This introductory chapter to the Handbook of Urban Geography sets the stage for subsequent parts of the book. It begins by explains some of the reasons why Urban Geography has become one of the most exciting fields within the wider discipline of Geography in the twenty-first century. It does this by referring to the rise of Urban Age discourses and to prominent theoretical debates within Urban Geography about the city and the urban and how to study them. It then goes on to explain the aims and objectives of the Handbook and introduces the various Parts and chapters of which the book consists.
Tim Schwanen and Denver V. Nixon
Like other fields, Urban Geography has experienced an ‘infrastructural turn’ over the past two decades or so. This is in part because of the large interest in, and sometimes controversy over, infrastructures among state authorities, supranational bodies, businesses, civil society organizations and other actors. Another driver behind the infrastructural turn has been the realization that infrastructures offer a useful and effective lens on the contemporary urban condition, nature–society relations, everyday life and experience in the city, and politics and governance in specific spaces and times. This chapter reviews the sprawling literature about infrastructures in Urban Geography through discussion of four tensions that cut across it: between visibility and invisibility, connection and disconnection, standardisation and differentiation and normalcy and disruption. It then illustrates these infrastructural tensions through a focus on cycling infrastructures in London and São Paulo.