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Publication Details

Reference
Burgess, Rod  (2007) Technological Determinism and Urban Fragmentation : A Critical Analysis. School of the Built Environment , Oxford Brookes University : 1-31.

Summary
Introduction
A wide range of theories has been proposed to explain the process of urban fragmentation and its effects. These theories often differ over what is meant by or conceived of as the ‘urban’ and therefore what is identified as being fragmented : the urban structure ; the urban form ; the system of land uses ; public or private space ; the system of cities or the socio-economic and cultural integrity of the city etc . And of course the different urban disciplines of architecture, design and planning all have their own ‘spatial fix’ whether it is the building , the project or the city. Despite these differences three theoretical approaches can be recognised according to their basic presuppositions about what is ultimately driving socio-economic, political and cultural change and changes to the organisation of urban space . Similarly three theoretical approaches to the issue of urban fragmentation can be identified within all of the urban disciplines : the first is based on ‘technologically deterministic’ positions ; the second on socio-economic and political explanations and the third elaborates its explanations for the phenomenon in cultural terms. In reality all of these aspects are interlinked in the city but the question of which of them are dominant and determinant lies at the heart of disagreements over the causes of urban fragmentation. In this paper we shall examine and critically analyse the explanations put forward for urban fragmentation by the first of these three theoretical positions .Before proceeding it is worthwhile giving a definition of urban fragmentation : ‘ Urban fragmentation is a spatial phenomenon that results from the act of breaking up , breaking off from , or disjointing the pre-existing form and structure of the city and systems of cities

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