Historical Roots of Cities: Reexamining and Disentangling First and Second-Nature Geography

Duc Nguyen

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Why did some of these humble settlements develop into cities while others remained small? Is it set in stone that the largest cities remain large or can large catastrophes lead a city's development astray while others arise? And can policies that target improvements in a city's centuries old transport infrastructure help to ease the higher demand for inner city transportation in a more urbanized and motorized world? In three empirical chapters, this thesis uses and introduces novel approaches that tackle methodological challenges surrounding these and more questions on the "Historical Roots of Cities".
In chapter 2, we look at the landscape of settlements during the early Middle Ages around today's Germany and beyond, as most of today's cities have their origin around that time. Here, we study the role of different types of geography on which sites developed into cities and which did not during Medieval and Modern times, as well as which types retained their relevance.
In chapter 3, towards more recent times, the WWII destruction of German cities offer a unique opportunity to see whether the population of cities recover from large-scale and widespread devastation or are permanently affected.
In chapter 4, we look at the potential of WWII in unlocking a city's infrastructure that persisted for many centuries. In particular, we evaluate the impact of the drive towards a car-friendly inner city after WWII on suburbanization.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Brakman, Steven, Supervisor
  • Garretsen, Harry, Supervisor
  • Kohl, Tristan, Co-supervisor
Award date17-Feb-2022
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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