Contentious Global Issues
Edited by H. S. Geyer
Chapter 11: ‘Place’ Qualities of Urban Space: Interpretations of Theory and Ideology
H.S. Geyer Introduction The global population is at a turning point. For as long as there have been people on earth, more lived in rural than in urban areas. Now we are at the break-even point and are in the process of entering a new era where more people are living in urban than in rural areas. Currently there are six cities with populations of more than 15 million, 21 with more than ten million, 50 with more than ﬁve million and more than 400 with more than one million inhabitants (City Mayors Statistics, 2006). As Zane Yost (1998) remarked: cities are organic bodies. Just as it will be almost impossible for a person ten times the normal size to survive in an environment designed for normal-sized people, cities that have grown disproportionately large are ﬁnding it increasingly diﬃcult to remain functional. Apart from trying to maintain reasonably mobile in an environment that tends to become increasingly travel-unfriendly, the larger and denser cities become, part of remaining ‘functional’ lies in ﬁnding ways for diﬀerent people to live peacefully together. And yet, it is these diﬀerences between people and the way in which they behave diﬀerently under similar circumstances that have always been one of the important driving forces behind the dynamism of the city. An important element of this quest for peaceful cohabitation is ﬁnding ways of better understanding the implications of the relationships between space and place in the built environment, something that is becoming...
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