Urban geography, in the most basic sense, is the study of towns and cities. From the perspective of an urban geographer, towns and cities act as systems which control the economic, environmental, political and social aspects of civilization.
When studying urban geography, understanding the social organization of a place is critical. Urban spaces are inherently social since they are representative of areas in which individuals can both work and play; they are the spaces in which all activity and interaction takes place.
An earlier thinker, V. Gordon Childe, developed a method for categorizing the different characteristics of urban civilizations, which differentiated these places from other types of societies. For instance, the size and density of a place, the political/state organization of a place and the presence of monumental public works, were some of the characteristics V. Gordon Childe focused upon. His methodology illustrates that urban places are rather complex systems which depend upon the interconnectedness of various features in order to function properly and advance social organization.
Another important aspect of urban geography, especially in today’s globalized world, is realizing the spatial and temporal relationships between different urban places. Although connectivity exists between all urban places, the economic, political and social climates of cities continually change over time, influencing the individual statuses of cities and the relationships which exist within this web of interconnectedness. For example, the definitions of cities are even changing, with some urban places classified as mega cities, while others are world class cities.
Furthermore, urban geography is a discipline which is related to many other fields of study such as urban and regional planning, human geography, archaeology and architecture. More importantly, in a futuristic sense, urban geography will continue to be a highly relevant field as more of the world’s population migrates into the most urban spaces of all countries, cities, a pattern currently being observed.
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