Course Title: Understanding of urban change
Dates: 21/08/2006-25/08/2006
Professor: Chris Kesteloot (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)

Course Summary:
The course aims at enabling the students to frame urban phenomena in Europe in a fruitful historical and spatial context. This is achieved by an overview of the history of urbanisation in Europe, with special attention to the spatial forms, and by the presentation of two key concepts to read the present-day socio-spatial structure of the city in its historical complexity: the socio-spatial configurations and the geological metaphor. Further attention is paid to the processes that shape and change this structure, namely housing markets that socio-spatial selection processes and migrations as processes that change the composition of the urban community. Finally, the effects of socio-spatial structures on urban social relations are explored on a macro-scale, through the territorial, fiscal and electoral arrangements of the urban regions.



Title of Lecture

Abstract & Readings



History of urbanization in Europe


  • Theories on the origins of cities
  • Greece and the Roman Empire
  • Urban revival in the middle ages
  • Cities in mercantilist Europe
  • Industrial revolution and urbanization
  • Cities in the global age

Bairoch, P. (1988) Cities and Economic Development: From the Dawn of History to the Present. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (translated from De Jerico à Mexico, villes et economie dans l'histoire);
Barraclough G. ed. (1993)The Times atlas of world history. Times Books, London (4th ed.);
Marcuse P. & Van Kempen R. eds., Globalizing cities: a new urban spatial order? Blackwell, Oxford, Introduction (p.1-21) and Conclusion: a changed spatial order (p.249-275);



Reading the city structure


  • Socio-spatial configurations
  • Changes in socio-spatial configurations
  • The geological metaphor
  • Temporality in the geological metaphor
  • The metaphor in comparative perspective

Kesteloot C. (2004) Urban socio-spatial configurations and the future of European cities. In Kazepov Y. (ed), Cities of Europe. Changing contexts, local arrangements and the challenge to urban cohesion. Blackwell, Oxford, p.123-137.



The right people in the right place


  • Describing housing market structures : tenure and State intervention
  • Understanding housing market structures : access to housing as modes of economic integration
  • Housing market structures and the growth of the city

Edgar B., Doherty J. & Meert H. (2002) Access to housing, homelessness and vulnerability in Europe, The policy Press, Bristol.



Migration and changing urban socio-spatial structures


  • The legacy of the industrial revolution
  • Postwar guestworkers migration
  • Postfordist internationalisation

Musterd S., Ostendorf W. & Breebaart M (1998) Multi-etnic Metropolis: Patterns and policies. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht.
Body-Gendrot S. & Martiniello M. eds. Minorities in European Cities: the dynamics of social integration and social exclusion at the neighbourhood level, Macmillan, London



Spatial structures and urban social relations


  • Territorial, fiscal and electoral arrangements of urban regions

Terhorst P. & van de Ven J. (2001) Territorialisation of the State and Urban Trajectories: Amsterdam and Brussels Compared, in: Dijkink G. & Knippenberg H., eds., The Territorial Factor. Amsterdam: Political Geography in a Globalising World, pp. 399-428. Amsterdam University Press.



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