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- Most people, no matter where they live know intuitively what a city is, and there are numerous brief and quite reasonable definitions which describe the city. Spiro Kostoff in "The City Shaped" (Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1991) puts a gloss on all of these with a list of nine simple premises about cities. Kostoff's definition is interesting, and one which most people would probably be comfortable with. If we can agree that there is much about our cities that is worthy of conserving, and that it is important to think in terms of their character, it becomes particularly relevant because it effectively demonstrates that conservation is not just about physical form, but must include many other considerations.