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Urbanism as a Science: Historical and Linguistic Essay about Urban Theory

Abstract: A true scientific paper should start with the definition of the terminology and basic research methods and in this very aspect we encounter a problem, which this treatise deals with. Since 1989 approaches to town building and planning in the Czech Republic have fundamentally changed with an utterly insufficient reflection on a theoretical level. In the course of this period a number of sub-topics emerged ranging from human-oriented urbanism particularly in the area of open-air public spaces to economic issues of area utilisation (urban or land economy). Topics such as suburbanization, re-urbanization, brownfields etc. are researched, but urbanism itself as a theoretical (scientific) discipline is starting to slowly but definitely disintegrate due to these focuses on particular aspects. The notion of what urbanism is or is not thus changes literally from one person to another, without discussions being held on this topic among individual “urban” schools or on a inter-generational basis. The objective of this paper is therefore to contemplate different concepts of urbanism in a historic context and in various cultural and social systems and to contribute to (or more likely to open) discussions about the role of urbanism in the current Czech context. On the basis of the analysis of the urbanism concept in a historic retrospective, various concepts of “urbanism” have been analysed starting with the conception as a scientific discipline and ending as a practical planning tool. Simultaneously, the concept of urbanism in various language areas has been studied alongside the comparison of foreign language definitions and interpretations of this term. Subsequently, the paper deals with the search for the current Czech urban paradigm in the forest of urbanism concepts of the surrounding world and its integration as a theoretical scientific discipline into the system of relating scientific disciplines.

ŠILHÁNKOVÁ, Vladimíra (2015). Urbanismus jako věda: historicko-lingvistické pojednání o pojetí urbanismu. In: Pavel Holubec, ed. Člověk, stavba a územní plánování 8. ČVUT v Praze, Fakulta stavební pp. 10-22. ISBN 978-80-01-05655-4. ISSN 2336-7695.