21-25 October 2014
Copenhagen | Denmark
A diversity of island cities
Islands are often associated with peripherality, yet over the course of human history, they have also been important sites of urban development. Many important regional cities and global cities have developed wholly or partially on small islands or archipelagos. Physical separation from the mainland and spatial limitations along with a maritime tradition can encourage the transport of products and ideas, improved defence infrastructure, construction of social capital, consolidation of political power, formation of vibrant cultures, and concentration of population. Some such island-based cities were located on inland river islands and have since expanded far beyond their original borders (for example, Paris and Strasbourg) while others are still strongly associated with their island cores (for example, Hong Kong and New York City).
Major population centres located on larger, primarily rural islands and archipelagos represent another type of island city. Each of these cities is affected not just by the dynamics at work in urban areas in general but also by the special functions it gains from acting as a metropolis that provides goods and services to rural island hinterlands.