Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
Produced by Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos (ICUA), an urban island studies research network under the Island Dynamics organization, Urban Island Studies is “situated at the intersection of island studies and urban studies.” In their heavily-footnoted (117 notes) Introduction to the inaugural issue of Urban Island Studies (2015), the editorial board notes that:
“Island studies tends to focus on peripheral, isolated, and marginal aspects of island communities, while urban studies has showed scant awareness of islandness: Although many people research cities on islands, there is little tradition of researching island cities or urban archipelagos per se. Island cities (densely populated small islands and population centres of larger islands and archipelagos) nevertheless play import cultural, economic, political, and environmental roles on local, regional, and global scales. Many major cities and ports have developed on small islands, and even villages can fulfil important urban functions on lightly populated islands. Island concepts are also deployed to metaphorically describe developments in urban space. The journal Urban Island Studies explores island and urban processes around the world, taking an island approach to urban research and an urban approach to island research.”
The stated goal of the journal is “to develop knowledge across disciplines, offering an urban perspective within island studies and an island perspective within urban studies.” They have gathered a truly international group to undertake this endeavor; members of the board come from Sweden, Spain, Canada, North Cypress, Egypt, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the United States, Taiwan, and India.
In addition to the lengthy Introduction, the first issue offers eight other scholarly articles: “The Promise and Perils of the Island City of George Town (Penang) as a Creative City,” “Ports and Digital Ports: The Narrative Construction and Social Imaginaries of the Island City of Mumbai,” “The Impacts of Islandness on the Urbanism and Architecture of Mombasa,” “The Aquapelago and the Estuarine City: Reflections on Manhattan,” “Making Ground, Losing Space: Land Reclamation and Urban Public Space in Island Cities,” “Suburban Processes of Islandisation in Austria: The Cases of Vienna and Tyrol,” “Political Ecology Approach to Island Tourism Planning and Climate Change Adaptation: A Methodological Exploration,” and “Political Ecology, Island Tourism Planning, and Climate Change Adaptation on Boracay.” The issue also offers reviews of five books likely to be of interest to those studying the urban nature of some islands: “Offshoring” by John Urry, “The Politics of Urban Water: Changing Waterscapes in Amsterdam,” by Kimberly Kinder, “The Political Economy of Divided Islands: Unified Geographies, Multiple Polities,” by Godfrey Baldacchino (ed.), and “The Petropolis of Tomorrow,” by Neeraj Bhatia & Mary Cooper (eds.) & The Design of Frontier Spaces: Control and Ambiguity,” by Carolyn Loeb & Andreas Luescher (eds).
This journal offers an intriguing new perspective to both island studies and urban studies, and should be brought to the attention of a wide range of scholars in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.