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Sustainable agrarian urbanism: The low-density cities of the Mayas and Aztecs
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, African and Comparative Archaeology.
Arizona State University.
2013 (English)In: Cities, ISSN 0264-2751, E-ISSN 1873-6084, Vol. 31, 132-143 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Maya and Aztec cities exhibited a distinctive kind of low-density urbanism common in ancient Mesoamerica. The non-monumental components of these cities differed from the high-density ancient and historical cities in the Old World that are often considered the norm for pre-modern urbanism. Distinctive features include the practice of intensive agricultural cultivation within urban settlements, residential zones that were dispersed and unplanned, and the arrangement of houses into spatial clusters that served as urban neighborhoods. The residential areas of Maya and Aztec cities resembled modern peri-urban zones and informal settlements. Because of the benefits of smallholder intensive urban agriculture, cities thrived for many centuries, and some were successful for millennia. On the basis of this longevity, we argue that these were sustainable cities, and their form and dynamics may hold lessons for understanding contemporary urbanization processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 31, 132-143 p.
Keyword [en]
Maya, Aztec, Urban sustainability, Urban agriculture, Ancient cities, Archaeology
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-181737DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2012.07.012ISI: 000317246900014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-181737DiVA: diva2:557448
Available from: 2012-10-01 Created: 2012-09-27 Last updated: 2013-07-11Bibliographically approved

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Isendahl, Christian
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African and Comparative Archaeology
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