Notes on Urban Images of Historians
  • Charles Tilly
Part of the Environment, Development, and Public Policy book series (EDPC)


History is so porous a subject, and writing history so various an endeavor, that almost any image that anyone—historian or not—has ever held of cities appears somewhere in a historical account. From Herodotus’s splendid Athens to Mumford’s rotten Rome, the evaluations cover the possible range. A conscientious survey of urban images in history would amount to an inventory of all existing conceptions of the city. That inventory would be charming but useless, like the reproductions of antique mail-order catalogues that appear on gift-book counters toward the end of each year. It would also be many times as bulky. True, one can economize by classifying: the city as a point in space as opposed to the city as the setting of battles and pageants, the city as a storehouse of civilization versus the city as a cesspool, the city as a market or the city as an organization, and so on. Even such a classification results, if faithfully pursued, in an enumeration of all the logical and aesthetic principles that one might employ in sorting cities. An idle task, at best.


Urban Growth Residential Segregation Urban Form Space Economy Global Reach 
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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Tilly
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Research on Social OrganizationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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