Urban geography is the study of the site, evolution, morphology, spatial pattern, and classification of towns. Historically, three themes may be distinguished: the quantitative, descriptive approach, establishing the spatial organization of the city; the behavioural method, emphasizing the decision-making process within the perceived environment; and the radical tradition, which stresses not only the spatial inequalities within a city and the inequitable distribution of resources, but suggests strategies to remedy these inequalities. Some geographers look for diversity of the urban form, modelling urban morphologies associated with continents, or levels of economic development; others look for similarities, pointing out that urban poverty and inequality are found world-wide, and that only the extents are different. More recently, geographers have looked at social justice and the power relations within the city (D. Harvey 1996; R. Fincher and J. M. Jacobs (eds.) 1998).
Currently, the city is perceived as a physical and metaphorical entity, bound into a coherent whole by symbols and structures. The city is a discourse; a place of interaction, connection, and disconnection, multiply linked not only with its catchment, but with other cities around the world (J. Allen, D. Massey, and Proke (eds.) 1999). For current developments in urban geography, see Moore et al., Area pp.35