Category Archives: socy327

Jailyn Williams Week 9

Cities are complex entities that exist within geographic and climatic settings that naturally shape them. The hands and minds of human beings also play a part, as people add new things to their city making it unique. Certain characteristics like waterways, seaports, lake ports, or on major rivers that determine whether an area becomes a city at all. Even cities that aren’t on important waterways are where they are because there were enough streams and lakes to support their populations initially. Environmental, economic, and social factors play a role in creating an urban area. Environmentally, the area cannot be infested with disease-producing organisms, be subject to extreme heat or cold, or exist on a floodplain. Economically, industries relocate closer to its source, where the transportation costs of both raw materials and the final product would be the lowest. Finally, social factors come into play with city location. The seven factors that identify where cities are located are natural crossroads, break-of-bulk points, access to valuable raw material, amenity city, administrative or political city, strategic military location, and religious or educational reasons.

European cities are usually Radiocentric which means they radiate outward from a common center. As any city grows, people want to be close to the center as possible to make travel easier. Most foreign countries look like huge wheels, with central spokes radiating outward. Despite the common radical pattern of most of the world’s cities, North American cities are Gridiron cities. These cities are composed of straight streets crossing at right angles to create many regular city blocks. This type of city was built after the industrial revolution. Open-ended streets serve businesses as well because they allow room for growth as well as easy access to and from the shopping area.

Robert Park coined the term human ecology that focused on what he viewed as an orderly evolution of urban growth and development. He investigated how human beings live in their urban world. He believed that the evolutionary struggle for survival was evident in the everyday competition for scarce resources. Ernest Burgess, one of Parks students suggested that a city develops growing outward in a series of concentric rings or zones over time. He described the city in four main zones with a fifth commuters zone outside the city limit. The loop, zone in transition, the zone of workingmen’s homes, and residential area zones.

Homer Hoyt noticed that numerous city districts did not conform to the purely concentric model suggested by Burgess. He studied the residential patterns of 142 cities in three different time periods, 1900, 1915, and 1936 adding an important historical dimension. First, he found that high prestige sectors formed of varying size. Second, many sectors take a pie-shaped form rather than a ring. Third, lower income sectors often bordered fashionable districts. Fourth, he found a tendency for sectors to move out of the city. Fifth, cities revealed two or three fashionable areas in different places, with factors other than competition and population movement influencing this process. Hoyts Sector theory offered a helpful description of urban expansion along major highways and later, along interstate highways that contributed to the development of suburbia.

Central place theory was created by Walter Christaller.  He sought to explain size, location and the reason behind settling in urban areas. Christaller suggested that more important city’s economic function to a region, the more its population will increase. In turn, the cities hinterland smaller cities, towns, and rural areas become dependent on the large city for many goods and services that their smaller populations cannot support. This would make the city grown even more. He also suggested that cities, especially smaller ones, typically space themselves so that they do not cut into each other’s markets. In other words, cities emerge at ” distance intervals”, with each serving a local hinterland.

Only those who can pay the most will locate in the city’s center. This is why the downtown is primarily a business district, with whatever residential property there taking the form of smaller apartments typically piled high on a small amount of land. Most residents can’t afford the high rent so they live in high-density housing, sharing an apartment with another family or receiving assistance through a rent subsidy program.

The Los Angeles School emerged in the mid-1980’s as a rejection of the Chicago school. Originally focusing on the five-county region of Southern California, this perspective has its emphasis on multicentered, dispersed patterns as the new reality of urban growth.

Jailyn Williams Week 6

In theoretical terms, writers have challenged the view that geographical patterns merely reflect society, suggesting instead that space is integral to economic and social processes. The model assumes that jobs were concentrated near the city center, except for a few large factories at the fringe. It supposes that jobs and low wages kept immigrant workers in central cities, sometimes in sectors along radial rail lines. The processes and patterns of urban development in the U.S and Canada were broadly similar. The importance of jobs, especially in manufacturing, patterns of residence as being dependent on job location and transportation but also on variations in how homes were used as sites of unpaid work. Finally, we see the political geography of metropolitan areas as both an expression and a determinant of social patterns. The point of this article was to give a broad scope of their argument. They explore the major themes and discuss their immediate implications. Their argument is meant to apply equally to Canadian and U.S cities and suburbs.

