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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Understanding the Urban

ISBN 9780333724286
Publication Date May 2001
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

Cities are changing at a rate unparalleled since the industrial revolution and more than half the population of the world now lives in cities compared with less than a quarter in 1950. Construction is booming in and around cities, but the downside to these developments is that cities of the postindustrial world appear to have greater social divisions.

Understanding the Urban examines the contemporary nature and possible futures of cities in a postindustrial and globalized world. Theoretical debates and empirical research from a range of disciplines are brought together to provide an understanding of cities both as complex systems and as the product of collective human action.

This well structured and lively text draws extensively on political, economic and cultural examples from developing and developed countries to explore key topics such as:
· Restructuring of urban employment;
· The transformation of `culture' in cities;
· Locality and community;
· Cities in a world system;
· Production and reproduction of the built environment
· Politics and governance.

To encourage students to develop a critical understanding of today's cities, innovative references to literary, cinematic and www examples are provided alongside conventional academic resources at the end of each chapter.

DAVID BYRNE is Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Durham. He has worked both as an academic and in community research and his main intellectual interest is in the development of complexity theory as a method of understanding the social world in order to change it.

The City at the Beginning of a New Millennium
The Genesis and the Implications of the Postindustrial City
Locality and Community: the Significance of Place
Grounding the Global: Cities in a World System
The Divided City: the Ecology of Postindustrial Places
Culture and the Urban: Commodity, Understanding and Resource
The Production and Reproduction of the Built Environment
Politics and Governance in Urban Places


Well-argued and written in an accessible style, Understanding the Urban would be a useable undergraduate text in urban studies, sociology, human geography, and other disciplines.' - Contemporary Sociology
This volume brings together interesting reflexive arguments on how analysts come to know and act on the city.' - Choice
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