The INTRODUCTION presents perspectives
on English towns and cities by commentators at different periods, and
features in particular FitzStephen's "Description of London".
The COMMUNITY section addresses various
aspects of social life: what defined membership in the community and what
were its privileges and obligations; social institutions; religious
attitudes; communal events and activities (e.g. recreational); antisocial
behaviour; and the construction and maintenance of the physical fabric
and urban amenities.
The ECONOMY section explores the
conduct of commercial and industrial activities, locally, regionally, and
internationally, and the regulation of commerce and labour by national and
local governments as well as by gilds.
The GOVERNMENT section examines
constitutional development and political activities in towns, and looks at
some of the key functions of government: the maintenance of law and order,
the protection of the populace, and fiscal administration.
The LIFECYCLE section focuses on the
individual and aspects of personal life: childhood and education; marriage;
careers and the accumulation of worldly goods; health; retirement and
death. Women's rights and roles in society are also considered here.