In The Post-Urban World

This new book edited by Tigran Haas and Hans Westlund from KTH is a collection of interesting and somewhat oblique essays on the urban world we have entered. Lot of people you know writing here. Ed Glaeser, Richard Florida, Patrick Adler, Rahul Mehrotra, Felipe Vera, myself, Hans Westlund, Paul Knox, and Richard Sennett – and that is the first part. And then in two more parts: Jessie Poon, Wei Yin, Kaisa Snellman, Jennifer Silva, Carl Frederick, Robert Putnam, Kyle Farrell, Tigran Haas, Fulong Wu, Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp, Edward Soja, Fran Tonkiss, Laura Burkhalter, Manuel Castells, Saskia Sassen, Susan Fainstein, Emily Talen, Michael Neuman, Nadia Nur, Nina-Marie Lister, Duncan McLaren and Julian Agyeman. You can get a sneak preview using some Google Gizmo that is attached to the site.

In the last few decades, many global cities and towns have experienced unprecedented economic, social, and spatial structural change. Today, we find ourselves at the juncture between entering a post-urban and a post-political world, both presenting new challenges to our metropolitan regions, municipalities, and cities. Many megacities, declining regions and towns are experiencing an increase in the number of complex problems regarding internal relationships, governance, and external connections. In particular, a growing disparity exists between citizens that are socially excluded within declining physical and economic realms and those situated in thriving geographic areas. This book conveys how forces of structural change shape the urban landscape.

In The Post-Urban World is divided into three main sections: Spatial Transformations and the New Geography of Cities and Regions; Urbanization, Knowledge Economies, and Social Structuration; and New Cultures in a Post-Political and Post-Resilient World. One important subject covered in this book, in addition to the spatial and economic forces that shape our regions, cities, and neighbourhoods, is the social, cultural, ecological, and psychological aspects which are also critically involved. Additionally, the urban transformation occurring throughout cities is thoroughly discussed. Written by today’s leading experts in urban studies, this book discusses subjects from different theoretical standpoints, as well as various methodological approaches and perspectives; this is alongside the challenges and new solutions for cities and regions in an interconnected world of global economies.

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.