The theme of this collection, originated by the City Cultures Research Unit at the University of Plymouth,is the mutual relation between cultures and patterns of settlement. The term culture is used here in both the narrow sense of cultural production, as in the arts, and in the broader, anthropological sense to describe the countless everyday expressions of value and response to circumstances which collectively become a way of life. From the anthropological definition, it could seem that nothing is excluded from culture – and in a way that is the case – but the point is that people in different circumstances have different cultures, and the differences which emerge make cultural analysis an interesting process. A further concern, for this collection, is how the fields implied by culture’s two definitions interact. How, for instance, do artists use their specialist skills to lend visibility to the events and traces of everyday life which state the culture of a particular social group? Or, to what extent is that broader culture recognized by policy makers and planners as having an intricacy and depth equivalent to the (for them) more familiar field of the arts? How, since they are always contested, are cultural identities reconstructed,by whom and for whom?