline

Urban geography arrived as a critical sub-discipline with the 1973 publication of David Harvey's '' Social Justice and the City'', which was heavily influenced by previous work by Anne Buttimer. Prior to its emergence as its own discipline, urban geography served as the academic extension of what was otherwise a professional development and planning practice. At the turn of the 19th century,
urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
began as a profession charged with mitigating the negative consequences of industrialization as documented by
Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''
in his geographic analysis of the condition of the working class in England, 1844. In a 1924 study of urban geography,
Marcel Aurousseau Marcel Aurousseau BSc BSC may refer to: * Bachelor of Science A Bachelor of Science (BS, BSc, SB, or ScB; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ...
observed that urban geography cannot be considered a subdivision of
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The first person t ...

geography
because it plays such an important part. However, urban geography did emerge as a specialized discipline after World War II, amidst increasing
urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
and a shift away from the primacy of physical terrain in the study of geography. Chauncy Harris and
Edward Ullman Edward Louis Ullman (1912 – 1976), son of classical scholar Berthold Ullman Berthold Louis Ullman (August 18, 1882 in Chicago, Illinois (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Intera ...
were among its earliest exponents. Urban geography arose by the 1930s in the Soviet Union as an academic complement to active urbanization and communist urban planning, focusing on cities' economic roles and potential.
Spatial analysis Spatial analysis or spatial statistics includes any of the formal techniques Technique or techniques may refer to: Music * The Techniques, a Jamaican rocksteady vocal group of the 1960s *Technique (band), a British female synth pop band in the 1 ...
, behavioral analysis,
Marxism Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies soci ...
,
humanism Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the ...

humanism
,
social theory Social theories are analytical frameworks, or paradigm In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as fa ...
,
feminism Feminism is a range of social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popu ...

feminism
, and
postmodernism Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of philosophical skepticism, skepticism toward what it describes as the meta-narrative, grand narratives and ideology, ideologies of modernism, as well as oppos ...
have arisen (in approximately this order) as overlapping lenses used within the field of urban geography in the West.
Geographic information science Geographic information science or geographical information science (GIScience or GISc) is the scientific discipline The branches of science, also referred to as science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a ...
, using digital processing of large data sets, has become widely used since the 1980s, with major applications for urban geography.Kaplan et al. (2004), p. 11–14.


Notable urban geographers and urbanists

*
Ash Amin Ash Amin, (born 31 October 1955) is a United Kingdom, British academic known for his writing on urban and regional development, contemporary cultural change, progressive politics, and the collaborative economy. He holds the 1931 chair at the Dep ...
* Mike Batty *
Walter Benjamin Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (; ; 15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German Jewish The history of the Jews in Germany goes back at least to the year 321, and continued through the Early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries CE) and ...

Walter Benjamin
* Anne Buttimer *
Michel de Certeau Michel de Certeau (; 17 May 1925 – 9 January 1986) was a French Jesuit and scholar whose work combined history, psychoanalysis, philosophy, and the social sciences. He was known as a philosopher of everyday life and widely regarded as a histor ...
*
Tim Cresswell Tim Cresswell (born 1965) is a British Human geography, human geographer and poet. Cresswell is the Ogilvie Professor of Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh having formally served as the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academi ...
* *
Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''
* Matthew Gandy *
Peter Hall (urbanist) Sir Peter Geoffrey Hall (19 March 1932 – 30 July 2014) was an English urban planning, town planner, urbanist and human geography, geographer. He was the Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration at The Bartlett, University College Lon ...
*
Milton Santos Milton Almeida dos Santos (May 3, 1926 – June 24, 2001) was a Brazilian geographer and geography scholar who had a degree in law. He became known for his pioneering works in several branches of geography, notably urban development in developing ...

Milton Santos
*
David Harvey David W. Harvey (born 31 October 1935) is a British-born Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by s ...

David Harvey
*
Jane Jacobs Jane Jacobs (''née'' Butzner; May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) was an American-Canadian journalist, author, theorist, and activist who influenced urban studies, sociology, and economics. Her book, ''The Death and Life of Great American Cities ...

Jane Jacobs
*
Henri Lefebvre Henri Lefebvre ( , ; 16 June 1901 – 29 June 1991) was a French Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is sh ...
*
David Ley David Ley is a geographer and a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia. Ley was born in Swansea, Wales, earned his B.A. at Oxford University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University. He is known for his substan ...
*
Peter Marcuse Peter Marcuse (born November 13, 1928) is a German-American lawyer and professor emeritus of urban planning. Marcuse is the son, as well as the only child, of philosopher and critical theory, critical theorist Herbert Marcuse. He was born in Berl ...
* Doreen Massey * Don Mitchell *
Aihwa Ong Aihwa Ong (; born February 1, 1950) is Professor of Anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural scienc ...
* Gillian Rose (geographer) *
Ananya Roy Ananya Roy is a scholar of international development and global urbanism. Born in Kolkata, Calcutta, India (1970), Roy is Professor and Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She has ...

Ananya Roy
*
Neil Smith (geographer) Neil Robert Smith (18 June 1954 – 29 September 2012) was a Scottish geographer and academic. He was Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abun ...
* Allen J. Scott * Edward W. Soja *
Michael Storper Michael Storper is an economic geography, economic and Urban geography, urban geographer,Latham, Alan (2017) "Michael Storper", in Koch, R. and Latham, A. (eds.) ''Key Thinkers on Cities'', London: Sage living in Los Angeles and Paris, teaching at ...
* Fulong Wu *
Akin Mabogunje Akinlawon Ladipo "Akin" Mabogunje is a Nigerian geographer. He was the first African president of the International Geographical Union. In 1999, he was the first African to be elected as a Foreign Associate of the United States National Academy o ...


See also

*
Chicago school (sociology) The Chicago School (sometimes known as the Ecological School) refers to a school of thought in sociology and criminology originating at the University of Chicago whose work was influential in the early 20th century. Conceived in 1892, the Chicago ...
* Commuter town * Garden city movement * Gentrification * Index of urban studies articles * Infrastructure * Municipal or urban engineering * Rural sociology * Urban agriculture * Urban area * Urban ecology * Urban economics * Urban field * Urban sociology * Urban studies


References


Bibliography

* Carter, Harold (1995). ''The Study of Urban Geography''. Fourth edition. London: Arnold. * Kaplan, David H.; James O. Wheeler; Steven R. Holloway; & Thomas W. Hodler, cartographer (2004). ''Urban Geography''. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


External links


Imagining Urban Futures

Social and Spatial Inequalities

Urban Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers

Urban Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers
Urban geography, Urbanization Urban planning {{interwiki extra, qid=Q23578769