An Overview of the History of Studies on Urban Theories


ABSTRACT One of the key questions regarding the attempts to define urban studies as an independent discipline and a research area is about what to include and what to exclude. The question of how and with which criteria the focus areas of urban studies need to be identified, has paved the way for the formation of different urban theories. Classifications of the definitions for urban space can be made either according to different approaches by choosing general categories such as liberal/Marxist, modern, post-modern, geographic and socio-cultural approaches or according to spatial, economic and political categories. In both cases, the discussions on urban space will undoubtedly unfold in line with the concepts developed by the selected theoreticians. Therefore, in this study, the intention is not to generate a full dicussion or even a comprehensive analysis of all theories about urban space or city but rather to understand an overwiew of the historical perspective about the touchstones of some urban theories. This study aims to ensure a thorough understanding of different definitions of urban space and various approaches through studies conducted by some critical theoreticians playing important role in grasping the notion of urban space. The classification made involves the desire to point out that the discussion leading to various analyses and definitions for urban space or city belongs to the tense relationship between place and social process. To this end, initially a chronological reference point was determined, and then views and notable works of specialists engaged in urban theories from various disciplines including architecture, city planning, sociology and history is discussed. In conclusion, results of the mentioned efforts suggest that although specialists from various disciplines have come up with novel theories for the creation and development of urban space throughout history, all of those theories meet on a common ground of the human dimension and place relationship.