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By: , Posted on: September 21, 2018

“Geomor-what?”: a common response for someone who studies “The Science of Scenery” (Geomorphology) when asked the age-old question, “So, what do you do?” At its most basic, geomorphology attempts to understand the processes that shape the landforms around us. As the Earth’s human population continues to expand, research dedicated to studying impacts on populated landscapes becomes increasingly important; and geomorphology often lies at the heart of these investigations. A developing sub-field within geomorphology, urban geomorphology endeavors to contribute to an understanding of human-environment interactions and impacts of people on expanding urban environments during the perceived Anthropocene (though sometimes ancient human history can inform us as well).

Our volume, Urban Geomorphology: Landforms and Processes in Cities (Thornbush & Allen, eds) – published in August this year as part of Elsevier’s Earth and Planetary Science acquisitions division – focuses on bringing together researchers from around the world whose work centers on urban geomorphology. Not just in big cities, urban geomorphology occurs anywhere the built environment encroaches on the natural environment: from golf courses, estuaries, and landfills to touristscapes, airports, and parks.

With the built environment as its central focus, this volume’s topics address a broad range of issues from places far and wide. Including studies from all around the globe, we as editors have worked diligently to create a wide-ranging yet poignant collection of current research in urban geomorphology. After an Introduction (peep the free sample by clicking on the link!), the volume is broken into five major sections, each focused on contributing to research on occupation (urbanization) and development as part of an evolving anthropogenic geomorphology:

  • Section I: Paleogeomorphology & Archaeogeomorphology
  • Section II: Anthropogeomorphology
  • Section III: Landscape Influences on Urban Growth
  • Section IV: Developing Geomorphological Hazards During the Anthropocene
  • Section V: Urban Stone Decay: Cultural Stone and its Sustainability in the Built Environment

This volume seeks to shed more light on the anthropogenic transformation of natural landscapes and the environmental impacts and geomorphological hazards that environmental change can encompass, especially where people are concerned. The volume also contributes to developing the concept of “human geomorphology,” where humans are considerable agents of environmental history and landscape change.

While the topic of urban geomorphology has been dealt with in numerous articles, especially in recent years, no focused compendium yet exists that addresses the subject specifically. This volume rectifies that gap in knowledge, bringing together specialists from around the world who conduct ground-breaking research in urban geomorphology, showcasing and highlighting current research trends and directions in this neglected-but-important area of study.

So, if you are interested in approaching landscape from a perspective that includes a more holistic human-environment-built environment standpoint, this book can help. Its interdisciplinary approach is certainly well-suited to audiences from a range of disciplines and professions, including conservationists, land-use planners, architects, and developers as well as the geosciences, social sciences, and engineering. This volume not only transcends across disciplines, it also covers varied spatial-temporal frameworks (read: historical and current urban geomorphology) and presents a diverse set of approaches and solutions to human impacts and (subsequent) geomorphological hazards within urban landscapes.

We are pleased to offer you a free chapter – access this content by clicking here – Introduction. If you find this content interesting, please continue reading and browse the entire book on ScienceDirect.

Need a copy of your own? Save 30% on by entering the promo code STC317 at checkout.

About the Editors

Dr. Mary J. Thornbush is a trained geomorphologist and currently a member of Oriel College. Her research in urban geomorphology began in 2002, when she undertook urban work in environmental geomorphology as part of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford for her doctoral thesis investigating Traffic pollution and urban limestone weathering: central Oxford, England (2005). The study was revisited most recently from an urban sustainability perspective in Vehicular Air Pollution and Urban Sustainability: An Assessment from Central Oxford, UK (2015) and was included in a special issue entitled “Geography, Urban Geomorphology and Sustainability” in the journal Area (2015). Since 2007, Dr. Thornbush has participated in a cross-disciplinary study on rock weathering in urban churchyards that has also contributed to urban geomorphology in books such as Photographs Across Time: Studies in Urban Landscapes (2015), Heritage Stone Conservation in Urban Churchyards: Merging Necrogeography, Historical Archaeology, and Geomorphology (2018), and Changing Deathscapes: Headstones in Urban British Churchyards (2018).

Though well-regarded in the fields of geomorphology, rock/cultural stone decay, and humanistic geography, Dr. Casey D. Allen’s passion rests in helping people explore and discover landscapes as Traditional and Romantic Geographers. A first-generation college student and award-winning teacher-scholar with broad interests, he has been a professional academic advisor, created

and supervised several successful academic and support programs, was selected as a Fulbright Scholar, National Science Foundation Fellow, and Early Career Scholar in Geographic Education, and held various faculty and administrative positions at several universities – including earning tenure at the University of Colorado before serving as Lecturer of Earth/Environmental Science for the Faculty of Science and Technology at The University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus in Barbados. Along with his penchant for travel, Dr. Allen also retains interests and expertise in soils and biological soil crusts, landscape/geoarchaeology, rock art, botany, and regional studies. Follow him on Twitter (@caseallen) and see his website ( for more.


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Earth & Environmental Science

The fields of Earth science, planetary sciences, and environmental science encompass disciplines critical to the future of our world and its inhabitants. Our well-being depends on a thorough understanding of air and water resources, soil chemistry, atmospheric dynamics, geology, and geochemistry, along with a myriad of other aspects of the environment we live in. Elsevier supports the efforts of researchers and scholars in these areas with content that meets their cross-disciplinary needs: journals, books, eBooks, and online tools that span computer science, chemistry, energy, engineering, biology, agronomy, ecology, environmental impact and many other topics fundamental to the study of our world. Learn more about our Earth and Environmental Science books here.