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Key Thinkers on Cities

Key Thinkers on Cities

Edited by:

June 2017 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Key Thinkers on Cities provides an engaging introduction to the dynamic intellectual field of urban studies. It profiles the work of 40 innovative thinkers who represent the broad reach of contemporary urban scholarship and whose ideas have shaped the way cities around the world are understood, researched, debated and acted upon. Providing a synoptic overview that spans a wide range of academic and professional disciplines, theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches, the entry for each key thinker comprises:

  • A succinct introduction and overview
  • Intellectual biography and research focus
  • An explication of key ideas
  • Contributions to urban studies

The book offers a fresh look at well-known thinkers who have been foundational to urban scholarship, including Jane Jacobs, Henri Lefebvre, Manuel Castells and David Harvey. It also incorporates those who have helped to bring a concern for cities to more widespread audiences, such as Jan Gehl, Mike Davis and Enrique Peñalosa. Notably, the book also includes a range of thinkers who have more recently begun to shape the study of cities through engagements with art, architecture, computer modelling, ethnography, public health, post-colonial theory and more.

With an introduction that provides a mapping of the current transdisciplinary field, and individual entries by those currently involved in cutting edge urban research in the Global North and South, this book promises to be an essential text for anyone interested in the study of cities and urban life. It will be of use to those in the fields of anthropology, economics, geography, sociology and urban planning. 

Regan Koch and Alan Latham
Introduction: How to think about cities
Joseph Heathcott
01 Janet Abu-Lughod
Junjia Ye
02 Ash Amin
Michael DeLand
03 Elijah Anderson
Helen Couclelis
04 Michael Batty
Elvin Wyly
05 Brian Berry
Agustín Cócola Gant
06 M. Christine Boyer
Tauri Tuvikene
07 Neil Brenner
Sonia Roitman
08 Teresa Caldeira
Phil Hubbard
09 Manuel Castells
Andrew Barnfield
10 Jason Corburn
Melanie Lombard
11 Mike Davis
Martijn Duineveld, Kristof Van Assche and Raoul Beunen
12 Bent Flyvbjerg
Andrew Karvonen
13 Matthew Gandy
Angela Giglia
14 Néstor García Canclini
Annie Matan
15 Jan Gehl
Jurgen Essletzbichler
16 Edward Glaeser
Kurt Iveson
17 Stephen Graham
Louis Moreno
18 David Harvey
Leslie Kern
19 Dolores Hayden
Oli Mould
20 Jane Jacobs
Ryan Centner
21 Jane M. Jacobs
Clemens Driessen
22 Natalie Jeremijenko
Davide Ponzini
23 Rem Koolhaas
David Pinder
24 Henri Lefebvre
Quentin Stevens
25 Kevin Lynch
David Beer
26 William J. Mitchell
Eugene McCann
27 Harvey Molotch
Juan Pablo Galvis
28 Enrique Peñalosa
Rajyashree Reddy
29 Jennifer Robinson
Hanna Hilbrandt
30 Ananya Roy
Michele Acuto
31 Saskia Sassen
Alan Latham
32 Richard Sennett
Michail Fragkias
33 Karen C. Seto
Colin McFarlane
34 Abdumaliq Simone
Tom Slater
35 Neil Smith
Alan Latham
36 Michael Storper
Regan Koch
37 Mariana Valverde
Tom Slater
38 Loïc Wacquant
I-Chun Catherine Chang
39 Fulong Wu
Mark Jayne
40 Sharon Zukin

"Key Thinkers on Cities is an excellent assemblage of urban studies scholars who reflect insightfully on the major ideas and contributions of many of the most influential contributors to urban theory and practice of the past three decades."

Michael Peter Smith
Distinguished Research Professor of Urban and Community Studies, University of California, Davis

"Urban studies has experienced a theoretical renaissance of late, and the tumble dryer of ideas that has emerged underline the need to take stock. In this book, Koch and Latham are more than up to the task, bringing together a plurality of 40 thinkers on cities that spans economics, geography, sociology, anthropology, planning and beyond. The scope of the book is admirable, capturing the diversity of approaches and disciplines that builds on but also moves well beyond the usual suspects and trends. Indeed, and using a celestial analogy, the book covers not only the super-giant suns with their considerable gravity, but also those thinkers only emerging from the cosmic dust, rogue planets forging their own unique understandings, and the shooting stars that promise exciting new insights. But the edited volume goes one step further by relating theories across thinkers, thereby uncovering the rich relationalities that underpin urban studies today."

Dr Geoff DeVerteuil
Senior Lecturer of Social Geography, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University

"The contributors to Key Thinkers weave together the personal and the professional to provide a wonderful set of insights into the people behind contemporary urban studies.  And in the process they highlight the many and varied methods and theories that co-exist in this diverse and heterogeneous field. This book is a must-read for all of us who want to know more about why we understand cities in the way we do!" 

Kevin Ward
Professor of Human Geography, University of Manchester

"This is a fresh and comprehensive survey of the current state of urban theory, both revisiting the reputation of established experts as well as bringing forth new voices and theories that have enlivened the field in recent years."

Donald McNeill
Professor of Urban & Cultural Geography, Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University

Excellent overview of major current theories on cities. Provides a good summary of several diverse theories that students can easily compare and explore. These short summaries of urbanity theories allow them to be able to critically synthesise them in their work more easily .

Ms Athena Moustaka
School of the Built Environment, Salford University
February 26, 2020

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