Urbanism is the study of cities — their geographic, economic, political, social and cultural environment, and the imprint of all these forces on the built environment. Urbanism is also the practice of creating human communities for living, work, and play, covering the more human aspects of urban planning. Urbanists define urban areas by their high population density. They maintain that this characteristic makes cities physically and sociologically distinct from rural areas.

Some scholars Fact|date=February 2007 initially rejected the notion that there were any significant differences between the social and political order between the rural or urban, hence there was no point in a specifically 'urban studies'. However, this debate has been largely resolved. It is widely accepted [UN Habitat (2000)] that cities do exist in a fundamentally distinct state from rural areas, and that the world population is increasingly living in urbanized areas. The world urban/rural population distribution provides evidence for this, and since 2007, at least 50% of the population has been living in urban environments. [ Lopez ] The importance of the interaction between the urban and rural is also studied, along with the importance of the hinterland.

In the contemporary world this hinterland is less easily defined due to communications technology, but in pre-industrial, agrarian societies, it would have been much more evident that the city cannot exist without a hinterland to supply it. This, however, assumes that such an agrarian society thought within the same framework as the modern, and in many cases (such as that of the Roman Empire or ancient Greece) this can be seen to be untrue; The Roman and Greek municipium or polis can be seen to be a social, political and economic entity consisting of "urban" centre and hinterland.

Having established that cities are genuinely distinct from rural areas, scholars have studied cities according to several dimensions: the internalist perspectives which looks at spatial and social order within a city, externalist perspectives which views cities as stable points or nodes in the wider globalizing space of networks and flows, and the interstitial perspective which attempts to reconcile the two perspectives: by trying to understand how globalizing flows and external forces influence, and are influenced by, the social, temporal and spatial ordering of a city. Amin and Graham (1997) argue in "The Ordinary City" that the urbanscape can best be understood as a site of co-presence of multiple spaces, multiple times and multiple webs of relations, tying local sites, subjects and fragments into globalizing networks of economic, social and cultural change.


cite web
last = Eduardo
first = Lopez
authorlink =
coauthors = Rasna Warah
title = Urban and Slum Trends in the 21st Century
work =
publisher = UN Chronicle
date = 2006-7
url = http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2006/issue2/0206p24.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-8-21

See also

* Landscape urbanism, an urbanism modeled on the disciplines of landscape architecture and ecology.
* New urbanism, a response to contemporary problems such as urban sprawl and traffic congestion.
* Unitary urbanism, a critique of urbanism as a technology of power by the situationists.
* Urban geography
* Urban design
* Urban planning
* Urbanate, a living environment envisioned by the Technocracy movement.
* World Urbanism Day.

External links

* [http://www.urbanizamkula.co.yu/stranice/englpocetna.htm “A Home for Town Planning Kula-Odzaci” Kula, Serbia]
* [http://www.altruists.org/f462 Hollow city] MP3 interview with Rebecca Solnit on the evolution of the US city and contemporary threats to it
* [http://www.abahlali.org Collection of articles on Shack Settlements]
* [http://www.shackdwellers.org/?q=aggregator/categories Housing struggles and theory newswire]
* [http://www.zonamoebius.com/00002007/marzo07/nudos/avr_0307_anonimato.htm Urbanism and Aisthesis: Rostros y lugares del anonimato | ciudades, pintura metafísica y sobremodernidad] by Adolfo Vasquez Rocca PhD
* [http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QBW8DK/ Kerb 15 - Landscape Urbanism] . This issue includes contributions from Charles Waldheim, Mohsen Mostafavi, FOA, Karres en Brands, Kongjian Yu, Kyong Park, Kathryn Gustafson, Stephen Read, Kelly Shannon, Richard Weller, RMIT Press, 2007.
* [http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/lu Landscape Urbanism Program at the Architectural Association]
* [http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/36697/67EAE4447924 Professional network for Landscape Urbansim]
* [http://www.UrbanDesign.org Urban Design information website]

Further reading

*Amin and Graham (1997) "The Ordinary City" in "Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers", NS 22 pp 411-429
*Manuel Castells "The Urban Question", "Network Society"
*Peter Geoffrey Hall "Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century"
*David Harvey (1989)"Flexible accumulation through urbanization"
*Jane Jacobs, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities"
*Henri Lefebvre (1970) "The Urban Revolution"
*Kevin Lynch, "Image of the City"
*Lewis Mumford, ""
*Robert E. Park, "The City - Suggestions for the Study of Human Nature in the Urban Environment" (1925) and all the publications of the Chicago school
*Saskia Sassen (1997) ""
*Richard Sennett "The Uses of Disorder"

* [http://www.scapemagazine.com Scape Magazine] ’Scape is the new international magazine for landscape architecture and urbanism.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • urbanism — URBANÍSM s.n. Urbanistică. ♦ fig. Atitudine, comportare plină de politeţe, de bună cuviinţă; urbanitate. – Din fr. urbanisme. Trimis de valeriu, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  URBANÍSM s. v. urbanistică. Trimis de siveco, 13.09.2007. Sursa: Sinonime …   Dicționar Român

  • urbanism — refers to patterns of social life thought typical of urban populations. These include a highly specialized division of labour , growth of instrumentalism (see work, subjective experience of ) in social relationships, weakening of kin… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • urbanism — 1885, from URBAN (Cf. urban) + ISM (Cf. ism) …   Etymology dictionary

  • urbanism — [ʉr′bə niz΄əm] n. 1. a) the character of life in the cities; urban life, organization, problems, etc. b) the study of this 2. movement of the population to, or concentration of the population in, the cities urbanist n., adj. urbanistic adj …   English World dictionary

  • urbanism — urban ► ADJECTIVE ▪ relating to or characteristic of a town or city. DERIVATIVES urbanism noun urbanist noun urbanize (also urbanise) verb. ORIGIN Latin urbanus, from urbs city …   English terms dictionary

  • urbanism — noun Date: 1889 1. the characteristic way of life of city dwellers 2. a. the study of the physical needs of urban societies b. city planning 3. urbanization …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • urbanism — См. urabnismo …   Пятиязычный словарь лингвистических терминов

  • urbanism — /err beuh niz euhm/, n. 1. the way of life of people who live in a large city. 2. urbanization. 3. See city planning. [1885 90; URBAN + ISM, modeled on F urbanisme] * * * …   Universalium

  • urbanism — noun a) the study of cities, their geographic, economic, political, social and cultural environment b) the culture or way of life of people who live in cities …   Wiktionary

  • URBANISM —    See CITIES …   Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans

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