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Simon Fraser University
GEOG 261

GEOG 261WEEK 1 Core Concepts 942012 83800 AMWhat is urban geographyThe field of urban geography is both diverse and eclectic Urban geography resists easy definition although it can be described as the study of the relationship between the urban and the spatialWhat does that meanLatin urbanus which literally means relating to the city Urbs comes from pertaining to the city Yet theres no straightforward definition of the city The term evokes various meanings a location in space an economic and cultural hub an administrative entity a place of diversity and difference etc Earlier geographers would look at the urban vs the rural Its more beyond that In looking at a picture of new york youll see perceived space how to perceive the physical structures of the city and how the city is conceived mentally the city as a state of mind the aspect of conceptionthe city as a state of mind what IS the city When you goto new york your understanding of the city will be different than one that lives there and goes on the train and eats their breakfast and goes to workIn his 1937 essay Urban Historian Lewis Mumford gave an influential characterization of the cityThe essential physical means of a citys existence are the fixed sites perceived the durable shelter the permanent facilities for assembly interchange and storage the essential social means are the social divisions of labor The city in its complete sense then is a geographic plexus an economic organization an institutional process a theater of social action and an aesthetic symbol of collective unity The city fosters art and is art the city creates the theater and is the theater It is in the city the city as theater that humans are purposive activities are focused and work out through conflicting and co operation personalities events groups into more significant culminationsThink of it like you do a human body with organs and flesh and everything working together Not just physical but social and mental A form of art that expresses itself over timeMetaphors for the cityArenaa place of contest between diff groups Babela cacophonous place Babylona place of affluence and also vice Bohemia a place for defying social conventions Cesspoola dirty insanitary place of physicalmoral decay Fabrica place with many interwoven elements Hella nightmarish place of punishment Junglea threatening and dangerous place Machinea set of interrelated parts that can be controlled or be used to exert control this was popular in the 70s and 80s Melting pota creative place in which diverse ethnit groups mix together producing hybrid social and cultural forms Theatera place of diverse sets and stages in which people are actors playing out different roles SPACESpace is the most important concept in geography It is an organizing device that binds the discipline together It binds ideas concepts and dicipline together Not just physical space but how space is also mental and perceived It can be immaterialIn ordinary everyday usage space is often understood as something tangible or exterior specifically a container for human actions Humans create space its more than a physical space Think of segregation and the LA environment with a bundle of multiple areas like holleywood and then out of there in Venice as you move outward from holleywood you find lots of
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