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GEOG 2UI3 Lecture Notes - Urban Ecology, Human Ecology, Deindustrialization

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Heather Dorries

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Geography 2UI3: Introduction to Urban Geography
January 10th 2013
Introduction to Urban Geography
Goals of Urban Geography
Core concepts: space, territory, distance, place
Approaches to urban geography
Urban Geography
Description vs explanation
Understand the distinctiveness of places (uniqueness)
Understand regularities between places (similarity)
Highlight relations between people and the urban environment
Relations between people and the urban environment
Environment: includes natural physical environment and the built
Built environment: created by humans, including roads, bridges,
buildings, houses, schools, sidewalks
Economic environment: economic institutions and structures
Social environment: social institutions and structures
Interdisciplinary Approach
Draws on knowledge and methods from other disciplines comes
from sociologists
Borrows from anthropology given us methods that urban geographers
use to answer certain types of questions
Borrows from history: often asking why cities have developed in the
way that they have
Borrows from economics: economic environment
What makes urban geography different from political science, sociology etc?
What makes it separate is the emphasis on special processes
Core Concepts: Space
Space: the medium in which economic, social, political and historic
processes are expressed
Things have a physical reality
Public Space
Public space space to which all citizens have a right to access
the public sphere (Jurgen Habermas), as a space where deliberative and
rational communication can take place, is often believed to be necessary for
the formation of a democratic society
Territoriality: the tendency for particular groups to establish control or
dominate within localized area
Often established through symbols that sign identity

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Geography 2UI3: Introduction to Urban Geography
An important term for urban geography because it is part of what creates the
distinctiveness of urban places
Distance: the amount of space between two things
Urban geography distance is related to questions of consumption and to
goods, services, jobs, amenities, etc…
Place: a specific geographic location with distinctive physical and
human characteristic
Sense of place: places with distinctive meanings
to be human is to live in a world filled with significant places: to be human is
to have and to know your place” (Edward Ralph)
Approaches to Urban Geography
approaches tells us something very different of what is happening in urban
some are better at explaining certain things
each has their own benefits and drawbacks
there have been trends over time in urban geography
spatial descritption
describing characteristics of towns and cities (physical characteristics/
typography, buildings, location physical characteristics
spatial analysis
establish relationships between various characteristics of towns and
cities in order to construct models of urban growth
Behavioural and Humanistic Approaches
Behavioural approach
About studying behaviour of individuals in cities
Humanistic Approach
Concerned with human experience and emotion
Interested in the ways that people attach meaning and significance to places
Political Economy Approach
Interested in how (macro) economic changes affects urbanization
Relies on both political science and economics to draw conclusions about how and
why cities have particular characters
Focus on the relations beween economic and political decision making
Feminist Approach
Deals with inequalities between men and women
How gender relations effect space in city (housing choice)
Asks how unequal gender relations are reflected in the spatial structure of cities

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Geography 2UI3: Introduction to Urban Geography
Urbanization as a process
Outcomes of change ie: changes in land use, urban settings can be viewed as
Changes in city might result in an overcrowding problem, not enough
houses for everyone
Constant system/cycle of change
Different types of change that influence the city
Easily visible urban change
Economic Change
Economic changes are at the heart of dynamics that shape urbanization
The evolution of capitalism has been a powerful force in the shaping of cities
A distinctive economic system (different from feudalism or communism)
Emphasis on the accumulation of capital (ie: profit)
Private property
Labour (can be purchase/sold for money or wages)
Markets (supply and demand)
Prices (for goods and labour set by the market)
Means of production (labour, capital, technology)
Phases of Capitalism
Industrial Revolution
Began in England and then spread to Europe and North America
Technological change: water power and steam power enabled transition
from hand production to machine/factory production
Competitive Capitalism
Late 18th century to the end of the 19th century
Liberalism = competition between small family business, with few
constraints imposed by governments or other authorities; emphasis on
“free market”
Other characteristic: division of labour, beginning of specialization
Managerial Captialism
Late 19th century to mid 20th century
Expanded role of government to regulate negative side effects of free-
enterprise capitalism (eg mediate relationship between organized labour or
organized business_
Fordism =mass production based on assembly
Suburbanization =having good jobs that allowed them to purchase
goods that go along with living in a suburban lifestyle
Welfare capitalism egalitarian liberalism. Social safety-net to compensate
for capitalism (ie unemployment, shortage of housing and low income)
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