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Lecture 2

GGRB05 - Lecture 2.pdf

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Denisse Macaraig

GGRB05 – Lecture 2 May 16, 2011 CONCEPTS, CONTEXT, and our URBANIZING WORLD Readings: Chapter 1, 2 and 3 Objectives - Why study the “urban”? - How do we define urbanity? - Global trigger factors - Processes of urban change - Preconditions for urban growth Urban Geography – Aims and Goals - Examines the distribution functions of cities and towns - Every piece of land has a function - Residential, employment centres, etc. - Identifies the similarities, differences, and contrasts between cities and towns - Spatial - Economic - Social - There can be both “inter” and “intra” similarities and differences The Role of Theory - Theories provide a lens into understanding specific phenomena - Theories help provide explanations - There are many different and competing theories that help build a case as to why cities are what they are - Think about how all the theories come together (synergy) Ex. Why are banks located where they are? - In Social Sciences, there are very few laws, but there are many competing views and arguments - Cities are complex, and it’s difficult to examine it just at the local level - How do we study cities? Examine urban change quantitatively and qualitatively - Measure change - Develop theory and compare it with measured evidence - Different approaches will lead to multiple theories - Urban theory is constantly changing, evolving, and moving The Relevance of Cities - We need agriculture, but the vast majority of the planet will be living in cities, therefore the future will be URBAN - The future will depend on our success or failure of achieving urban sustainability - Social stewardship, the concept that we can grow up in neighbourhoods, have things to do, etc. - Environmental/resource management, we need to see our options because of mass waste production - Success of urban regions directly tied to human quality of life, the focus is on neighbourhoods The Complexity of Cities - Cities are vast and complex creations created by humans - Construction of transportation, buildings, and infrastructure are the largest things humanity has created - Urban changes are unpredictable, understanding urban change and altering this change is not simple - High levels of liveability and quality of life is not easy to achieve - There are unaccountable factors that must be balanced and considered - Urban governance (fair and democratic) is not easy to achieve, otherwise we’d have utopia The World Today - The world today is Urban - In 1950s, the cross from rural to urban population growth occurred - Many cities today are urban agglomerations in excess of 10 million people - 78% of Canadian population lives in urban areas Urban Geography – Definition - Are all places individual or are they all similar? Similarities and Differences - They all contain space, but their usage can differ - Historical development may have been triggered by suburbanization, gentrification, etc. - Cities may exhibit common problems - Inadequate housing, economic decline, poor health, provision of services - It is an integrative sub-discipline (of human and physical geography) that incorporates many other disciplines - Environmental, economic, political, regional, housing, health, planning, cultural, transportation, etc. Urban - Definition The urban as an entity - Population size and Economic base - In some nations, the urban is linked to employment or other economic activity Ex. India can be defined as urban if 75% of adult males engaged in non-agricultural work Governance/Administrative criteria - Upper level government defines and grants power differently to cities - Underbounding and overbounding (city is too large) become an issue - Its function can address issues of underbounding and overbounding by utilizing “functional urban regions” The urban as a quality - Urbanity is not just structures, but also defined by various factors (intangible and intrinisic) - Urbanity plays a role in our individual identities The city as a Social Construct - Definition is contingent on various factors (several factors forming a common issue) Humanistic definitions - We all have perceptions of the city, Space and Place, can be real or imagined - Space is everywhere, Places are unique - Places change cities 2 Approaches to Urban Geography 1) The study of systems of cities - The spatial distribution of cities and the linkages
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