Introduction to part III

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Department of Social Sciences


Scholars have long had an interest in the study of urban environments and the residents who occupy them. Contributions to the study of the urban past are made by scholars across the social sciences, including geographers, historians, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, and political scientists and this is reflected in the scholarship found in this section and throughout the rest of this book. Mapping and analysis of urban social spaces arguably can be traced back to the work of Robert Park and the rest of the Chicago School of Urban Sociology in the 1920s. Park’s work includes the now well-known concept of human ecology, the idea that the urban experiences of humans are divided along the lines of communities and society.1 Park noted that in urban spaces, ‘social relations are so frequently and so inevitably correlated with spacial [sic] relations’.2w His concept inspired his colleague Ernest Burgess to develop the concentric ring model of urban development, a staple theory in urban geography, that illustrates how neighbourhoods of socially segregated peoples emerged in cities and would change through time.3.

Publisher's Statement

© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Ian Gregory, Don DeBats and Don Lafreniere. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315099781

Publication Title

The Routledge Companion to Spatial History