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Vance, James (1925–1999)

  • By: Brian J. Godfrey
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

James E. Vance Jr. is known for his scholarship on urban, historical, and transportation geography. These interests became apparent in his doctoral dissertation on The Growth of Suburbanism West of Boston, supervised by Raymond Murphy and completed at Clark University in 1952. After holding appointments at the Universities of Arkansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska, he taught from 1958 to 1991 at the University of California, Berkeley, where he directed 28 successful doctoral dissertations. His work emphasized the evolution and structure of cities; the roles of transportation and trade in shaping regional settlement; and the social processes that internally differentiate urban areas. Vance (1990) focused especially on “urban morphogenesis—the creation and subsequent transformation of city form” (p. 38).

The popularity of Vance's courses on urban geography and transportation ...

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