Nothing matters more to a city than jobs. In the first half of the twentieth century, decentralization was the fate reserved for a few, specific industries, while offices and stores defined and were defined by, the CBD. The authors argue that the decentralization of manufacturing employment began very early and that patterns have long been polynuclear. We also suggest that many offices and even retail employment had developed outside the CBD before World War 2, blurring their supposed contrasts with manufacturing. The geography of manufacturing was concentrated in a zone that encircled the CBD. The most flexible and accurate label for the geography of manufacturing is polynuclear, a term that owes much to ideas first advanced by Harris and Ullman a half a century ago. Visual inspection of the maps of manufacturing districts in Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal demonstrates the inadequacy of zone as a label. By 1940, Chicago had as many employing suburbs as did Los Angeles. Manufacturing location has been interrupted within a Weberian framework, which states that a firms location decision is the result of a rational appraisal of transportation costs, land prices, taxes, labor and proximity to other firms.

In the first half of the twentieth century, there was a good deal more office employment outside the CBD than is generally supposed. Most discussions of suburban retailing have focused on planned shopping centers, which are usually interpreted as a postwar phenomenon. Longstretch has noted that the rapid growth of shopping centers in the 1950’s would not have been possible without the groundwork laid by numerous projects undertaken in the preceding decades. Retail business was not planned it was discussed but, there is nothing to say if it really was or not. Stand-alone stores, commercial areas, and strips had developed with little or no coordination in American cities until the early twentieth century. Planned or unplanned, suburban retailing accounted for a significant amount of metropolitan-wide retail sales and employment.

By mid-century, as informed observers recognized, suburbs, like cities, had long contained all classes of people. By 1920, there was a close association between industry and working-class settlement. There was a tendency for immigrants and racialized minorities to concentrate in cities. African Americans were confined to the central city, in part because of discriminatory lending practices. By 1950, immigrants made up almost as high a proportion of the population of suburbs (9 percent) as of cities (11 percent), the respective percentages for black (4.5 and 12.6 percent) were quite different. Central ghettos have attracted a good deal of attention, but they represented only one part of the immigrant experience. The authors believe that the social geography of urban areas did not conform even approximately to the stereotype of urban ghetto slums and affluent suburban enclaves. The location of jobs was of fundamental importance and the improvements in transportation technology.

Unpaid labor varied with residential location. Cooking and cleaning took longer in areas, usually suburban that lacked piped water. Owner building was easier and sometimes only possible in areas where building regulations were permissive, again typically suburban. This unserviced and unregulated suburb offered households the best opportunity to supplement monetary income with unpaid labor. This appealed to the families of immigrant workers, who were willing to make exceptional sacrifices to acquire a home.

The industrial capital guaranteed that its need for factory sites toward the urban fringe would be accommodated by suburban and city governments. One result was the organized factory district. Usually located in the suburbs, these were planned privately by railway and real estate companies and supported by local government. Varied patterns of house building and land development, as well as the emergence of social diversity at the urban fringe, depended on the fragmentation of government within the metropolitan area. Political fragmentation enabled rich suburbs to exclude the poor, along with racial and ethnic minorities, thereby confining them to the city.


Jailyn Williams Week 7

As Canada and the United States increase in population, additional space is necessary for the construction of residences and businesses to meet the needs of a larger populace. Moreover, the days when most people lived in cities are gone. Now, most people prefer to have their own home on their own plot of land in suburbia. The development of vacant land is a necessity, but it becomes problematic when a lack of regional planning leads to an inefficient impact on the environment and increases costs for everyone. Sprawl is a term referring to spread out or low-density residential development beyond the edge of service and employment areas. It separates where people live from where they work, shop, and seek leisure activities or an education, requiring them to use cars to move between these zones. Sprawl identifies the cumulative effects of development that are automobile dependent, inefficient, and wasteful of natural resources. Sprawl is a  regional problem, and solving the problem requires convincing people that comprehensive, rational planning and strategies to combat it are in their self-interest.

Those seeking to curb sprawl often base their concerns around its impact on the environment, the traffic problems it creates, its harm to cities, and the financial burden it poses to everyone.As new construction emerges in a scattered fashion across the countryside, it often disrupts wildlife habitats and fragments rural regions once abounding in farmland, fields, forests, lakes, and ponds. An example of the latter is the runoff from the streets, parking lots, lawns, and farms that empty pollutants and sediment into waterways, degrading water quality and smothering habitat. Sprawl has disastrous consequences involving the destruction of wetlands and building on floodplains. The consequence of sprawl is too little water, not too much. Cars zipping along highways, or worse, cars stuck in traffic jams spew millions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere each year.

