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Urban History (5 Chapters)

Urban History (5 Chapters)

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Published by KAW
The development of cities from their beginning to today has fascination me ever since college and reading Amos Hawley's "Urban Society: An Ecological Approach" for a sociology course. My particular interest was (and still) in European medieval and renaissance towns and cities, more particularly the ones that grew spacially through the patterns of human needs - usually economic, though not always, and certainly not exclusively. Gridded classical cities evolved into street layouts that followed the everchanging human needs for the routes of commerce, and the optimal geographical locations for success in commercial activity. The physical character of the resulting warren of narrow passageways and alleys, multistory buildings leaning over the streets - and often connecting with each other across the route beneath - are inextricably linked to human behavior within cultural and society. All of this grips my imagination and my sense of the scope and sweep of humanity and its pursued - as well as inadvertant - functions reflected in the nature of its immediate surroundings - where people live, and what the physical character of that environment is, are both representative of a continuum of the people who have lived there in the past and are currently living there. The Annales School of history, especially Fernand Braudel and his works, are a draw for me for the same sort of reasons - a feel for the pulse of the evolution of humanity within its environment and the mutual impact that shapes both.

I couldn't find Hawley's book available in full text online, and I suspect it wouldn't be something I could download/upload and post here anyway. The five chapters of the "Urban History" posted here are very good. They're not the same approach as Hawley's per se, but they are well worth reading.
The development of cities from their beginning to today has fascination me ever since college and reading Amos Hawley's "Urban Society: An Ecological Approach" for a sociology course. My particular interest was (and still) in European medieval and renaissance towns and cities, more particularly the ones that grew spacially through the patterns of human needs - usually economic, though not always, and certainly not exclusively. Gridded classical cities evolved into street layouts that followed the everchanging human needs for the routes of commerce, and the optimal geographical locations for success in commercial activity. The physical character of the resulting warren of narrow passageways and alleys, multistory buildings leaning over the streets - and often connecting with each other across the route beneath - are inextricably linked to human behavior within cultural and society. All of this grips my imagination and my sense of the scope and sweep of humanity and its pursued - as well as inadvertant - functions reflected in the nature of its immediate surroundings - where people live, and what the physical character of that environment is, are both representative of a continuum of the people who have lived there in the past and are currently living there. The Annales School of history, especially Fernand Braudel and his works, are a draw for me for the same sort of reasons - a feel for the pulse of the evolution of humanity within its environment and the mutual impact that shapes both.

I couldn't find Hawley's book available in full text online, and I suspect it wouldn't be something I could download/upload and post here anyway. The five chapters of the "Urban History" posted here are very good. They're not the same approach as Hawley's per se, but they are well worth reading.

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Published by: KAW on Jul 10, 2007
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CHAPTER 1, THE URBAN WORLD
 
 A city is a collective body of persons sufficient in themselves for all purposes of life-
Aristotle,
Poltitcs
 
INTRODUCTION
As you open this book the globe is changing from a predominantly rural world to onewhere the majority of us live in urban places. For the first time in history we now live inan urban world. This text seeks to explore and explain the patterns of urban life in thepost-9/11 21st century. Its goal is to help us better understand the cities and suburbswhere most of us live and to give us some awareness of the major urban changestaking place elsewhere on the globe. To do this we begin at the beginning since withoutknowing how we got here it is difficult to make sense of what is happening, both in NorthAmerica and in the developing world where the great bulk of urban growth is takingplace. We need to remember that metropolitan areas are not museums but areconstantly undergoing physical and social change 
THE PROCESS OF URBANIZATION
 
Cities, it turns out, are a relatively new idea. Archaeologists tell us that the humanspecies has been on the globe several millions of years. However, for theoverwhelming number of these millennia our ancestors have lived in a world withoutcities. Cities and urban places, in spite of our acceptance of them as an inevitableconsequence of human life, are in the eyes of history hardly a blink. Cities are acomparatively recent social invention, having existed a scant 7,000 to 10,000 years.Their period of social, economic, and cultural dominance is even shorter.Nonetheless, the era of cities encompasses the totality of the period we label“civilization.” The story of human social and cultural development—and regression—isin major part the tale of the cities that have been built and the lives that have been livedwithin them. The saga of wars, architecture, and art--almost the whole of what we knowof human triumphs and tragedies–is encompassed within the period of cities. The veryterms “civilization” and “civilized” come from the Latin
civis
, which refers to a citizenliving in a city. The city was civilization; those outside were barbarians. Among theancient Greeks the greatest punishment was to be ostracized (banned) from the city. InRoman times
civitas
was concerned with the political and moral nature of community,while the term
urbs
, from which we get urban, referred more to the built form of the city.
 
