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 City & Time > Vol. 4, No. 3 (2009) open journal systems 

Urban beings or city dwellers? The complementary concepts of urban and city

Clovis Ultramari, PUCPR
Rodrigo Josť Firmino, PUCPR

This paper discusses, essayistically, the concepts of urban and city. It starts with the acceptance that conceptualizing things is not an easy task. Quite the contrary, it is full of complexities, intricate approaches and calls for the consideration of historical and moving related facts. What is certain is that, despite being closely connected, they are different phenomena. Urban is considered something intangible, a way of life, which may characterize our entire contemporary society. ?The world is becoming urbanized!? is in fact a constantly stated mantra in many scientific fields since the Industrial Revolution. City is a real object, territorially delimited, and is represented by the concentration of buildings, roads, public and private spaces, people, altogether in high densities. This justifies the title of this paper: it is hardly difficult in our contemporary society not to be urban, but not necessarily a city dweller. This conceptual exercise turns more difficult when we consider changes involving the characterization of city and urban along history. If technological novelties (mostly information and communication technologies) tend to reduce the importance of physical boundaries and the friction of distance, making people who live in cities much more global than local, what is in fact the meaning of defining the limits of a city? If we can communicate internationally as easy as we do with our neighbours, what are, in fact, the limits and boundaries of our cities? This article searches for answers to this question indicating an already clear need to reconceptualize the terms urban and city. If distance and time were in fact shortened at a universal level, conceptual differences as these showed here may no longer be important, because, then, we are all certainly urban and we all live in a global city.

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City & Time †ISSN: 1807-7544