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Land 2014, 3(1), 105-130; doi:10.3390/land3010105

Urbanity and Urbanization: An Interdisciplinary Review Combining Cultural and Physical Approaches

1
Department of Geography, RWTH Aachen University, Templergraben 55, D-52056 Aachen, Germany
2
Human Technology Center, RWTH Aachen University, Theaterplatz 14, D-52062 Aachen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 October 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 13 January 2014 / Published: 23 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A New Urbanization Land Change Continuum)
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Abstract

This review paper focuses on research schemes regarding urbanity and urbanization, and brings together both cultural and physical approaches. First, we review the cultural and social construction of urbanity (as related to urbanization) in Germany. In the early 20th century, urbanity was mainly the result of identity derived from a historical perspective in cities. This has changed profoundly in recent decades as urbanity stems more and more from various urban lifestyles and the staging of societal experiences, as summarized in the German term, “Erlebnisgesellschaft” (thrill-seeking society). The discussion is extended by an assessment of the recent state of the art regarding physical urban research. The focus lies on different fields of research; we address topics such as biodiversity, urban climate, air pollution, and resilience, as well as their impact on urban planning and governance. In conclusion, in order to tackle recent developments and future challenges regarding social and environmental issues, an integrative approach urges novel cross- and inter-disciplinary research efforts in urban studies, including urban-rural linkages. A newly constituted assessment of urbanization and city quarter development is proposed; the assessment focuses on the conjoint analysis of mobility, “Energiewende” (energy transition), cultural drivers, demographic development, and environmental issues.
Keywords: urbanity; urbanization; urban diversity; urban climate; climate change; urban air pollution; resilience; ecosystem services; Central Europe; Germany urbanity; urbanization; urban diversity; urban climate; climate change; urban air pollution; resilience; ecosystem services; Central Europe; Germany
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schneider, C.; Achilles, B.; Merbitz, H. Urbanity and Urbanization: An Interdisciplinary Review Combining Cultural and Physical Approaches. Land 2014, 3, 105-130.

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