Seven symposia on urban development in Latin America from pre-Columbian times to the present have been held in conjunction with the International Conference of Americanists since 1966. These meetings have become the most open, wide-ranging, and durable example of collaboration and exchange of ideas in the field. We can be thankful to Richard Morse, Jorge Hardoy, Woodrow Borah, Richard Schaedel, and others who have organized, participated in, and drawn others into their evolving discussion.
This volume, introduced by Morse, contains papers read at the meeting in Paris (1976) where the assignment was to prepare “middle-range state-of-the-art reviews” designed to “yield a selective panorama of the field as a whole” (p. 5). That goal has been met. Indeed, this is the most important brief report combining bibliography, synthesis, interpretation, and areas in need of research since Richard Morse’s long article of 1971.
Here there is only space to list the individual contributions: Graziano Gasparini and Luise Margolies, “Urban Settlements of the Incas”; Woodrow Borah, “Demographic and Physical Aspects of the Transition from the Aboriginal to the Colonial World”; David A. Brading, “The City in Bourbon Spanish America: Elite and Masses”; Harley L. Browning and Bryan R. Roberts, “Urbanization, Sectoral Transformation, and the Utilization of Labor in Latin America”; Alan G. Gilbert, “Planning for Urban Primacy and Large Cities in Latin America: A Critique of the Literature”; Colin G. Clarke and Peter M. Ward, “Stasis in Makeshift Housing: Perspectives from Mexico and the Caribbean.”
It is a pity that we have had to wait five years for these papers to appear in print; they would have been that much more useful had they been circulated sooner. Except for the essay by Gasparini and Margolies, which has been republished in their Inca Architecture and should be consulted there where it is supported by extensive plates and maps, all of the essays are rewarding. Those by Borah, Brading, and Browning and Roberts are particularly instructive because they offer clear, carefully schematized suggestions for dealing with broad and complex issues.