Although the practice of academic research is meant to be an objective activity, one part of the ‘postmodernisation’ of such work has been a greater recognition of our subjective investment in it. The anthropologist and psychoanalyst, George Devereux, once wrote that all research is autobiographical, and this seems particularly clear in recent writings about urban space and cities. City of Quartz, by Mike Davis (Davis 1990) is a passionate, sorrowful love letter to ‘his’ city. Richard Sennett’s walk up Manhattan to Fourteenth Street in The Conscience of the Eye (Sennett 1990) is autobiographical as well as analytical. François Maspero’s Roissy Express (Maspero 1993) is even more explicitly personal-an exploration of the Paris banlieues by a dedicated Parisian. I, therefore, shall not apologise for beginning on an autobiographical note, and although I shall not explore the reasons why this subjective vein is so especially strong in urban writing, it must have something to do with the importance of place in any individual’s sense of identity. It seems also to build on the feminist recognition of the importance of subjective experience and the insistence by feminists on the validity of the personal.