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City (Key Ideas in Geography) by Phil Hubbard

By Phil Hubbard

City offers an available but serious advent to 1 of the most important ideas in human geography. regularly on the center of discussions in social thought, the definition and specification of ‘the city’ still is still illusive. during this quantity, Phil Hubbard locates the idea that of ‘the city’ inside of present traditions of social concept, offering a foundation for figuring out its various usages and meanings via a severe dialogue of the contribution of key authors and thinkers.

Written in a full of life and available sort, the person chapters of City supply a thematic evaluate of 4 dominant methods of forthcoming towns:
* as lived-in places
* as imagined spaces
* as networks of association
* as applied sciences of flow.

Drawing on a various diversity of literatures and case reports, the booklet spells out the significance of a geographical viewpoint at the urban, suggesting that it is just through bringing those alternative ways of mapping the town jointly that we will start to make experience of towns.

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Extra resources for City (Key Ideas in Geography)

Sample text

It is difficult to argue that these ideas amounted to a coherent or overarching theory of the city; further, the city as an object of study remained tangential to most academic disciplines. However, the establishment of the first US Department of Sociology at Chicago in 1913 effectively established urban studies as a legitimate and important field of study. Its co-founders, Robert E. Park and Ernest Burgess, regarded Chicago as an ‘urban laboratory’ in which they could explore how humans adapt to the city.

Simmel essentially suggested that the dominance of the money economy created interactions based purely on exchange value and productivity (and thus dissolved bonds constructed on the basis of blood, kinship or loyalty). This, he argued, encouraged a purely logical way of thinking which values punctuality, calculability and exactness (see Hubbard et al. 2002). Hence, while money fulfilled a multitude of tasks in the city by providing a medium of equivalence, the come-uppance was to reduce quality to quantity and to effectively destroy the essential ‘form’ and ‘use’ of any object encountered in the city: all was calculable.

Irrespective of the emphasis that some sociologists put on the idea that modern cities were socially emancipatory, a more common prognosis was that cities were essentially cold, calculating and anonymous. Friedrich Engels’ (1844) work is of particular note in this respect, given that it documented the inhuman living conditions experienced by workers in the industrialising metropolis (relating this to capitalist imperatives, as we will see in the next section). In a more general sense, the work of Georg Simmel (1858–1918) described the impacts of the city on social psychology, suggesting that the city required a series of human adaptations to cope with its size and complexity.

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