In his classic work The City in History, Mumford reconstructs the development of the idea of the city from ‘a city that was, symbolically, a world’ to ‘a world that has become, in many practical aspects, a city’ (Mumford, 1961, p. xi). Along different lines, Lefebvre (1970, p. 7) predicted the ‘complete urbanization of society’ in so far as the urban would eventually envelop all ways of being, thinking, and acting. If on the one hand this remains a working hypothesis, on the other hand the dissemination of urban culture is pervasive and influential. By urban culture we mean a process, typical of late modernity, which emanates from the city but is also the result of the relationship between the wider culture and the city and of how urban culture impacts on the city itself. Studies examining such aspects have been at the centre of sociological and anthropological research (Redfield and Singer, 1954; Harvey 1973, 1989, 1996, 2006) but we position this book in relation to debates that have been percolating through sociolinguistics over recent decades. We exploit representations of the city which have moulded the collective imagination whereby the city as symbol is the epitome of social breakdown, anonymity, loneliness, forms of marginalization, and crime. However, it is also a privileged site of encounter and mobility, a laboratory of social and cultural activity, and a magnet for human energy.