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Cityscapes in History: Creating the Urban Experience explores the ways in which scholars from a variety of disciplines – history, history of art, geography and architecture – think about and study the urban environment. The concept ‘cityscapes’ refers to three different dynamics that shape the development of the urban environment: the interplay between conscious planning and organic development, the tension between social control and its unintended consequences and the relationship between projection and self-presentation, as articulated through civic ceremony and ritual.

The book is structured around three sections, each covering a particular aspect of the urban experience. ‘The City Planned’ looks at issues related to agency, self-perception, the transfer of knowledge and the construction of space. ‘The City Lived’ explores the experience of urbanity and the construction of space as a means of social control. And finally, ‘The City as a Stage’ examines the ways in which cultural practices and power-relations shape - and are in turn shaped by - the construction of space. Each section combines the work of scholars from different fields who examine these dynamics through both theoretical essays and empirical research, and provides a coherent framework in which to assess a wide range of chronological and geographical subjects.

Taken together the essays in this volume provide a truly interdisciplinary investigation of the urban phenomenon. By making fascinating connections between such seemingly diverse topics as 15th century France and modern America, the collection raises valuable questions about scholarly approaches to urban studies.

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