The alternative is sprawl is Smart Growth, comprehensive land-use planning to revitalize and build compact, environmentally sensitive communities, ones that are a transit and pedestrian-oriented and contain a mix of residential, commercial, and retail spaces. Its focus is on regional growth within already urbanized areas as well as on newly urbanizing land. Smart Growth public policies seek ways to stop the bulldozing of forests and farms and instead encourage reinvestment in cities and urbanized towns through sustainability, denser development, mass transit, and pedestrian-friendly areas.

A.C Spectorsky coined the term exurb to describe the appearance of new residential areas developing on the metropolitan fringe. This was observational, but a not-too-systematic account of prosperous residential communities on the fringes of the New York City metropolitan area. He noted that the lifestyle of these exurbanites was an intriguing mix of high tech, high culture, and rustic charm. Although they lived in a rural locale, they commuted to jobs in the central business district, combined their love for old things with attraction to new electronic gadgets, and maintained a strong interest in books, theater, and art.

Edge cities or new cities fall into one of three major categories. Uptowns, built on top of pre-automobile settlements, boomers, the typical new city located at the intersection of two major highways and almost always centered on a mall, and lastly, greenfields, a master-planned city by one developer on thousands of farmland acres. Boomers are the most common new city type and the ones least likely to have a political organization.

Gated communities in the U.S trace back to the first planned gated community in 1853. Beginning in the 1980’s, gated communities increased rapidly not only in retirement villages but also in resort and country club developments and then in middle-class suburban subdivisions. People live in gated communities because they are in fear of crime and attempts to establish economic and physical security free from the problems of traffic and noise. They also enjoy their own pay as you go services. Types of gated communities are lifestyle communities, prestige communities, and security zone communities.

The model city is Portland, Oregon. It successfully controls its growth and development. All cities in western North America have undergone boom periods that gobbled up the land, strained the infrastructure, and resulted in congestion, dirty air, and tax-strained school systems. Yet, Portland is a healthy, vibrant city displaying few of the problems found in other urban places. The city planned its future, an effort that reflected portlands long history of concern for the urban quality of life and commitment to the common good. By the end of the twentieth century, four patterns of land development sprawl, new cities, gated communities, and CID’s became so widespread that they will most likely affect both urban and suburban lifestyles for at least several generations.



Jailyn Williams Week 5

Europeans founded the first settlements in North America in the early seventeenth century, at the time when industrialization was transforming the medieval cities in Europe. The lack of regular street patterns and stone houses in early Boston, Montreal, New York, and Quebec City gave these settlements the look of medieval cities. The New World cities began specifically as trade and wealth-generating centers to fuel the growth of European cities. The underlying concept of all these cities was that they would serve as export centers for raw materials going to Europe. By the late 1760’s, the 13 colonies had at least 12 major cities and a total population of 2 million English, half a million people of other European backgrounds, and nearly 400,000 slaves, almost all of whom were in the South. The first census in 1790 identified only 5 percent residing in urban places. Only 24 major cities were established before the Revolutionary War.

The struggle for U.S Independence didn’t take place entirely in cities, it was in many ways a war instigated by the cities, where most colonial economic trade occurred. Merchants and colonist wanted the freedom to pursue their life’s interests as they saw fit, and economic interests were typically uppermost in their minds.

The culture of the United States has always contained a streak of anti-urbanism. As long as the early North American settlements remained small and kept their relatively homogeneous character, few tensions existed between urban and rural sections. The debate on the pros and cons of city life soon took on a new and powerful dimension on the regional level. The small cities incorporated in North America during the 50 year period that ended in 1870 had not been yet acquired many of the now familiar urban characteristics: towering buildings, populations in the millions, and blazing lights downtown. The two historical events would provide the impetus for this transformation: the technological advance of industrialization and the migration of millions of people to urban North America.

During the earliest twentieth century, across North America wherever urban subway and elevated systems extended ever farther, there did suburbs appear. Technology thus spawned the suburban dream, enabling the middle class to move out of the city, separating their place of work from their place of residence. Nothing did more to encourage people to move outward than the automobile. With the paving of more and more roads, the percentage of people living in suburbs moved upwards. From 1900 to 1940, growth was moderate. “Suburban Fever” did not manifest itself until the 1950’s.

