Defining the Urban: Interdisciplinary and Professional Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Defining the Urban

Interdisciplinary and Professional Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Deljana Iossifova, Christopher N.H Doll, Alexandros Gasparatos


304 pages

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What is "urban"? How can it be described and contextualised? How is it used in theory and practice?

Urban processes feature in key international policy and practice discourses. They are at the core of research agendas across traditional academic disciplines and emerging interdisciplinary fields. However, the concept of "the urban" remains highly contested, both as material reality and imaginary construct. The urban remains imprecisely defined.

Defining the Urban is an indispensable guide for the urban transdisciplinary thinker and practitioner. Parts I and II focus on how "Academic Disciplines" and "Professional Practices," respectively, understand and engage with the urban. Included, among others, are Architecture, Ecology, Governance and Sociology. Part III, "Emerging Approaches," outlines how elements from theory and practice combine to form transdisciplinary tools and perspectives.

Written by eminent experts in their respective fields, Defining the Urban provides a stepping stone for the development of a common language—a shared ontology—in the disjointed fields of urban research and practice. It is a comprehensive and accessible resource for anyone with an interest in understanding how urban scholars and practitioners can work together on this complex theme.

Table of Contents

1.Introduction. Defining the Urban: Why Do We Need Definitions?

Part I: Academic Disciplines

2. Sociology: The Sociological "Urban"

3.Geography: Rethinking the "Urban" and Urbanization

4. Anthropology: The Death and Rebirth of Urban Anthropology

5.History: Understanding "Urban" from the Disciplinary Viewpoint of History


7.Ecology: Science and Ethics

8.Environmental Psychology: Views of the "Urban" from Environmental Psychology

Part II: Professional Practices

9.Public Policy: Looking for the "Urban" in Public Policy

10.Architecture and Urban Design: Leaving Behind the Notion of the City

11.Civil Engineering: Unlocking the Potential of Future Cities through Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure

12.Urban Planning

13.Urban Governance: Transcending Conventional Urban Governance

14.Social Work: Social Work Intersections with Urbanism

15.Public Health: Urban Health: History, Definitions, and Approaches

16.Law: The Concept of "Urban" in Law

Part III: Emerging Approaches

17.Geospatial Techniques

18.Urban Political Ecology: Landscapes of Power

19.Urban Metabolism: Conceptualizing the City as an Organism

20.Transition Theories

21.Complexity Science: The Urban is a Complex Adaptive System

22.Science Fiction: The Urban in Posthuman Science Fiction


23.Defining the Urban: A Quixotic Pursuit

About the Editors

Deljana Iossifova is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies at the School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester.

Christopher N. H. Doll is a Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Tokyo.

Alexandros Gasparatos is an Associate Professor at the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S), University of Tokyo.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning