In Part 1 of Module 2, Lewis begins by discussing the importance of understanding the
perspective towards technology and the city that you, your professors, the authors of written
work that you read, etc. come from. In summing up this section Lewis states:
"The point that we are trying to make here is that our perspective is imprinted on our
consciousness by the economic, social, and political milieu within which we grow up and live.
Technology has no small part to play in the structuring of our individual views. The perspective
that we adopt towards technology has a significant impact on how we explore the impact of
technology on society and the city. In turn, our perspective will determine how we view the
future of society and our cities and the role that technology will play in that future."
Remember this. Lewis feels that it is very important to understand one's perspective; that your
perspective is shaped by your economic, social, and political background; and that, in turn, your
perspective will shape how you view technology and the city.
The four perspectives discussed in the lecture are:
There is a direct relationship between technology and the city.Anew technology will ultimately
and inevitably lead to a change in the city. The city will be shaped by whatever the dominant
technology of the day was when the city was growing/changing/evolving.
Utopianism (or Futurism)
The relationship between technology and the city is much the same as Technological
Determinism with one big difference. Utopianism would say that all change brought about by
technology will be *good*. Even if the technology is not good at the beginning, Utopianism
would say that ultimately there will be a technological fix that will make the city better.
Dystopianism (or the Political Economy viewpoint)
This view sees technology (and its adoption and use in the city) as an extension of society. In
other words, society determines what technologies will be adopted and how they will be used.
Now, because we live in a capitalist society, by extension, the view sees technology as being
used to capitalist ends. Technology is just a way to make money. The changes that occur in the
city as a result of the adoption of a particular technology are just an inevitable side-effect of the
use of technology for capitalist purposes.
SCOT (Social Construction of Technology view point) Like Dystopianism, the SCOT perspective also views technology as a part of society. The
difference is that the SCOT perspective does not believe that just the capitalist interests are being
served by technology. This viewpoint is broader in perspective believing that all of society has a
role to play in the adoption or rejection of technology and how it is used. Technology and the
city, therefore, is a reflection of the social, economic and political complexities of society at any
Ensure that you understand what each one of these perspectives is. In other words, be prepared to
identify the name of the perspective with the essential characteristics of that perspective.Also, be
aware of the differences between the four perspectives. Do not worry about the professors
perspectives here. You will not have to identify their perspective.
In Part 2 of Module 2, Lewis discusses what urbanization means. This is the "nuts and bolts" of
urban studies so you can be assured that there WILL BE questions drawn from this material on
the December test.
Lewis starts talking about urban places keying into three points:
1) That cities are: inherently complex; dynamic; always in transition; and very exciting.
2) That our modern city has resulted from a transition from the Industrial City to the Post-
Industrial City and all that that entails.
3) Definitions of urban by two key urbanists: Louis Wirth and Lewis Mumford
Then Lewis gives you the Canadian Census definition of urban. It is a key definition here and
one that is just made for a test question.
Census definition: "Aplace that is classified as urban is a continuously built-up area having a
population concentration of 1,000 or more people and a population density of 400 or more
people per square kilometre."
Note the key points here:
- continuously built-up area
- population concentration of 1,000 or more people
- population density of 400 or more people per square kilometre
Each element is very specific and very important to the definition. Remember too that Lewis
emphasizes that, by this definition, small places can be considered urban as well. But, he also
emphasizes that urban goes beyond size and density and includes economic activity --
"commerce, the carrying on of business".
So, Lewis builds a definition of urban that includes population size, population density and
economic activity. Furthermore, he discusses economic activities in two ways. First of all, he identifies economic
activities that would be considered non-urban and ones that would be considered urban. Namely:
- primary economic activities -- -- agriculture, fishing, forestry, mining, etc.
urban economic activities
- secondary economic activities - manufacturing activities
- tertiary economic activities - service sector
Lewis tells you that he is an economic geographer. This is key "Internet body language" if you
will. He is telling you that he sees things in economic terms so he is most likely going to bring
this perspective to his understanding of the city. He will also probably bring this perspective to
the kinds of questions that he will ask about on the December test.
Lewis then fills out the definition of urban by including several other feature of urban places:
- the built environment as well (distinctive look and feel)
- urban lifestyle (physical environment in which people live and the activities that they engage
- centres of invention and of innovation
- cultural environment (generally more open and accepting of new ideas and ways of doing
- people are displaced from their traditional ways of doing things at work and at home
But, I can guarantee you that Lewis would say that the economic function of cities is the primary
reason for their existence.
Finally, Lewis speaks in this section about cities in developing nations.
"It is important to take a moment to note that many cities in the developing world today are
trying to cope with the kinds of problems that our society dealt with a century or more ago.
However, the scale of urbanization (the process of becoming more urban and less rural) in these
regions is much different."
What he is trying to emphasize here is that developing nations are experiencing rapid
urbanization which is significantly changing the economies, society and political institutions of
these cities. This is basically something to keep in mind as you read through Module 6 on
Finally, in Part 2 of Module 2, Lewis discusses the four properties of cities.
The clustering of economic, social and political activities in the city. The idea of friction of distance -- time and money associated with overcoming distance. Cheaper and more efficient to
locate close to one another -- in cities.
Economic activities of cities. Specializing in the production of some commodities and importing
others. Cities are not self-sustaining. Remember that Lewis's perspective that cities exist because
of economic activities primarily.
