Lecture 2 Urban Environments In History
Over the next 20 years we will double the urban spaces (new cities will be built
much faster than ever)
Next 4080 years the process of urbanization will be completed
We are facing a global environmental crisis due to climate change
Cities produce large amount of pollutions but it also have the potential to be the
solution because it is possible to live in cities and be energy efficient without
abandoning the quality of life
Our cities were designed on continuous cheap input
We need energy prices to be higher than they are now to be more efficient and to
resort to renewables
Why is History important?
Knowledge of historical patterns and processes are essential to the answers
Why are US cities different from Canadian cities? Though they are similar there
are fundamental differences. Why are they different?
1) Understanding why
2) Understanding long term patterns (urban systems, are built incrementally on
3) Cities are codegenerated (historical analysis of urban form, growth,
development and change is key to understanding urban rules) there are
standardized parts. Such as a house, with bathrooms, how far they have to be from
the road etc. They get replicated.
4) Cities are an expression of values (analysis of how cities change over time
allows understanding of the civilization that giver rise to them)
Infrastructure today is built on earlier infrastructures (Arenas in Lucca, Italy)
analyzing how cities change and evolve in understanding the city and the
Cities are records of past choices (meaningful and trivial things) patterns of
wealth, distribution of income, how people move about their daily lives in
understanding the invisible things in cities
Process of changes help us understand the value and politics of a place
Key Concept 1
Cities provide a detail record of urban values, ideas and choices
if you understand the decisions and the moment when particular sets of rules were
created than it is easier to decode what is happening now
When, Where and why did cities emerge?
which of the competing theories of urban origins is most convincing?
1) Hydraulic theory: control over water is essential. Both for irrigation and
transportation. Most goods were shipped by water (on the ocean or lakes or
rivers). The idea is that irrigation systems and the need for investment of labour
power to create these systems created a need for a government system.
Governmental authority needed to organize labour power but also defend it and
support it. All early cities were established on rivers (water supply, transportation etc). The pattern of settlement is influenced by irrigation. The pattern of streets
and properties follow the pattern of fields.
2) Economic theory: places that have good location economically will generate
cities. Chicago became a great city because of its location. It is in the juncture of
Mississippi valley and Chicago River. They had rich hinterlands as well. It went
from 30 000 to 2 million. It was a rapid urban growth.
3) Military theory: settlements established at military strategic locations form the
core of longterm settlements. The idea some settlements started from military.
4) Religious theories: centers that are important because of religious reasons,
because there is where profit was born or main religious centers. People go there
and leaders of church are there and it sparks the continuation of settlement. Other
towns started with religious significant
Political capitals: some cities are pro