Intercultural Urbanism

City Planning from the Ancient World to the Modern Day

Dean Saitta


The first major study to apply an intercultural approach to cities and city building outside Europe,

considering the role of social and cultural sustainability in city building.

Cities today are paradoxical. They are engines of innovation and opportunity, but they are also plagued by significant income inequality and segregation by ethnicity, race, and class. These inequalities and segregations are often reinforced by the urban built environment: the planning of space and the design of architecture. This condition threatens attainment of wider social and economic prosperity. In this innovative new study, Dean Saitta explores questions of urban sustainability by taking an intercultural, trans-historical approach to city planning.

Saitta uses a largely untapped body of knowledge—the archaeology of cities in the ancient world—to generate ideas about how public space, housing, and civic architecture might be better designed to promote inclusion and community, while also making our cities more environmentally sustainable.   By integrating this knowledge with knowledge generated by evolutionary studies and urban ethnography (including a detailed look at Denver, Colorado, one of America’s most desirable and fastest growing ‘destination cities’ but one that is also experiencing significant spatial segregation and gentrification), Saitta’s book offers an invaluable new perspective for urban studies scholars and urban planning professionals.”

Author Bio

Dean Saitta is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Urban Studies program at the University of Denver. His research interests include ancient city planning and design, comparative architectural and urban form, and North American archaeology. He is the co-author of Denver: An Archaeological History (2000). 

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction 
  • 2. Contemporary Urbanisms: A Critical Conceptual Analysis
  • 3. Culture and The City: Ethnographic and Evolutionary Approaches
  • 4. Intercultural Urbanism: A Deep Time Perspective
  • 5. Toward the Intercultural City: Good Starts, Promising Directions, and Alternative Models
  • 6. Conclusion
  • References
  • Index


'Saitta is unique in that he is as sharp a critic of contemporary urbanism as any geographer or city planner, while at the same time bringing to bear a career of research on ancient cities and forms of life. This book does an excellent job of synthesizing vast amounts of scholarship while showcasing new data from contemporary and archaeological case studies.'
Scott Hutson, University of Kentucky

'This book is in the vanguard of efforts that use cities from the distant past to shed light on contemporary urban processes. It gives scholars, policy makers, students, and others interested in urbanism today much to think about.'
Michael E. Smith, Arizona State University


Publication Date: 23 July 2020
256 pages

Product ISBNs: Hardback: 9781786994097
eBook ePub: 9781786994127
eBook PDF: 9781786994110

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