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Urban Theory
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Urban Theory
A critical introduction to power, cities and urbanism in the 21st century



May 2014 | 312 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
What is Urban Theory? How can it be used to understand our urban experiences? Experiences typically defined by enormous inequalities, not just between cities but within cities, in an increasingly interconnected and globalised world. This book explains:
  • Relations between urban theory and modernity in key ideas of the Chicago School, spatial analysis, humanistic urban geography, and ‘radical' approaches like Marxism
  • Cities and the transition to informational economies, globalization, urban growth machine and urban regime theory, the city as an “actor”
  • Spatial expressions of inequality and key ideas like segregation, ghettoization, suburbanization, gentrification
  • Socio-cultural spatial expressions of difference and key concepts like gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and “culturalist” perspectives on identity, lifestyle, subculture
  • How cities should be understood as intersections of horizontal and vertical – of coinciding resources, positions, locations, influencing how we make and understand urban experiences.
Critical, interdisciplinary and pedagogically informed - with opening summaries, boxes, questions for discussion and guided further reading - Urban Theory: A Critical Introduction to Power, Cities and Urbanism in the 21st Century provides the tools for any student of the city to understand, even to change, our own urban experiences.

 
1. WHAT IS URBAN THEORY?
Urban Studies and Urban Theory

 
What is Urban?

 
What is Theory?

 
And So What on Earth is Urban Theory?

 
 
2. URBAN THEORIES UNDER CONDITIONS OF MODERNITY
The Chicago School and Urban Ecology

 
Urban Geography and Spatial Analysis

 
The Community Power Debate

 
Humanistic (Urban) Geography

 
‘Radical' Approaches

 
The Legacy of Previous Theories and Their Challenges

 
 
3. FROM THE URBAN CRISIS TO THE ‘TRIUMPH OF THE CITY’
Cities as Actors in a Globalising Economy

 
Urban Decline and Obsolescence

 
Urban Economic Renaissance

 
Discussion

 
 
4. CAN CITIES ACT? URBAN POLITICAL ECONOMY AND THE QUESTION OF AGENCY
The Rediscovery of Agency Within Urban Theory

 
Introducing American Urban Political Economy

 
Urban Regimes and Growth Machines

 
The Normative Dimension

 
Critiques and Applications

 
 
5. SPATIAL EXPRESSIONS OF INTRA-URBAN INEQUALITIES
Inequalities Versus Differentiations: Vertical and Horizontal Paradigms

 
Cities as Sites of Resources: Space and Inequalities

 
Segregation

 
Suburbanization

 
Gentrification

 
Ghettoization as a Spatial Process of Marginalization

 
Neighbourhood Effects: Spatial Profit and Disadvantage

 
 
6. SPATIAL EXPRESSION OF DIFFERENTIATION
The Cultural Turn

 
The City as a Realm of Community and Lifestyle

 
The Subcultural Thesis

 
The Representational City: Public Space

 
Cultural Diversity: Identities in Public Space

 
Conclusion: Cities as Matrix of Resources

 
 
7. URBAN THEORY RECONSIDERED
The 'Crisis' in Urban Theory Revisited

 
The Performance of Theories

 
The Commensurability of Theories

 
Theory, Politics and Practice

 
A New Urban Agenda?

 

an excellent introduction to theoretical issues in urban studies and urbanism

Mr Richard Kotter
Geography & Environmental Management, Northumbria University
December 12, 2014

For my Place and Space unit, this will be down as an essential text - for my retail Design and Design for Restaurateurs and Retailers units (50+ students) it will only be a supplementary reading.

An excellent compendium of academic theory upon place and space issues.

Mr Charles McIntyre
School of Tourism, Bournemouth University
November 4, 2014

This is a comprehensive overview of urban theories as they were developing in the last century, written in easy English, which is important for non-English students.

Dr Karel Maier
Spatial Planning, Czech Technical University in Prague
June 25, 2014
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Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One: What is urban theory?


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