The Historian and the City
An unprecedented twentyfold growth of the world's largest cities since 1800 suggests that the city has become both the site and the symbol of modern civilization. Although cities have been examined from many special points of view, they have never received the cross-disciplinary study which their significance deserves. Why have some cities flourished while others declined; do universal economic laws govern urban development; what has “city living” meant to millions now dead; why has the pace of cultural creativity quickened and slowed within the life histories of so many cities?
Such questions call for a cooperative consideration of the city by sociologists, historians, economists, philosophers, city planners, and political scientists.
In 1961, twenty distinguished specialists in these disciplines met at Cambridge to set forth and discuss their findings and conjectures on “The City in History.” The papers discussed at those meetings offer stimulating promise of a new comprehension and appreciation of the city – in concept and in practice.