Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Flammable cities: Urban conflagration and the making of the modern world


Greg Bankoff

Uwe Lübken

Jordan Sand


In most cities today, fire has been reduced to a sporadic and isolated threat. But throughout history the constant risk of fire has left a deep and lasting imprint on almost every dimension of urban society. This volume, the first truly global study of urban conflagration, shows how fire has shaped cities throughout the modern world, from Europe to the imperial colonies, major trade entrepôts, and non-European capitals, right up to such present-day megacities as Lagos and Jakarta. Urban fire may hinder commerce or even spur it; it may break down or reinforce barriers of race, class, and ethnicity; it may serve as a pretext for state violence or provide an opportunity for displays of state benevolence. As this volume demonstrates, the many and varied attempts to master, marginalize, or manipulate fire can turn a natural and human hazard into a highly useful social and political tool.


Bankoff, G., Lübken, U., & Sand, J. (2012). G. Bankoff, U. Lübken, & J. Sand (Eds.). Flammable cities: Urban conflagration and the making of the modern world. Wisconsin, USA: University of Wisconsin Press

Book Type Edited Book
Publication Date 2012
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2014
Publisher University of Wisconsin Press
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Book Title Flammable Cities: Urban Conflagration and the Making of the Modern World
ISBN 9780299283841
Keywords REF 2014 submission
Public URL
Publisher URL