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On the Geographical Organization of World Urbanization

Nikos Katsikis, “On the Geographical Organization of World Urbanization”, MONU, 20, April 2014, 4-11.

This article is a preliminary attempt to examine the interplay between urbanisation and geography in the context of contemporary debates on world urbanisation. The first part traces the shifting expressions of the persistent dichotomy between geography and the social dynamics of urbanization, from environmental determinism to contemporary debates on the anthropocene. In these more recent discussions, geography is no longer considered a shaping agent; rather, it is thought to be itself shaped by the expanding activities of humanity. Building upon such perspectives, including those being developed in the Urban Theory Lab-GSD, the second part of the paper points towards alternative conceptualizations of the “urbanisation fabric” that supersede the boundaries of agglomerations, as they have traditionally been understood. A series of cartographic representations, based on contemporary global datasets, sketch the various layers of this fabric. It is the increasingly hybrid and sclerotic nature of the urbanization fabric – both physical and sociotechnical – that today defines the geographical organisation of world urbanisation.

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