Between1870 and 1920, the U.S population increased from less than 10 million to more than 54 million, while Canada’s urban population grew from 3.9 to 8.8 million. By 1920, both countries were predominantly urban nations, with more than 50 percent of their populations living in urban areas. Changing involving reshaping cities caused problems. Only the city government was empowered to provide these incoming millions with water, electricity, jobs, and protection against unscrupulous exploitation. The Cooperation Agreement Act of 1977 made it possible for the federal government to begin to provide funding to cities.

Today’s cities continue to experience three major changes. First, people and businesses are still abandoning many older central cities, continuing the suburbanization trend that began about 100 years ago, a process called decentralization. Second, major population growth is occurring in areas with considerable environmental stresses, whether in U.S cities in the South and West ( the sunbelt expansion). Third, the work typically performed in the central city is mostly oriented toward white-collar jobs, high technology, and services, as Canadian and U.S cities adjust to the postindustrial era of globalization. With decentralization rising, urbanization expanded as workers, unable to find adequate housing in the central city. Noticing this trend, the U.S Census Bureau realized the need to measure more accurately the way cities were growing. They decided to count in its surveys both the central population and the population of surrounding towns and cities interdependent with that central city. Thus was born the idea of the metropolitan area. From 1959 until 1983, the Census Bureau used the term standard metropolitan statistical area.

French geographer Jean Gottmann was one of the first urbanists to note the linkages between many independent urban municipalities in sprawling urban regions. The first such area, which he called a megalopolis, was the unbroken urban region along the Eastern Seaboard if the United States.

By the 1960’s, many industries and manufacturing businesses were moving away from urban industrial districts. High rents and inadequate older buildings unsuitable for expansion had reduced the attraction of a city location. The two labor market trends currently in cities. First is gentrification and second are the city is a major center for finance, insurance, real estate, media, and the arts. The problem lies in an overabundance of low skilled workers and a shortage of workers to fill middle-skilled jobs, ones requiring less than a college education but more than high schools, such as a technical two-year degree or certificate. Companies no longer required many blue-collar workers or as many buildings geared to heavy industrial production.

Jailyn Williams Week 4

Most people understand the importance of cities, because, in our era, the city not only is the dominant form of human association but also is becoming more so every day. In 1950, the proportion of the world’s population living in cities was only 29 percent. In a larger picture of human history, however, the city is a very recent arrival on the human scene. The emergence of the first cities and civilization occurred only 10,000 years ago. Humans first appeared on the earth about 200,000 years ago. For the next 190,000 years, our ancestors lived as hunters and gatherers. Most followed animals and moved with the seasons, without permanent settlements, small groups ranging from 25 to 50 individuals. Around 10,000 years ago, near the end of the Ice Age, people began to settle down in one place and to evolve more complex social structures. Over a period of 5,000 years, villages began and multiplied. Humans created permanent settlements where they raised crops and learned to domesticate animals for use in the fields or as a food supply. This was the start of the division of labor, where people began doing many different, specialized tasks to “earn a living”. It also evolved hierarchical power structure and a productive surplus.

As this happened, villages turned into towns, and then towns became the first cities. Jericho may be the oldest city in the world. The ancient city of Caral is the oldest known city in the Americas. The first urban empire was in the Fertile Crescent region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the southern portion of present-day Iraq. This region known as Mesopotamia or Sumner began evolving significant cities.  Uruk and other Mesopotamian cities had highly complex social structures, including a power hierarchy and a pronounced division of labor. They had public buildings, extensive trade arrangements, a system of writing, mathematics, and a code of law. Early Mesopotamian urban life was centered on the temple and on religious beliefs. It included a strong military elite and an increasing capacity to wage war. To the east of Mesopotamia, Mohenjo-Daro had a physical layout similar to the same gridiron pattern common to most Western cities today.

Greek cities were more egalitarian, though few matched Athens in having most of its free citizenry (the Greeks had slaves) directly participating in legislative decisions. The early Greek polis experienced war as well as peaceful rivalry, symbolized by the Olympic Games. Greeks left behind a legacy that highlighted the positive possibilities of urban civilization, including painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as a political system and body of philosophy that influence the world to this day.

