Handbook of Urban Studies

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The paradox is that as much as the study of cities has become increasingly specialized, and to a degree fragmented, there is a growing need for a more holistic appreciation of the city. Recognition of the interdependent nature of cities and of urban living, as, explicitly, in the currently fashionable concept of the sustainable city, lends weight to the notion that while urban analysts tend to be of necessity specialists in a particular aspect of the city, the need to appreciate the wider implications of urban development and change has increased. The Handbook of Urban Studies is an attempt to meet such a need.

While the volume does not pretend to embrace in any encyclopaedic sense the field of urban studies -even were this possible - the essays span the major disciplines which have sought to unravel an understanding of the city. The Handbook represents a distillation of the knowledge of the field, synthesizing the existing literature while representing the diversity of issues which are generated by urban development.

One of the immediate problems raised - and an issue which is discussed in different ways in the early chapters of this volume - is that what might be termed the field of urban studies has fuzzy boundaries and lacks any unified consensus as to its definition. Even the definition of what constitutes a city is itself contested. Part of the problem here stems from the fact that by their nature cities can and have been studied from different perspectives.

Where these perspectives relate to the different social science disciplines, it is only to be expected that disciplinary viewpoints will prioritize particular types of questions. Further, social science disciplines frequently work within different epistemologies.

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These differences need to be seen as a strength. Cities are multi-faceted, and any volume attempting to reflect the breadth of issues raised by urban development will need in turn to reflect these different disciplinary approaches. Economists, geographers, political scientists, economic historians, sociologists and others need to be represented. Similarly the different paradigms through which cities have been studied -including positivist, behavioural, political economy and poststructuralist - need to be embraced, approaches which even if in some cases contradictory, collectively have had a cumulative effect on building an understanding of the city.

To understand cities, then, it is necessary to take account of the diversity of different forms of analysis, historical as well as contemporary. Cities are too diverse for them to be capable of being understood through a single perspective.

It is this rationale, above all, which has underlain the editorial approach adopted in this handbook. The organization of the Handbook is structured around seven sections. An introductory chapter examining how cities have been studied is followed by Section I, which takes up definitional issues of the city and city living. Subsequently, the volume focuses on specific aspects of the city, followed by a final section, which by focusing on cities in three different world regions aims to take account of the diversity of urban development and change.

Part I is foundational - how are cities to be defined, how are they delimited in physical, economic and social terms and how are they represented to us through literature. We can no more expect consensus on the definition of what constitutes the city as we could expect novelists or other artists to agree on how the city should, and could, be represented.

Such issues will always be the subject of debate.

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The following Parts, II — V , forming the bulk of the Handbook, examine different specific aspects of the city. The presentation is divided into sections, examining successively the city as environment, as people, as economy, and as polity, with Part VI devoted to the analysis of power and policy discourses in the contemporary city.

Where much of the discussion in the previous sections tends to focus on the experience of urban development in the advanced economies, the final section of the Handbook is devoted to looking at the urban experience in other contrasting regions of the world. An edited volume which aims to do justice to such a diverse field as that of urban studies inevitably involves the making of decisions which mould presentation.

Diversity is a source of richness, but it also creates major problems forcing an editor to include certain approaches and issues, and hence exclude others. Given the overall limitations of the size of the volume set by the publishers exclusions become inevitable. One key editorial decision taken at the outset was to give contributors a relatively generous word length in which to operate. This has enabled authors to develop theoretical and empirical arguments in greater depth.

Obviously, such a decision has had an impact on the range of topics which could be covered, excluding the separate consideration of a range of issues such as health and education. On the other hand, by extending the word length and by identifying those key issues of the city, housing, transport, sustainability, crime, social segregation and so forth, the presentations are able to achieve a degree of depth in their treatment of topics which in many cases have been the subject of smaller!

Editorial decisions need to respond to diversity in other ways. Other edited volumes on the city - though less ambitious in scope than the Handbook - have had to make similar decisions on the format of the volume, for example, as to whether the approach taken should be more geographical or more systematic in focus. Recent emphases on localization within an increasingly globalized world have re-emphasized the uniqueness of cities, highlighting how geography matters.

Such a presentation would give maximum currency to the uniqueness of cities and of urban development. Yet, it would deny the fact that there are underlying issues, and processes, common to cities; if their manifestation is unique, their analysis and resolution is not. Further, any more systematically or generically focused analysis needs to draw on empirical example s for demonstration or verification. Focusing on the issues and processes common to cities, and particularly those which are critical to understanding how they function and change, does not, and indeed should not, exclude the discussion of specific cities.

Even so, and bearing in mind the word and overall constraints within which authors and the editor were working, key decisions on presentation became necessary. Thus, the emphasis of the Handbook draws on urban conditions in the more advanced economies. While some urban analysts have begun to talk in terms of the convergence of urban issues and problems in northern and southern economies, with some justification, fundamental differences in the processes underpinning urban structure and change persist. Of course, there is the added point that we know a lot more about cities in the more developed economies.

