Despite the distance in time and culture, the millennia of gradual urban development

which preceded industrialization established the foundations of our civic life and it

is important to extract themes from the dense sediment of that history. The broad

scope of this period (from the settlements of the ancient Near East until the familiar

cities of the eighteenth century) requires that a selective interpretation is inevitable,

a process designed to support my particular argument. This chapter will therefore deal

with three distinct historical phases within the Western canon of urbanism – antiquity,

the Middle Ages and (perhaps surprisingly) the middle years of the twentieth century

– to trace one strand in the creation of urban form. The major theme which connects

them is how the buildings and spaces of the city represent and support the civic ethos,

rooting the urban identity of the citizens to the highly articulated place.