Rome was the dominant power of the Western world. By the time of Christ, the city that was the base of the Roman Empire contained a population of more than 1 million. Rome displayed the same characteristics as the earliest cities: a favorable ecological setting, the ability to produce an economic surplus, and a complex social structure. The arts and sciences flourished and public monuments and buildings were integral parts of the cityscape. Rome was exclusively based on the expression of militaristic power. Rome explored and revealed for all history the consequences of concentrating a city’s resources almost entirely on the accumulation of power and wealth.

The pattern of settlement typical of the fifth through the eleventh centuries was a mosaic of local manors, villages, and small towns that in many ways were reminiscent of the earliest urban settlements. The characteristics of Greek and Roman cities vanished and so did the arts and sciences. This was the “Dark Ages”. The low point of urban life in Europe was reached in the ninth century but, around the eleventh century an awakening began. The population in medieval cities was small. The physical dimensions of most medieval cities were modest. Cities typically occupied a few hundred acres. Major roads within the city connected its gated entrances to the center typically to the cathedral, the marketplace, or major buildings, such as the guilds or town halls. The cathedral towered the rest of the city. It was an integral element in the social life of medieval Europe. Other than the cathedral, no tall buildings existed and the streets were narrow and winding. Houses typically were built together in row house fashion, often had space for growing food.

By the mid-seventeenth century, feudalism was all but dead, and with it went the last remnants of the rural-centered life of the Middle Ages. In its place stood capitalism and an urban way of life fundamentally grounded in the possibilities for trade.

City growth can cause problems. A rising population demanded more and more goods and services and effective ways to manage the needs of the city’s inhabitants. Some cities responded to this challenge by making their social structure even more complex by creating the state.


Jailyn Williams Week 3

For centuries, the city has been the heart, the lifeblood, of various civilizations, and the center of economic, political, and artistic events. Historically, most people drawn to the city sought to realize their hopes of a higher standard of living and often succeeded. The city is more than what our personal experiences reveal. A dynamic entity unto itself, the city is the most powerful drawing card in human history. The criteria used to define a city are an administrative function, economic characteristics, functional nature, and population density.

The area of the greatest urban growth is now in the developing world, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The 10 countries with the highest urban growth rates are all in these four regions. Once people become aware of the advantages of cities protection, an increased material standard of living, a more stimulating mental and social life. They don’t want to live anywhere else.  This urban growth and development can occur in different ways and on several levels.

The changes resulting from people moving into cities and other densely populated areas are what we mean by urbanization. This process can be deliberate and planned and it can also be spontaneous and unplanned. However it occurs, urbanization transforms land use from rural to urban economic activities. This progression in greater population density transforms many patterns of social life, altering the social structure and social organization of that area. These changes include a more complex division of labor and social stratification, the growth of subcultures, and more formal social controls.

The levels of urbanization are the metropolitan area, micropolitan area, megaregion, megacity, and global city. A large population center and adjacent communities, with a high degree of economic and social integration, constitute a metropolitan area. These communities may not be urban in character themselves, but they link closely with the city through transportation. The micropolitan area has an urban core of at least 10,000 residents but less than 50,000. It consists of the county containing the core urban area and any adjacent counties with a high degree of social and economic integration, measured by commuting there to work.

When two or more metropolitan areas expand so that they intermingle with one another to form a continuous urban complex, we have a megaregion or a megalopolis. This merged conglomeration typically contains a population in the tens of millions. A metropolitan area can constitute its own megapolis if the population within its municipal boundary numbers at least 10 million people. Today, 1 in 8 people worldwide live in a megacity. Also called a world city, a global city occupies an influential position in the global economic system, attracting worldwide investments and exercising considerable economic power worldwide. London, New York, Paris,  and Tokyo are at the top of the hierarchy of the cities because of their role in the world system of finance and trade.

In downtown areas, we are likely to see well-dressed businesspeople, many of whom live in apartments. Older residential neighborhoods may provide the sights and sounds of cultural diversity. Still, other neighborhoods contain the cities poor, who struggle every day to survive. Lifestyles are, of course, much more than matters of individual choice. They reflect social class differences, often taking the form of social inequality. Women are now likely to hold public office, at least in cities with populations of 25,000 or more. From both historical and contemporary viewpoints, women’s city experiences have reflected the realities of gender, interwoven with those of social class, race, and ethnicity. Social power is another important dimension of inequality. poorer urbanites, often members of racial and ethnic minorities, find that life in the city is a grim matter of trying to cope with seemingly overwhelming forces.

