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GPHY 101 Lecture Notes - Urban Sprawl, Geographical Segregation

Course Code
GPHY 101
Anne M C Godlewska

of 2
Janice Liu
- Chief advocate is Maurice Yeates
- American & Canadian cities are virtually identical: a „North American City‟ exists
- Both countries have capitalist market economies & large immigrant populations
- Both have had long histories of urban growth but also a recent trend of metropolitan stagnation &
- Explosive industrial growth
- Capitalist market
- New York, Boston, Baltimore, Toronto
- From east to west
Characteristics shared by Canadian & American cities:
o Geographical arrangement
o Construction styles
o Radial highway network
o Low-density suburbs (single family dwellings and urban sprawl)
o Car-dominant streetscape (least sustainable in the world)
o Local government fragmentation (reflects income disaparities)
o Limited attempts at historical preservation
Two Distringuishing Factors
- Stronger racial tensions in American cities
o Has led to geographical segregation
- Greater degree of suburbanization in American cities
o Due to a series of government policies
- Less tax on first property, inclined to buy instead of renovate
- Faster more intense growth in urban suburbs
Culture & History Matter
Goldberg & Mercer: a continental approach is only appropriate if both countries are similar
Culture and history resulted in different yields of society
But Canada & the U.S. have distinct social, economic, political and value systems
“…if the societies differ so markedly, then why should we expect the cities which evolve within
these societies to be undifferentiable?”
The Established approach to cities
Cities in advanced capitalist societies are similar because of underlying economics
Economics dictate urban social structures and influence demographic composition
Political variations are minor due to underlying economic commonalities
Cultural differences are insignificant window dressing
Goldberg & Mercer: “Cities & city dwellers are more than just products of a prevailing economic
Culture, not economics, is the key to cities
Culture embodies the beliefs, meanings & values of a society
These values drive the creation of urban social, political & economic institutions
Canada 3 large cities, US 47
Public transport more developed in America
Gated cities more likely in States
- Private property, individualism, weak social contract, greater wealth disparity, racism
Detroit vast complex envy
1980s wasteland; low population
Janice Liu
Detroit officers racist and problem not dealt with