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City as space, city as place: sources and the urban historian


Pascoe Leahy, C, City as space, city as place: sources and the urban historian, History Australia, 7, (2) pp. 30.1-30.18. ISSN 1449-0854 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.2104/ha100030


As historians, the sources that we use affect the way we view the city in the past. Documentary sources composed by experts on the city such as urban planners are generally useful ways to understand urban ‘space’: the city viewed as an abstract physical entity. But we need human stories also to understand urban ‘place’: the lived experience of a locality. This paper draws upon research into Melbourne’s urban environment in the 1950s which compares the ways in which urban planners viewed the city and the ways in which children experienced the city. Urban planners tended to talk about the city in quantifiable terms, mapping school locations, administrative boundaries, traffic routes and recreational spaces. People who were children in the 1950s were more likely to describe their neighbourhoods in social, emotive and phenomenological terms, for these are the types of associations which embed memories. For urban historians, our choice of sources fundamentally shapes the ways in which the historical cityscape can be remembered and recreated.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:history, Australia, urban history, space, place, memory
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Pascoe Leahy, C (Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy)
ID Code:148742
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2022-02-04
Last Modified:2022-03-17

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