Urban Geography by Michael Pacione

9780415462020_p0_v1_s550x406Nonfiction — print. Routledge, 2009. 705 pgs. Purchased.

More people now live in urban regions/cities than live in the rural parts of the world. This fact is the reason why I decided to take an urban geography class because it’s important to understand the unique problems the world’s cities and urban dwellers face. Pacione’s book serves as an introduction to the field of urban geography as well as the problems facing urban regions, and is divided into six parts.

Part One covers the field of urban geography as well as the importance of a global perspective on the issues facing cities. Part Two covers the growth of cities from the earliest times to the present day as well as looks as the development of major regions of the world. Part Three looks at land use changes in Western cities (i.e. United States and Europe), and Part Four examines the economy, society, and politics of the Western city. The last two parts, Part Five and Part Six, look at the urban geography of the Third World and the future of cities and cities of the future (i.e. sustainable cities), respectively.

Pacione’s book is very detailed, very dense, and very dry. The book is full of useful information and that information is presented in text, chart and table format. Unfortunately, it is not the most fun thing to read because of how dry and dense it is. It took me a while to get use to his writing style and to adjust to how ‘British’ this book is. What I mean is that the author spells urbanization with an ‘s’ rather than a ‘z’. That sounds silly but for someone who has difficulty spelling, it can be a bit of an adjustment.

The information in this book, however, wasn’t really utilized in my class. This is to no fault of the author, but what was important for my class was not included in this book. With that in mind, I’m not exactly sure why my professor decided to assign this book for our class. I did, however, utilize the book for the two research papers we had to write, but I still would not recommend it for the average person to pick up and try to learn about urban issues.


  1. Ugh. I hate when professors require certain books but don’t use them in class. Too bad this book was so dense. I would really like to find a reader-friendly book on urban geography. Thanks for sharing with us.


    • I don’t mind buying textbooks if they are used for my class. It’s the ones that don’t that make me so frustrated with spending all this money on textbooks.

      Anyways, if I find a good reader-friendly book on urban geography, I certainly will let you know. I’ve changed the concentration of my geography major from environmental to urban/development so hopefully I’ll find one soon. I’d like one myself.


  2. It’s frustrating when books don’t get used in class. Even if they’re interesting, I want to read them on my own terms. I second Vasilly’s wanting to find a reader-friendly book on this topic. My sister is studying architecture and has talked about this topic a lot, but I wish I knew more and could talk with her about it.


    • It would be nice if you and your sister could talk about this subject together as it is rather interesting. Mark Davis has written some books on the problems of urbanization that, from what I’ve read (first couple of chapters), are really good.


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