Yet, this is not to deny that ideally a fuller treatment of cities in the developing world in a yet larger volume would be warranted. It is for this reason that the final section is devoted to looking at cities in different regions. Again, there is no attempt here to achieve blanket geographical coverage - Latin America and the Middle East, for example, are excluded.

Editing a major volume such as this would not be possible without the contribution of the authors, the editorial board and the publishers. At the outset of the exercise the editorial board provided valuable comments on the overall structure and approach of the volume, suggesting in some cases how key gaps might be filled and potential authors to approach. Of course, the volume would not have been possible without the willing cooperation of the authors, responding to editorial suggestions on the contents of their chapters and to comments on drafts.

In a venture of this size, and with the number of authors involved, it was perhaps inevitable that the road to receiving completed drafts was not always smooth. Altogether, completing the volume became a more protracted exercise than either I or the publishers, not to mention the authors who had completed their chapters, would have wished. Several commissioned authors failed to meet extended deadlines, and rather than sustain major gaps in the volume, new authors were approached. In one case a new author needed to be found because of the death of the intended contributor. These problems resulted in inevitable delays, and I am grateful to all those who participated in the exercise for their patience, not least the publishers who allowed the authors to update their chapters where necessary at proof stage.

Of the many individuals who have helped in the production of this volume special mention must be made to those at Sage, particularly Simon Ross and Rosemary Campbell. Simon who has since moved to a more senior position in another publishing house initiated the proposal and provided enthusiasm and support throughout.

Rosemary entered towards the end of the process, ensuring production and relieving me of a number of tasks at times when my university commitments were mounting. Thanks are also due to Bill Lever, my co-Managing Editor on the journal Urban Studies who was instrumental in formulating the structure of the volume. Equally, Isabel Burnside, Editorial Assistant on the journal, gave freely of her support and encouragement, ensuring that the infrastructural help necessary to ensure that authors were kept in touch was provided.

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From to he was responsible for the structure plan for Flanders and from to he was coordinator of the transport plan for Flanders. He has published widely on regional issues, planning matters and on transportation questions. His current research is focused on public involvement in planning, changes in governance and integrated territorial planning and policies.

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Stephen J. He has published widely in the field of local government economics and local government finance, including journal articles, book chapters and books dealing with intergovernmental grants, local taxation, charges, public choice theory and local government reform etc.

Falconer and S. He is book review editor for Space and Polity. He is the author of a textbook on urban economics in Italian, published also in French by Economica, Paris and forthcoming in Spanish. His research interests include urban and regional changes in population distribution and composition, with particular reference to counterurbanization and population deconcentration in developed countries and the policy implications of changes in local population profiles.

Joe T. He received his PhD in urban geography at the University of Pittsburgh in His research interests are racial residential segregation and neighbourhood socio-economic inequality in multi-racial, white-dominated societies. He is the author of more than publications, including the co-authored Detroit: Race and Uneven Development His interests are now in political philosophy Arendt, Heidegger, Latour , internationalization and the restructuring of the welfare state, poverty and cities and actor network theory.

He has published extensively on housing, urban and related issues. His current research interests include the role of the residential neighbourhood in contemporary society and cross-national comparative analysis of economic instability and the housing market.

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William H. He has written widely on issues relating to migration, population distribution and the demography of metropolitan areas. He is the author of several books and articles in the fields of comparative local government and urban politics, including with H. Wolman Urban Politics and Policy and with K. Klaussen eds Europeanisation and Local Government His current research interests and writing are concerned with the impact of globalization on local governments; metropolitan government; and the relationship between the size of governmental units and democratic performance.

His field of research is institutional revitalization and local governance, with a special focus on urban development. He is the author of numerous papers in the areas of housing and social change, the home ownership market in Britain, wealth and inequality in global cities. He is also the editor or co-editor of numerous other books including Housing and Labour Markets. With degrees in history and law he has specialized in transport and regional history and in comparative urban studies. He maintains major interests in contemporary and future transport policies, fiscal issues and settlement patterns and has written extensively on sustainable development and links between transport, environmental, economic and social policies.

He is currently doing research on systems of cities, industrial location, urban productivity, environmental regulation, development of urban sub-centres, as well as tax and public service competition among cities, focusing on the United States, Indonesia and Korea. He recently served as a team member of the World Development Report —, with its focus on political decentralization and urbanization in developing countries. His interests are in social and economic geography, urban studies and the theory of geography.

Among his practical investigations are the social assessment studies for the World Bank. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice. Oxford Handbooks Online. Publications Pages Publications Pages.


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Handbook of Urban Studies Handbook of Urban Studies
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Handbook of Urban Studies Handbook of Urban Studies
Handbook of Urban Studies Handbook of Urban Studies
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Handbook of Urban Studies Handbook of Urban Studies
Handbook of Urban Studies Handbook of Urban Studies
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