I am an avid collector of old books in Urban Studies. My collection has been built up over many years and is substantial. I would encourage everyone interested in Urban Studies to not be seduced into only reading the ‘latest’ books. I find that reading the ‘foundational’ books in the field of Urban Studies enables an informed perspective on the claims of many contemporary authors. My current obsession revolves around the books of Jane Jacobs, and old ‘post-colonial’ books. These are very interesting when read against the claims of many contemporary urban thinkers!
Perhaps the most striking applications of my knowledge of ‘old urban studies’ to date are:
First, my account of the historical development of the world city and global city concepts which reveals innumerable errors in extant contemporary accounts: see Smith RG (2014) “Beyond the global-city concept and the myth of ‘command and control’”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38 (1), January, 98–115 (published on-line June 19th [doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12024]).
Second, a paper that reveals the numerous errors in the so-called ‘Ordinary Cities’ literature: see Smith RG (2013) “The ordinary city trap”, Environment and Planning A, 45 (10), October, 2290–2304.