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City and Environment

City and Environment

Christopher G. Boone
Ali Modarres
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    City and Environment
    Book Description:

    For the first time in history, more than half the people of the world live in cities. Comprehending the impact of this widespread urbanization requires an awareness of the complex relationships between cities and natural ecosystems. This innovative book moves beyond the anti-urban lamentations that often dominate today's academic discourse to examine the evolution of cities and to illuminate the roles that humans play in shaping their environments, both natural and constructed. Christopher G. Boone and Ali Modarres argue that understanding the multiple forces of urbanization requires a holistic approach to the interactions of social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental factors. Without casting judgments,City and Environmentseeks to engage readers in an exploration of cities from a truly global perspective. Throughout, it illuminates the social-ecological systems of cities not as an academic exercise-although informing academic audiences is one of its goals-but ultimately to help transform cities into livable and ecologically sustainable environments.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0424-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. 1 Urban Morphology and the Shaping of an Urban Ideal
    (pp. 1-37)

    Citites are the greatest of human inventions. They embody our histories and manifest our technological innovations, cultural and social interactions, economic structures, political systems, and our respect for (or fear of) deities. Cities contain our imagined communities, our socially constructed identities, and the spaces that shape our daily activities. We equate cities with progress, and in many cases cities elevate their citizens to higher social status than that afforded to their rural counterparts. As representations of who we are (and who we were), cities have been the objects of our desire, our love, and our hate. With mixed emotions we...

  7. 2 Population, Urbanization, and Environment
    (pp. 38-76)

    It is difficult to discuss population without referring to three interrelated dimensions: magnitude, space, and time. Anyone engaged in population policy matters knows that one cannot make a convincing argument about population growth without some reference to the spatial and temporal specificity of growth, which highlights the differential nature of population impacts from one place to another. Beyond this methodological specificity, however, population discussions must also focus on the sociopolitical, cultural, historical, and economic contexts within which specific demographic patterns occur. From John Graunt’s “life table” (1662)¹ of London to the most recent publications of the United Nations, demographic publications...

  8. 3 Feeding Cities That Consume Farmland
    (pp. 77-94)

    Urban sprawl is derided by critics as wasteful. Low-density suburban development generally leads to an inefficient use of resources. Services such as water and sewers are more expensive because longer lines serve fewer people than in densely settled cities. Public transit is inefficient for the same reasons—traveling longer distances through lower-density markets means higher costs and fewer passengers, all of which requires a high subsidy from taxpayers or from transit fare payers in the city. Curvilinear street patterns with few intersections, typical of suburban developments, are also not amenable to public transit. For rail transit, building straight lines is...

  9. 4 Urban Infrastructure: Living with the Consequences of Past Decisions and Opportunities for the Future
    (pp. 95-133)

    Few urbanites think much about the network of infrastructure necessary to sustain city life, except when it stops functioning. A clogged sewer, garbage strike, road under construction, power outage, or cut telephone line are rude reminders of our dependence on infrastructure. The engineering works that make the city livable also alter the natural environment. Sewers and reservoirs disrupt the hydrologic cycle, impervious surfaces increase the threat of flash floods, energy use disturbs the carbon cycle and pollutes the air. Infrastructure makes life possible in cities, but at costs to the natural environment. Alternatives to traditional forms of infrastructure can help...

  10. 5 Healthy Cities and Environmental Justice
    (pp. 134-159)

    Strong antiurbanist sentiment, especially in North America, is tied in part to the belief that cities are polluted, unhealthy places to live. The clean air and bright blue skies of the countryside are one reason people flee the city, if only as far as the suburbs (Kaplan 2001; Rybczynski 1995). Even though that flight, usually by automobile, contributes to the smog that blankets large cities, many people justify it on the grounds that the suburbs are a healthier, cleaner place to live. This pattern of enjoying environmental and heath benefits without paying the environmental and health costs remains a point...

  11. 6 Green Spaces, Green Governance, and Planning
    (pp. 160-190)

    Only from the window of an airplane does it become apparent that U.S. cities are often heavily forested while surrounding areas are not. On average, more than a quarter of urban land is covered by trees (Nowak et al. 2001). Tree cover is especially apparent on the older fringes of cities, where pressure on land is not as great as in the center, and where time has given trees a chance to grow large canopies. In the spring, the green lawns of the suburbs radiate skyward, while surrounding farm fields, in hues of beige and brown, wait for the farmer’s...

  12. References
    (pp. 191-212)
  13. Index
    (pp. 213-221)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 222-222)