Major Session, European Association of Urban History Conference, Ghent,
1-4 September 2010
THE DECLINE OF THE INDUSTRIAL CITY
Richard Harris (Geography, McMaster University, Canada) firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Gunn (History, Leicester University, U.K.) email@example.com
The rise of the industrial city, that is to say of urban centres dominated by manufacturing, was a major feature of western Europe and North America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It both expressed and enabled economic growth. It also propelled the urbanization of society, with diverse social, political, and cultural consequences. The decline of industrial cities since the mid-twentieth century has been compensated and counterbalanced to varying degrees by the growth of office and service employment. Nonetheless, decline has had major and diverse consequences, not least for urban infrastructure and the built environment.
Historians have paid a great deal of attention to the rise of the industrial city but, in contrast to social scientists, have mostly neglected its recent and ongoing decline. This is understandable because, even in North America, it is only recently that urban historians have begun to pay serious attention to the postwar city, which is when industrial decline became most apparent. In the current period of global economic crisis and restructuring, it is timely to consider the character and consequences of industrial decline. The purpose of the proposed major session would be to explore thematic aspects of this decline within a comparative frame of reference. The co-organizers invite papers on the economic, social, and cultural aspects of urban-industrial decline in Europe and North America, primarily since 1945. We especially welcome papers that are sensitive to manifestations upon the urban landscape.
If you are interested in contributing to this session, please contact either of the organizers, Richard Harris and Simon Gunn, at the email address above. Formal proposals must be submitted through the main conference website http://www.eauh2010.ugent.be/paperproposals between 1 October and 1 December 2009.
Professor Simon Gunn
Centre for Urban History
University of Leicester
Leicester LE1 7RH
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