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GGR124H1 (174)


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University of Toronto St. George
Damian Dupuy

Lecture #2: The Origins of Cities • How and why did non-agricultural settlements arise • How and why did those settlements become geographically concentrated • How and why do some of these bran settlements grow to become larger than other settlements o Oscillates • Two Key Concepts on Urban Evolution o Social Surplus  Production of basic goods (goods that are tradable) over and above what is needed for subsistence o Agglomeration  Concentration of activities, please, networks of relationships in space Appearance of non-agricultural settlements • Plots of land w. no relationships>surplus> trade and specialization happens >linkages appear between plots. We now have the potential to become a city o Trade must be managed then political class emerges- political elite, o The trade is the trigger What Generates the Social Surplus? • New Technology o Irrigation, efficient farming. • Environmental Change o Longer term climate change, water quality, soil quality o Series of flooding changing soil making it better for growth • Changes in social organization o Land reform, the use of slaves as cheap labour *Unlikely any one factor holds sway, instead more of a gradual transition Why do some settlements grow larger? • Agglomeration economies! o Economic benefits accruing to concentration of activities in space o Highways near car factories for easy transportation o Two Types of Economies  Localization- close to similar firms  Urbanization- locating in an urban environment • Shared infrastructure, shared sources of water, electricity, sewage disposal, information and media • Firms close to the city benefit from the fact that the infrastructure is already there • Information. Through fibre optic infrastructure, telecommunications. • Economies of Scale: As they get larger, cost of production falls. • Agglomeration Diseconomies Early Urban Development • First cities emerged o 4000-3000 BCE Mesopotamia, Nile Valley Indus Valley • Early cities were small 2000-20,000 o Ur 200,000 and Thebes 225,000 (Iraq and Egypt) o Probs b.c they were near water and could easily cultivates..? • Largest of eh ancient cities was Roman o Close to 1 million by 2 ad o Athens, Sparta on Greek mainland by 800 BC o Urbanism spread through Mediterranean from Greece  Spread into Greek islands- demand for land  Planned cities developed a gridiron pattern (streets heading east, west, north, south linear streets)  Medieval cities have winding streets ie Dublin o Many Roman cities had this pattern, also (roman cities in the uk like York)  Square or rectangular town perimeter  2 main cross-streets • E-W Decumanuc • N-S Cardo • These are main intersections Found in cities like NYC and Toronto Middle Period Urbanization • Slow growth of European cities 5 -17 centuries o Decrease in spatial interaction after Roman Empire fell  ie emergence of Islamic empire and Viking expansion  Cities grown because of linkages- ie economic linkages  As the linkages broke between cities, there was a decline in the PACE of growth…small growth if anything  Urbanization doesn’t happen without linkages o Disruption of urban and rural interaction o Increased isolation  Emergence of guilds • Over time, commerce expanded function of the city- Mercantilism. o Mercantilism  Raised the poor of merchant classes as a social class, providing wealth for the city  Mechanist/traders became important people  Thus, the role of the government was to protect trade, b.c trade overall benefited the city • Power of capitalists reduced toll of the stat
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