The vital and occasionally magnificent cities of the past, however, existed as smallislands in an overwhelmingly rural sea. Just over 200 years ago, in the year 1800, thepopulation of the world was still 97 percent rural.
 1
In 1900 the world was still 86 percentrural. A hundred years ago the proportion of the world’s population living in cities of 100,000 or more was only 5.5 percent, and 13.6 percent lived in places of 5,000 or more. While cities were growing very rapidly, most people still lived in the countrysideor small villages. Today we live in a world that for the first time numbers more urbanresidents than rural. Demographically, the 21st century is the first urban century (Figure1-1).
2
 
URBAN GROWTH
 The rapidity of the change from rural to urban life is at least as important as the amountof urbanization. A hundred and twenty-five years ago not a single nation was as urbanas the world is today. During the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentiethcentury, the most rapid urban growth took place in European countries and in countrieslargely settled by Europeans, such as the United States. These were the places thatfirst developed modern agricultural, transportation, and industrial technologies. England,the first country to enter the industrial age, was also the first country to undergo theurban transformation. A century ago England was the world’s only predominately urbancountry.
Not until 1920 did half the United States population reside in urban places, andnot until 1931 was that true of Canada. Figure 1-2 dramatically indicates how the urbanpopulation of the world has increased over the last century and will continue to expanduntil 2020. The rapid growth of cities during the nineteenth and particularly thetwentieth centuries is referred to as the
urban revolution.
 We take large cities for granted. Almost everyone reading this book has spent at leastpart of their lives living in a central city or suburb, so it is difficult for us to conceive of aworld without large cities. However, 100 years ago only 12 cities housed a million or more inhabitants.The rapidity and extent of the urban revolution can perhaps be understood if onereflects that if San Antonio, with a 2000 population of 1.2 million, had the samepopulation two centuries ago, it would have been the largest urban agglomeration thathad ever existed in the worked at any time.
4 
By contrast, the Population ReferenceBureau estimates that more than 400 cities have over a million inhabitants. More than athird of these cities first reached the million mark in 1990s. We now live in an urbanworld where the mega-metropolises; Tokyo-Yokohama and greater Mexico City havepopulations of over 20 million. Within the United States the 2000 census reports theNew York-New Jersey-Long Island metro area at 20.1 million residents and LosAngeles-Riverside-Orange County (California) at 15.8 million. Chicago-Gary (Indiana)-Kenosha (Wisconsin) was third largest at 6.9 million.
 
MEGACITIES
 
 
Today, almost all urban growth is taking place in rapidly growing cities of the developingworld. Most people are not aware that the overwhelming majority of urban growth in theworld today (over 95 percent) is taking place in economically developing countries, alsoreferred to as
less developed countries
(LDCs). Since 1950 the population living indeveloping world cities has increased fifteenfold. Twenty-first century world urbanizationpatterns will be quite different from those of the twentieth century.Developed western nations are experiencing little city growth. Of the over 400previously noted cities of over a million inhabitants, some two-thirds are in developingcountries. Few of us could name more than a few dozen of such million-plusdeveloping world cities. The United Nation uses the term
megacities
to designate placesof over 10 million inhabitants.
 
The World Bank estimates that there are 26 megacities.Of these 26 mega-cities, 21 are found in developing countries. Mumbai (previouslydesignated Bombay) India, for example, even with falling growth rates is still adding half a million new city residents each year. It is difficult for us to keep up either intellectuallyor emotionally with these changes.The United Nations estimates that 15 new megacities will be added to the globebetween 2000 and 2015, all of them in the developing world. As of 2000, the UnitedNations estimated a population of 26.3 million for the mega-city of Mexico City; 24million for Sao Paulo, Brazil; 16.6 million for Calcutta; and 16.3 million for greater Cairo.Some demographers, such as this author, think these estimates are high by severalmillions, but by any measure these megacities dwarf anything the world has ever experienced. Some of our difficulty in understanding or coping with urban patterns and problems canbe attributed to the recency of the emergence of this urban world with its huge mega-cities. Living as we do in urban-oriented places, it is easy for us to forget two importantfacts: (1) Almost half the world’s population is still rural-based, and (2) even in theindustrialized West, massive urbanization is a very recent phenomenon. This rapidtransformation from a basically rural to a heavily urbanized world and the developmentof urbanism as a way of life has been far more dramatic and spectacular than the muchbetter known population explosion. The bulk of the world’s population growth is nowoccurring in the cities of the developing world. The population explosion is, in reality, athird world urban explosion. Today, the number of people living in developing worldcities outnumbers the entire population of the world only 100 years ago. 
THE URBAN EXPLOSION
 Urban growth accelerated cumulatively during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.By 1800, London, the largest city on earth, reached almost 1 million, Paris exceeded500,000, and Vienna and St. Petersburg had each reached 200,000. A century later asthe twentieth century began, ten cities had reached or exceeded 1 million: London,Paris, Vienna, Moscow, Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Calcutta, Tokyo, New York,

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