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Urban World History

An Economic and Geographical Perspective

Luc-Normand Tellier

Publication Year: 2011

Does the urbanization's long history present identifiable regularities through time and space? Are there long run trends in the development process? In the complex evolution of human societies are there other determining factors than political decisions, statesmen, wars, economic crises, religions, races, cultures, languages, and sociological values? Is the geographical space a simple setting or is it a major element of the urban world evolution? Those are some fundamental questions this book addresses in an original way that mixes historical facts, a world scope, an encyclopaedic culture, reflections, and space-economic theory. From Çatalhöyük and Jericho to London, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Shanghai and Tokyo, it reconstitutes the fascinating journey of the urban evolutions.

Published by: Presses de l'Université du Québec

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

List of figures

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pp. xiii-xiv

List of maps

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pp. xv-xvi

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pp. 1-20

In 1997 and 1998, two books became best sellers. The first one, Guns, Germs and Steel : The Fates of Human Societies, was written by Jared Diamond , and it won a Pulitzer Prize. The book’s basic premise was that the advantage some peoples have had during various epochs over other peoples cannot be ex plained by their...

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Chapter 1 - From the Beginning s of Agriculture and Urbanization to the First Urbexplosions

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pp. 21-112

Polarization , that phenomenon through which activities and people gather first in villages and then in small towns, cities and metropolises, is indisputably the most important and the most striking phenomenon of world’s history since the appearance of writing...

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Chapter 2 - Understandins the First Urban Revolution

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pp. 113-130

Why did the first urban revolution take place? And why did it take place in Mesopotamia? Does theory help to understand such a major event? In this chapter, these questions will be addressed. Five aspects of the first urban revolution will be examined in a very theoretical way (those who dislike theory can skip over Chapter 2...

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Chapter 3 - The Two First Economy-Worlds: The Roman and Chinese Empires

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pp. 131-166

The two first economy-worlds the world has known appeared in an interval of only 250 years at the two extremities of the Eurasian continent: in the Mediterranean region and in China . They have in common the fact that they are compact, and they became politically united thanks to two empires, which covered them. However, they...

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Chapter 4 - Understanding the Dynamics of Urban Evolution

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pp. 167-180

Like we have done in Chapter 2, let us now think about the theoretical lessons that can be drawn from the development of the two first economyworlds. Hereby, four aspects will be discussed: the influence of spatial competition, the challenges of the management of municipal services, the impact of multiplier effects, and the major role...

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Chapter 5 - The Great Ebb: Islam Out to Conquer the Great and Asian Corridors

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pp. 181-228

The fall of the Western Roman Empire , made official in AD 476, is an event among the most fraught with consequences in world’s history. Europe did not really recover from it until more than one thousand years later with the discov ery of America in 1492. Moreover, the repercussions of that collapse were felt throughout the...

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Chapter 6 - Understanding Topodynamic Inertia

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pp. 229-242

The long topodynamic evolution from Rome to Tokyo can be seen as an illustration of the phenomenon of topodynamic inertia. That concept we introduced in 1995 is altogether rich from a theoretical point of view, enlightening from an empirical point of view, and provocative in the eyes of those who see in it the evocation of an “invisible...

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Chapter 7 - The Great Ebb: Europe's Fight for Survival

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pp. 243-296

The Great Ebb was caused by the collapse of Western Europe, but that part of the world got up again. Strangely enough, a factor which powerfully contributed to re-launch Western Europe was the progressive decline of the Eastern Roman Empire, assailed by...

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Chapter 8 - The Discovery of America and the Return in Strength of the Occident

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pp. 297-350

B orn in Genoa , in 1450 or 1451, from a weaver father, Christopher Columbus probably began his career of sailor as a corsair in the service of René I the Good, duke of Anjou , count of Provence and former king of Naples , in 1472–1473. Around 1476 or 1477, sixteen or seventeen years after the death of Henry the Navigator...

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Chapter 9 - The Advent of Motorized Transportation and the Second Urban Revolution

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pp. 351-416

The discovery of America and of the maritime route to India revived the Western world. However, it is the Industrial Revolution which propelled it far ahead of all the other regions of the Earth.1 Three events changed the course of the topodynamic evolution...

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Chapter 10 - Understanding the Impact of Motorized Transportation

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pp. 417-440

In Chapter 2, the concept of attraction point has been introduced, and in Chapter 6, the Weber problem has been briefly defined. Here, the same concepts will be used to demonstrate, as simply as possible, that evolving from animal to motorized...

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Chapter 11 - The Age of Automobile and the Triumph of the American Corridor

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pp. 441-510

We have followed the wave of European imperialism stemming from the Industrial Revolution from London to Shanghai via Africa . Its most blooming fruit was the British Empire, which reached its acme in the aftermath of World War I when the German defeat brought it new territories, like Tanganyika , Togo, a part of Cameroon , Namibia..

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Chapter 12 - Understanding Topodynamic Corridors

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pp. 511-520

In order to deepen our understanding of topodynamic inertia and corridors, it is necessary to examine the process by which innovations spread through the geographical space. This will lead us, in a next step, to precise the true meaning of topodynamic corridors....

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Chapter 13 - Poles and Route s through History

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pp. 521-548

So far, world history has been presented in this book through the poles, routes, and trajectories that marked it. The time has come to look at the evolution of the poles and routes in the light of world history. The words city, agglomeration, metropolis, urban system, road, route, and corridor refer to realities that have evolved...

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Conclusion - The Broad Patterns of History

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pp. 549-562

The synthesis of world history that ends here differs from those proposed by Will Durant or Arnold Toynbee , who insisted a lot on empires, polit i cal figures, and civilizations. It is much closer to the syntheses made by Mumford and Bairoch , albeit those authors remain distant from the Braudelian perspective adopted...


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pp. 563-574

Appendix 1 - Tables of Demographic Evolution

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pp. 575-592

Appendix 2 - Cities by Types

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pp. 593-600

Appendix 3 - Silk Road Network Synthesis

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pp. 601-602


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pp. 603-629

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9782760522091
Print-ISBN-13: 9782760515888

Page Count: 650
Publication Year: 2011