Week 12: Chapter 9

Urban public behavior describes exactly that, how individuals act and respond to actions in our urban spaces. It is important because not only does it help define our urban environments, but it also helps establish culture within our urban spaces. It helps define what is acceptable and what isn’t, what structures our society, and helps establish practices for large group of urban dwellers.

Peking, or modern day Ming Bejing, was city structured similarly to Hellenic Athens; both cities had defensive walls, a gridiron street pattern, inequality, and many monuments. A major difference between the cities was how in they were ruled, and what the monuments meant to them. In Peking, a holy emperor ruled over them, and the monuments the people erected were to pay worship to said emperor. Meanwhile, in Hellenic Athens, the city was ruled through democracy, and the monuments they built were to honor the idea of the “good life”. Symbolism in the city has always really been defined through economic development. As money has come and gone, the city has always been a symbol of economic spirit. The rise of capitalism has really changed what symbolism meant in a city. The concept of consumerism helped to change the role of the city, and what people wanted out of the city to better their lives. This can cause problems for not only other individuals in the city but also lives outside of the city itself through poverty creation, environmental concerns, and the global economics factor.

Cities are built on a grid pattern with streets running perpendicular to each other for a variety or reasons. It’s more efficient, it’s easier to construct, it’s easier to navigate for both residents and guests, and it has a positive impact on land assessment. Most urban centers have followed this design, and shown that it works, so others follow along.

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