1st Edition

Defining the Urban Interdisciplinary and Professional Perspectives

    324 Pages
    by Routledge

    324 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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.

    "This book should be a compulsory addition to the book shelf of anyone interested in the contemporary urban condition. It asks some of the most fundamental questions of our time: What is urban? If it exists, how is it best researched, planned, built, and governed? The volume covers an impressive breadth of theoretical perspectives and offers practical tools to anyone looking to innovate their conceptual and methodological tool kit. It is an invaluable resource for seasoned researchers and novice students of the urban alike."

    Mike Davis, Professor Emeritus, University of California, USA.