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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There is no instant theory or single factor that explains the waxing and waning of towns and cities, and major interpretations of urban change avoid highlighting one static causal factor. But, historically, three Grand Narratives (long-term interpretations) have offered classic accounts of urban development through time, which is, of course, integrally yoked with space. This article begins by reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of these models, when applied globally. While none fits all circumstances, their collective insights point to key features within urban history. The second half of the article recombines those central elements into a new and different three fold pattern, again taking an aggregate view of developments over the very long term.

Keywords: urban development, urban change, urban history, cities, urbanization

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