International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 1
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International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 1

Contentious Global Issues

Edited by H. S. Geyer

This first Handbook in a series of three original reference works looks at globally contentious urban policy issues from a wide variety of different angles and perspectives. Matters related to urban densification, population mobility, urban inequality and sustainability are analysed in a manner that will not only interest the advanced student but also the novice.
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Chapter 11: ‘Place’ Qualities of Urban Space: Interpretations of Theory and Ideology

H.S. Geyer


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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