• Patrick Le Galès
  • Göran Therborn


Cities have played a central role in the making of Europe, spawning its concepts of politics and citizenship as well as setting the landmarks of the continent, although the historical pattern of urbanization has been very uneven in Europe. While now thoroughly urbanized, Europe today exhibits a very varied pattern of urban trajectories. After the destructions of World War II crucial decisions were made, both East and West, to maintain or restore the historical urban forms of Europe. Extensive urban planning and public control of land have made those intentions and a manageable growth a reality. The Cold War divide of Europe meant an urban iconographic division, not only in ideological content but also in symbolic form. In terms of living standards and vital demography, as well as legally and administratively, the distinctive European demarcation between town and country has largely disappeared, and governance issues are primarily local and regional, rather than urban or rural. Nevertheless, we find four new aspects of urban salience in the changing social configuration of Europe. The EU has stimulated urban networking and city acting, and the union has belatedly given an institutional recognition to cities. Urban renovation and information gathering are benefiting from EU support. While facing new challenges, of inter-cultural migration, economic inequality, and climate change in particular, European cities have rather successfully maintained their particular urbanity, and under current globalization they still constitute models to parts of the extra-European world.


European City Industrial City Urban Policy Gated Community Global City 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Etudes Européennes, Sciences Po and King’s CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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