Historical geography is an active, theoretically-informed and vibrant field of study within modern geography, with strong interdisciplinary connections with the humanities and the social sciences. The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography provides an international and in-depth overview of the field with chapters that examine the history, present condition and future significance of historical geography in relation to recent developments and current research. The Handbook is in two volumes, divided across nine parts. Volume One includes commentaries on the history and geography of historical geography, and reviews how historical geographers have considered the appropriation, management and representation of landscape, the changing geographies of property, land, money and financial capital, and the demographic, medical and political analysis of the world's growing and mobile population. Volume Two shows how historical geographers have made significant contributions to geopolitical debates about the relationships between nation-states and empires, to environmental challenges posed by human interaction with the natural world, to studies of the cultural, intellectual and political implications of modern science and technology, and to investigations of communicative action, artefacts, performances and representations. The final part reviews the methodological and ethical challenges of historical geography as a publicly engaged research practice. Part 1: Histories and Geographies; Part 2: Land and Landscapes; Part 3: Property and Money; Part 4: Population and Mobility; Part 5: Territory and Geopolitics; Part 6: Environment and Nature; Part 7: Science and Technology; Part 8: Meaning and Communication; and Part 9: Studies in Practice.

Chapter 31: Urban Nature

Urban Nature

Urban nature
Matthew Gandy

Introduction

The words ‘urban’ and ‘nature’ both require some qualification. The word ‘urban’, derived from the Latin urbs meaning ‘city’, or simply the city of Rome, first enters the English language in the seventeenth century. Although the term ‘urban’ is conventionally defined as something pertaining to the city, it has over time been increasingly used as a synonym for the experience of modernity more broadly. In particular, the distinction between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ has often served as an analytical starting point for wider reflections on the development of modern societies. The usage of the word ‘nature’ is even more complex, as Raymond Williams (1983) shows, but in the context of this chapter the idea of nature will extend principally to facets ...

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