One ecological process is invasion-succession, by which whole sections of a city change. A new “high-tech” area may rather suddenly upstage an old industrial district. Or, the older districts start to look tawdry; secondhand stores, gentleman’s clubs, and pornographic bookstores replace the older, more respectable businesses. Income levels in the area drop and the few remaining original businesses close their doors. The business people are now replaced with drug dealers and prostitutes. The change is complete, invasion-succession may also occur in residential areas as new ethnic groups replace older groups in established neighborhoods.

Postmodernist insists that people have multiple interpretations based on their individual, concrete experiences, not on the abstract principles of “experts”. Therefore, urban planning should still reflect traditional visions, but only through the expression of notions of community, diversity, small-scale approaches, restoration of the older urban fabric, and creation of new spaces that use modern technologies and materials. the city is powered by its people who represent a certain culture. Any city reproduces and intensifies its society’s culture. An example of this is technology.

Sunbelt cities have gained markedly in population during the last decade, compared to midwestern and northeastern cities. Growing significantly were the cities of Louisville, Austin, Fort Worth, Charlotte, San Antiono, and Las Vegas. These changes occurred because older Americans prefer to remain in the community where they spent most of their lives. Second, an increasing amount of business and industry from center cities to escape high taxation and congestion pulling their employees with them.



Jailyn Williams Week 2

Once humans learned to harness the machine, everything changed. These changes were pronounced in European cities. The emerging factory system drew in a huge population and the cities exploded. With an overwhelming number of migrants, the cities could not provide adequate food, safe housing, sanitary facilities, medical care, or enough jobs. Poverty, crime, disease, and malnutrition increased. Friedrich Engels vividly described the appalling slum conditions that industrialization brought to Manchester, England, the first industrialized city. This is when urban sociology emerged. Sociology was born in Europe during the Industrial Revolution. The father of sociology is Auguste Comte. Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and others also sought to explain the great transformation wrought by urbanization and industrialization.

Karl Marx spent most of his adult life in England during the heyday of the Industrial Revolution, and he was among the first of the classical sociologists to analyze the transformation of European society. He argued passionately that the economic structure of society is the foundation upon which rests the name of the social, political, and spiritual aspects of life. He meant that the economic system serves as the base on which the social institutions of family, religion, and the political system take form.

German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies described two contrasting types of human social life: Gemeinschaft or “community”, which characterized the small country village; and Gesellschaft, or “society”, which characterized the large city. This typology had a lasting influence on urban sociology because it was one of the first theories to understand human settlements by means of a continuum.

Like Tonnies, the French sociologist Emile Durkheim witnessed the urban revolution of the nineteenth century. He also developed a model of contrasting types: his terms mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity are analogous to Tonnie’s Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Mechanical solidarity refers to social bonds based on likeness, on common belief and custom, common ritual and symbol. Organic solidarity describes a social order based on individual differences.

German sociologist Max Weber believed any theory that took account of cities in only one part of the world and at one point in time was of limited value. This concern proved to be his major methodological contribution to urban sociology.

All six theorists, Marx, Engels, Tonnies, Simmel and Durkheim all recognized that something distinctive exists about the city and the way of life it creates. All saw the city as increasing human choice, emphasizing rationality, utlizing a complex division of labor, and creating a unique experience for its inhabitants. This concern with the cities unique qualities has been a major focus of the discipline ever since. Marx and Engels emphasized economics and the problems of inequality and conflict. Tonnies, Durkheim, and Weber considered the social structure of the city. Simmel suggested the importance of the urban experience. Each made quite clear what he thought beneficial and what he considered detrimental in the city’s ability to produce a humane life for its population.

About the time of World War I, urban sociology began to develop in the United States. in 1830, Chicago was approaching a population of 2 million by 1900, and it was expanding both upward and outward. Chicago factories were the black smoky “flag” of prosperity, creating their share of severe problems along the way. It was in Chicago that the main elements of U.S urban sociology took form. Robert Park argued that urban research must be conducted by disciplined observation. He also conceived the city as a social organism, with distinct parts bound together by internal processes.

