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Week 1 Lecture Note

Course Code
John Hannigan

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Anti-Urban Sentiment and the Origins of Modern Urban Planning
This course started in 18th-19th century
Cities like Antigua were planned and follow a particular plan
Once you get out of Antigua, cities tend to be built in a way where there are narrow streets and
wooden buildings (chaotic)
Fire changed that systematic manner
Most of the big cities in the world at one time or another were impacted by devastating fires
Why were they impacted by fires?building material of choice was wood
Think about cities today and hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis…those cities that are built of
materials that cant withstand earthquakes etc. are devastating
Yesterday was first anniversary of Haiti earthquake
One of the big problems physically in Haiti was most of those buildings were built not to
withstand earthquakesthey crumble
Other places in the world now that are based on Haitian experience now have building codes that
require buildings that are not earthquake proof that at least they can withstand anything but
Most cities today dont build out of wood, they build out of concrete and other materials
Prior to 20th century, most buildings were constructed out of wood
When they caught fire, there is no such thing as fire wall and sprinkler system
Fire would go from one building to another
Chicago fire was one of the great fires talked about
Another important factor is these buildings were built in very close proximity to one another,
streets were close, so when fire started, it spread rapidly
As we go through some urban designs later on, one of the differences is they begin to build streets
that rather than being narrow, are wide and parking spaces are wider apart
If you travelled in Europe, many European cities have these old cities like Barcelona, Spain, and
other places in Europe that have preserved European city-like (wind like maze)
University Avenue is built in a beautiful approach – large monumental buildings, nothing like
streets and neighbourhoods that existed in Canada
Paris is a good example where some grand avenues have the new designs

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The way people heated their homes, cooked their meals, lit their homes and street…the age before
electricity and natural gas, with lighting and candles
Candles can be pretty dangerous even today, candles can be easily knocked over or things like that
Fires started as a result of candles
The other thing that had to do is the way people heated their homes…now people have natural
gas, but by in large natural gas is pretty clean and safe
Back when people used other means of heating (burning wood/coal), they caught a lot of fires and
chimney fires
There was a lot more opportunity for fires to start in cities
This was not only reason why urban planning design came in, also because of social and political
You cant ignore the kind of issues of energy and fires and wooden buildings and things like that
Certainly, in some instances, it was a fire that gave inspirations to design
Big fire in London in 1660s, at that point, architects of all times (Christopher Wren) was to
rebuild London
London has a lot of big landmarksSt. Pauls dome was designed by Wren because of fire
We’re looking at the impact of industrial revolution and the rise of the industrial city
The 19th century saw the rise of industrialization – various explanations
In a nutshell, basically had to do with new sources of energy up until the 19th century or beginning
of 18th century and particularly in 19th century
For the first time in history, they were able to utilize energy the only source of energy was
putting a plow behind an ox or you did it yourself
Starting in 18th and 19th century, they found ways of utilizing other energy sources
This began with water power, someone figured out that if you had a rapidly flowing river of
waterfall etc, and youre able to capture the power of the water falling down, then you can do all
kinds of things initially to turn the wheel, by turning the wheel, you can grind flour and other
Hydro electric power in a way is non polluted, and is a development in Toronto, none more so
than in Niagara Falls – have hydroelectric plants, take power of the falls and convert it into
Even today, although not all power comes from water, it is still a significant source
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