Editor’s Choice: Geddes’ Centenary Paper

The Editor of Landscape and Urban Planning has chosen our paper by Stephen Marshall and myself on Patrick Geddes as Editor’s choice. Our prize is that you can download it free from here and I do not have to post it unofficially online.  2015 was the centenary of Geddes seminal book Cities in Evolution and the journal has a special issue on Geddes which has just been published. We have unpacked Geddes’ contributions in a paper entitled: Thinking organic, acting civic: The paradox of planning for Cities in Evolution, where we suggest that his long term quest to build a theory of social evolution was never realised despite his voluminous letters and writing, much of which was spontaneous, stimulating, insightful and of course chaotic. This year is the centenary of D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s great book On Growth and Form. Geddes (PG for short) and D’Arcy were colleagues at University College Dundee for over thirty years but they did not write together – despite that fact that they were talking about the same kinds of things, evolution, form, morphology, but their individual foci were quite different: PG on cities and society, D’Arcy primarily on fish. We have also done something on unpicking their interactions and we presented this at the RGS Annual conference in London in late August. You can find our post on this here.

Again download our paper from this link or by clicking on the picture of D’Arcy and PG at Dundee in the late 1880s which is shown above. PG on the extreme right; D’Arcy sitting first on the left.

 

Interacting Agglomerations

A paper originating from our EU FP7 Insight project on extending land use transportation models to embrace better sub models of the retailing sector. Our paper entitled “Quantifying Retail Agglomeration using Diverse Spatial Data” by Duccio Piovani, Vassilis Zachariadis and myself has just been published in Scientific Reports – you can download it here. The model partitions the agglomerating effects of retailing into two scales: the typical zonal scale where consumers travel to shopping centres of different sizes and at different distances/travel times from the places where they generate their demand for such goods, and shopping centres themselves where shops of different and like sorts agglomerate, thus affecting the demand for particular retails goods within each shopping centre. The model is quite straightforward in that it has the structure of a nested logit model of discrete choice where the nests are the shopping centres within which the individual retailing facilities are located. We fit the model to data for the inner area of the Greater London region, and you can get the results from the paper.

Cities and Civilization, and other classic reviews

RS-CIC

This year is the 50th Anniversary of Regional Studies, the journal. Peter Hall was the first editor and my early years as a lecturer coincided with his stewardship of the journal and his role as Head of Department of Geography in the University of Reading where we were given an insight into how you start a journal, review the papers submitted and immerse yourself in the insights that this new field and journal generated back then. I cannot take you back to those heady times but to get some sense of the excitement of those years, Ugo Fratesi has selected a set of books which he and the reviewers he has chosen consider as classic books in Regional Studies. He explains why in his editorial which you can download here. where he introduces the 50th Anniversary Book Review Collection. I have a short review there on Peter Hall’s classic Cities in Civilisation and I have reproduced the piece here that you can download.

About the collections of reviews, I can do not better than quote from Ugo’s editorial:

“Selecting classic books is not an easy task. Furthermore, Regional Studies is an interdisciplinary journal that covers theoretical, empirical and policy research in the field of regional studies. As such, it brings together articles from economics, geography, planning and political science, whose scope is regional and local. One selection process would be a systematic survey among scholars, but this would produce an index of popularity more than of the real innovative nature of the book. The pattern followed here has been less systematic and more customized. The author of this editorial started with a list of 60 possible influential books, basically selected from among those which he feels the need to have on his own shelves.

The list only included books that were either at least 30 years old or, if more recent, written by authors no longer alive. These parameters were motivated by the fact that, in assessing the long-run impact of books, some separation in time is necessary. The list and the personal preferences of the Book Reviews Editor were discussed at an editors’ meeting, after which the list was shortened to 15 books, selected to represent the various topics that stratify in a multidisciplinary journal such as Regional Studies. The final cut was determined by need and opportunity; established and important scholars within their field were required to write these essays, so the reviews published will be of those books for which it was possible to find a suitable reviewer who agreed to write the essay within the short-time frame provided.

The list of those who accepted this proposal includes a number of well-known scholars who will review some of the most important classics in various disciplines related to regional studies. The final list includes Michael Batty on Peter Hall’s Cities in Civilization (1998), Henry Yeung on Albert O. Hirschman’s The Strategy of Economic Development (1958), Gilles Duranton on Jane Jacobs’s The Economy of Cities (1969) and The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), Steven Brakman and Harry Garretsen on Nicholas Kaldor’s Economics without Equilibrium (1985), Peter Sunley on Marshall’s Principles of Economics (1890), Mick Dunford on Doreen Massey’s Spatial Divisions of Labour (1995), Eric Sheppard on Gunnar Myrdal’s Economic Theory and Underdeveloped Regions (1957), Philip McCann on Harry W. Richardson’s Regional Growth Theory (1973), and Michael Fritsch on Joseph A. Schumpeter’s The Theory of Economic Development (1943). “

You can read my essay on Cities and Civilization here and get access to the entire collection by clicking on this link.