Urbanization is the population shift from rural to urban areas. Louis Wirth identified Urbanism as the distinctive model of life which is associated with the growth of cities. Wirth began his analysis by isolating several factors he argued were universal social characteristics of the city. He then began to deduce systematically the consequences of these factors for the character of urban social life. He said if the condition is present, then that condition will result. Large population, population density, and heterogeneous people are all variables in urbanism.

Claude Fischer introduced the subultural theory of urbanism, rejecting Wirth’s main point by insisting that the urban milieu strengthens, not destroys group relationships. He suggested that the size, density, and heterogeneity of cities are positive factors that promote cohesion and they are not negative elements causing alienation, disorganization, or depersonalization. Once in a city, people with similar, even unconventional, interests, values or behaviors seek out each other for their own meeting places and habitats. As they gather in sufficient size and density, they attain critical mass, that level needed to generate self-sustaining momentum.

A theory of social pathology and urban living is one of the most provocative ideas put forth by the classical theorists particularly Simmel, Park, and Wirth was that human beings react to increasing population density with a psychological disorder, such as mental illness, or antisocial behavior, such as crime or aggression. A second source of the alleged linkage between density and pathology is research that appears to have some bearing on the quality of urban life.


Jailyn Williams Week 1

Georg Simmel’s claim is that the deepest problems of modern life flow from the attempt of the individual to maintain the independence and individuality of his existence against the sovereign powers of society, against the weight of the historical heritage and the external culture and technique of life. The eighteenth century may have called for liberation from all the ties which grew up historically in politics, in religion, in morality, and in economics in order to permit the original natural virtue of man, which is equal in everyone, to develop without inhibition. The nineteenth century may have sought to promote, in addition to man’s freedom, his individuality (which is connected with the division of labor) and his achievements which make him unique and indispensable but which at the same time make him so much more dependent on the complementary actions of others. Nietzsche may have seen the relentless struggle of the individual as the prerequisite for his full development, while socialism found the same thing in the suppression of all competition but, in each of these the same fundamental motive was at work.

The money economy dominates the metropolis in which the last remnants of domestic production and direct barter of goods have been eradicated and in which the amount of production on direct personal order is reduced daily. The psychological intellectualistic attitude and the money economy are in such close integration that no one is able to say whether it was the former that affected the latter or vice versa. It’s only certain that the form of life in the metropolis is the soil which nourishes this interaction most fruitfully, a point which Simmel will attempt to demonstrate with the statement of an English constitutional historian. He will be observing London.

A rural town consists of a more slower paced and habitual setting. A small town rests more on feelings and emotional relationships. In a rural area, they have more conservative personalities which makes it easier to adapt to the same rhythm events. Metropolitan type reacts primarily in a rational manner and they are less sensitive. They interact and react in a totally different manner than people in rural areas. Metropolitan people have an intellectualistic quality and money domination that also plays into how they interact with people. Money is concerned only with what is common to all with the exchange value which reduces all quality and individuality to a purely quantitative level negatively enforcing individualism.

People in the city have a blase outlook.  A blase attitude, in which the nerves reveal their final possibility of adjusting themselves to the content and the form of metropolitan life by renouncing the response to them. It is the consequence of those rapidly shifting stimulations of the nerves which are thrown together in all their contrasts. An immoderately sensuous life makes one blase because it stimulates the nerves to their utmost reactivity until they finally can no longer produce any reaction at all. Less harmful stimuli, through the rapidity and the contradictoriness of their shifts, force the nerves to make such violent responses, tear them about so brutally that they exhaust their last reserves of strength and don’t have time for new reserves to form. The incapacity to react to new stimulations with the required amount of energy constitutes that blase attitude which every child of a large city evinces when compared with the products of the more peaceful and more stable milieu.

The relationships and concerns of the typical metropolitan resident are so manifold and complex that, especially as a result of the agglomeration of so many persons with such differentiated interests, their relationships and activities intertwine with one another into a many-membered organism. The lack of punctuality in promises and performances would cause the whole to break down into a chaos. If time stopped even for an hour, it would affect the entire economic and commercial life by derailing it. Modernity is the

I believe Simmel is a functionalist theorist. I believe this because of the way he broke down the rural and metropolitan people. He observed the way they acted and what they contributed to society. He dissected the ways in which their environment shaped them, their behavioral outputs, and their numerous sensory inputs. For example, the environment of a metropolitan place is money dominated so, the people are going to be work oriented which can make them money hungry, causing them to act in selfish or rude ways, challenging their emotion towards their values. Valuing money than other things.