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2013-03-26 A Europe of Cities.docx

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Geography 2050A/B
Mireya Folch- Serra

AEurope of Cities: The urban condition of European Union March 26, 2013 Regional cities: Today’s examples -Barcelona (capital of Catalonia) -Cardiff (capital of Wales) -Bilbao (capital of the Basque country) -Edinburgh (capital of Scotland) -Toulouse (capital of Languedoc-Midi Pyrenees) -symbols represent the cities Urban life in Europe: ABackground -Romans speeded the diffusion of urban life through Europe founding cities in what is today France, Germany, Britain, Spain, and along the Danube, and obviously in Italy -there’s usually Roman ruins and settlements because all these cities are areas that Romans had colonized in the beginning -The MiddleAges became the great age of city founding: many European cities originate in the years 800 and 900AD -Gothic architecture built -Palimpsest (layers of history, but actual material things of architectural material– e.g. medieval, with Renaissance built upon it) -by 1400 Paris and Napoli had more than 100,000 inhabitants Industrial Revolution -After 1800 the majority of European population settled in urban centers -by 1850, London already exceeded 2 million -Paris had more than a million in 1846 -by the turn of century, Berlin had one million as well -London larger in population in that period Berlin, London, and Paris in mid-19 century were already large and powerful cosmopolitan centres Urban history impinge on European cityscapes -Europe’s cities differ markedly from cities in NorthAmerica -history has impact on geography of cities -In most European cities the street pattern exhibits irregularity and lack of planning -North American cities: much more urban and recent -European cities had organic growth; they’re not planned and scientifically calculated -Thoroughfares are rare -In the old quarters of Toledo, Lisbon, and SevilleArabic influence have produced numerous dead ends -different kind of urban planning -twisted, curved Seville and Toledo Read these segments in the text Four approaches to European cities: 1. ‘The entrepreneurial city’ 2. ‘Cities of culture and urban tourism’ 3. ‘Cityscape and palimpsests’ 4. ‘City-states and neo-medievalism’ European urban patterns -DIFFERENT from North American urban systems -Dense Mediterranean cities contrast sharply with low density NorthAmerican cities -people live together in smaller space – everything is compressed and less spatious -the wealthier population cluster at the centre while the periphery is settled by the poor -this has been the tradition -new commerce, immigrants, people with less meanslive in outskirts of Paris -poor in NorthAmerican: live in the centre because it’s cheaper The contrast: American cities -North American cities including Chicago, Boston,Atlanta, are consistent to the Burgess model -modern cities in terms of comparison with Europe, are quite distinct -consistent with urban geographer’s Burgess model -in the Burgess model, social class levels correlate with land-rent and density gradients” -Slums and rooming houses are near the CBD -Industrial workers live in the next concentric ring -High income residents live in the periphery (suburbanites) -it’s a way of generalizing -in London, Ontario, you can find equivalent -people with less means live in Dundas – same for Boston,Atlanta, Chicago -high income residents live in the periphery -this is complete reverse with European cities European cities = the inverse Burgess model -The affluent classes are more represented in the centre, around the Central Business District The working classes live in the periphery -The inverse model is true for most European cities, with some exceptions in the North, and the new sites of immigrants (in France, e.g. the ‘banlieus’) The contrast -few pockets of poverty and marginality near the urban core in Mediterranean cities -the inverse-Burgess spatial pattern predominates, as the poorer unemployed populations concentrate in peripheral (sub-urban) areas -people with a lot of money can buy apartments worth $3-$4 million now want to live in centre of city -e.g. Toronto -people who used to live in suburban areas with huge, posh mansions – now, they buy condos in the city -patterns and trends change over time -on the other hand, the well to do not fly from the city. They do not move to suburbs. Why the difference? Social urban life in European cities -unemployment, housing problems, and the weakness of the welfare state, have traditionally been met by the family -family becomes very much like a support system for lack of employment and housing -not rare to see young people living in the same house as parents and grandparents -lack of stigma for young adults who live with parents/grandparents -income sharing is customary -extended families create a self-help network to deal with problems of housing, unemployment, and health. -sons and daughters stay with parents till marriage (mostly in Mediterranean cities) -but it’s changing.... Urban system based mainly on capital-cities -Large cities function as the heart and nervous system of Europe -this idea has generated the movement called Eurocities -network share a lot of things -they are smaller cities compared to main capitals – they are second-tiers -all the other cities are regional cities, but Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal -Lyon, Milan, Barcelona, Birmingham, Cologne, Genoa, Lille, Lisbon, Marseilles, Montpellier, Naples, Rotterdam, Toulouse, Valence, Valladolid, and Vitoria. (note that most of these cities are regional) ‘Banana’model of main European cities -cultural Mediterranean banana (horizontal) -shows how economy and everything is distributed Eurocities -the founders of this movement are convinced that if cities collectively assume their European responsibilities, the EU will in turn give positive answers to their problems, such as: 1. renovation of their historical centres 2. protection of the environment 3. setting of large interconnected solutions for the large sectors of poor and underprivileged people Pan-European trade, tourism and cultural exchanges -Eurocities strategies include technological cooper
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