Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Current Research on Cities

In the first posting to the URBlog, which was only coincidentally dated April Fool’s day, I mentioned a new publishing venture titled Current Research on Cities. One of the goals of this forum is to attract readers to CRoC, which will appear first in early 2012 as a supplement to the Elsevier journal CITIES.

CRoC is designed to be the first meta-journal in the field of urban studies. In the same way that meta-analysis draws on existing research to synthesize what is known on a topic, a meta-journal pulls together what we know about a field and keep researchers up to date. These kinds of publications are not entirely new. In some of the life and physical sciences, the output of material is so vast that it would be a full time job just to keep track of what is being published. The urgency might seem overdrawn, but much science is big business, especially where pharmaceuticals are involved.

Urban studies may not be the kind of discipline in which immediacy is paramount but it is a vast field. At one end, it includes physical sciences such as geology, meteorology and climatology, and ecology.  It tends to be centered upon the social and behavioral sciences, where subfields such as urban economics and urban politics are quite visible, but many disciplines have an urban focus, including law and psychology. There is also all the research and publication that can be subsumed under urban policy, which ranges from innovative city governments passing ordnances dealing with climate change through to national governments throughout the world (many of which have sustainable city initiatives) and then the global entities such as the UN and the World Bank that have taken leadership roles in focusing on urban affairs. This spectrum then continues towards the work of the humanities, which too contains a vast amount of material, some academic (including philosophical discussions of the city and historic analysis of urban development) and some relating explicitly to the urban experience, manifested in written form, video and music.

No individual could be in control of more than a fraction of this material. However, a network of Associate Editors and I will be able to find the very best people to summarize what is happening in all of these arenas and to maintain a record of what is being published. Our goal is that this meta-journal will not merely summarize the field for its members but will also supply material for researchers looking to find current thinking on urban concepts such as neighborhoods as they design their own research, or techniques such as GIS or remote sensing. 

CRoC is a work under construction and the first papers are being commisioned...so this is an excellent time for readers to comment on what they would like to see in the journal!

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