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Synopsis

First published in 1992, this Routledge Revival sees the reissue of a truly original exploration of the nature of urbanization and capitalism.

Linda Clarke’s vital work argues that:

  • Urbanization is a product of the social human labour engaged in building as well as a concentration of the labour force.
  • The quality of the labour process determines the development of production.
  • Changes to the built environment reflect changes in the production process and, in particular, the development of wage labour.

To support these arguments, the author identifies a qualitatively new historical stage of capitalist building production involving a significant expansion of wage labour, and hence capital, and the transition from artisan to industrial production.

Linda Clarke draws from a wide range of original material relating to the development of London from the mid-eighteenth to the early nineteenth century to provide a complete description of the development process: materials extraction, roadbuilding, housebuilding, paving, cleansing, etc; profiles of builders and contractors involved, and a picture of the new working class communities, as in Somers Town – their living conditions, population, working environment, and politics.

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