Despite the great progress made in the fields of island studies and urban studies over recent decades, little attention has been paid to island cities per se. Indeed, some may consider island studies and urban studies to be mutually exclusive areas of inquiry. Nevertheless, there is a strong correlation between islandness and urbanity: Over the course of human history, many important regional, global, and capital cities have developed wholly or partially on small islands or archipelagos and are almost invariably coastal (located near seas or along rivers). 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. Examples of cities that are largely contiguous with small islands include Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York, St Petersburg, Singapore, and Venice.
Another kind of island city is represented by the capital city or major population centre of larger, primarily rural islands or archipelagos. 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. Examples of this kind of city include Havana, Manila, Palermo, Reykjavik, and Taipei.
Island Studies Journal (ISJ) (http://www.islandstudies.ca/journal) and Island Dynamics (http://www.islanddynamics.org) invite submissions to a special joint publication on ‘Understanding Island Cities’. Selected peer-reviewed papers will be published in a Continue reading