Cities are costly (services, infrastructure, land values, etc.). Cities are continually in flux and this
costs money. There is an inertia here as well -- redevelopment costs money and there is some
backlash from society so only a small portion of a city is usually redeveloped at any given time.
This goes along with Lewis's perspective that you cannot understand the present city unless you
understand the city of the past because the city of the present is built on (and is an expression of)
the city of the past.
Cities require organization and cooperation to function effectively. This, in turn, requires urban
professionals -- politicians, planners, government workers, consultants, expertise like lawyers
and accountants, etc. Keep this in mind as Lewis discusses the Industrial City and the roots of
Make sure that you understand the key characteristics of each one of these properties so that you
can put the name of the property together with a description of that property.
Lewis discusses urban places at two scales of analysis. Understand what the two basic scales of
analysis are that urbanists typically use to explore the nature of cities.
-- urban systems
-- internal urban structure
Most of what you will be learning in the fall term would fall under the category of internal urban
structure. But, Lewis does discuss urban systems in Module 2. Since urban systems analysis is
one of Lewis's academic specialties, I am thinking that this is a topic he will be asking about on
the test (hint, hint).
Now, Lewis gives you a definition of urban systems fromAllan Pred. You can be sure that, if
Lewis and Peggy mention someone or give you a quote by someone, they are probably important
to the topic that they are discussing. In other words, they have chosen this person because they
are a significant person in that field. If they quote them then, you can be sure that this is the
"word" on the topic. Best keep these folks and these quotes in mind as you make your study notes.
Some general information about urban systems that you should know.
-- definition of urban systems
-- interdependence in urban systems
-- degree of rationality in the organization of the urban places
-- the % of the population in the 32 largest centres in Canada
-- the top 10 cities in Canada
-- the % of the population in the 6 largest centres in Canada
Acomment about the last point. Here we see a piece of information that has been addressed
twice in this lecture (the % of the population in the top 32 largest centres in Canada and the top
6 largest centres in Canada).Any time a professor emphasizes a point more than once you can
be sure that they think that it is important.And, if they think that it is important, the likelihood of
it showing up on a test or exam is very high.
Now, Lewis goes on to discuss Vance's mercantile model. This model is very important to
understanding the growth and development of the NorthAmerican urban system. Lewis spends a
considerable amount of time on this model ... so, you should have a good understanding of the
key characteristics of the stages listed below and how they are linked to the development of the
North American urban system and the establishment and growth of key urban centres in North
-- definition of mercantilism
-- that the model is based on a study of long-distance trade
-- Stage 1: Exploration
-- Stage 2: Harvesting of Natural Resources
-- Stage 3: Emergence of Farm-based Staple Production
-- Stage 4: Establishment of Interior Depot Centres
-- Stage 5: Economic Maturity and Central Place Infilling
For each stage, in your notes identify:
-- the key activities of the stage (e.g., information gathering, settlement, etc.)
-- the economic activities of each stage (e.g., gathering raw materials for the mother land,
manufacturing for a domestic market, etc.)
-- the pattern of settlement (if any) of NorthAmerica (where and how)
-- the establishment of key urban centres in NorthAmerica (i.e., points of attachment and interior
collection point or interior depot centres or depots of staple collection)
-- the role of technology in each stage
Akey term that you should know is exogenous growth.
Exogenous growth is factors of growth generated from forces external to the economy or urban
system in question. In the case of the NorthAmerican urban system and the Mercantile Model,
this is what Lewis has to say: "The impulses for economic and urban growth were exogenous to NorthAmerica. That is, the
driving force for urban settlement was external to NorthAmerica. European expansion provided
the stimulus for urban growth in NorthAmerica."
In other words, growth of the economy and urban system of NorthAmerica was stimulated by
forces external to the NorthAmerican economy. Those forces emanated from Europe and the
European economic interests that were looking to NorthAmerica for raw materials, a new
market and a place to settle (transplant population).
Module 3: Part 1
The other scale of analysis that Lewis discusses in his lectures is the internal structure of cities.
Most of the lectures in the fall term are based on this scale of analysis. Important here is Lewis's
"I cannot emphasize enough that each phase of development builds upon the urban form of the
This is the basis for his lectures in the fall term -- you cannot understand the present without first
understanding the past. Remember this -- "the internal structure of urban places is organized and
reorganized through a series of economic, social, and political process."
In module 3, Lewis first sets the ground work for the analysis of the internal structure of the
modern city by examining early cities. He begins with the Commercial City (also referred to as
the Pre-industrial City, "walking cities" or "pedestrian cities") and then discusses the Transitional
City. This is the foundation upon which the Industrial City was built -- the economic, social, and
political framework of the city prior to Industrialization. Well, actually the Transitional City is
that period between the Commercial City and the fully developed Industrial City.
Now, Lewis spends most of the lecture dealing with the Industrial Revolution itself to give you
an understanding of the revolutionary changes that took place economically, socially and
politically that impacted on the city. I cannot emphasize enough that technology is key here. It is
the theme of the course and certainly the key underlining factor in the changes in cities that
Lewis talks about. Technology was central in the Industrial Revolution as I will talk about later.
To summarize the transition from the Commercial City to the Industrial City in terms of the
internal structure of cities, it is important to focus on the key technological innovation that
brought about these changes -- transportation technology. To look at the impact of transportation
on the city, I will jump a little ahead (module-wise) to tie in the features of the Industrial City so
you can see how the city changed from the Commercial City to the Transitional City and finally
to the Industrial City.
Aquote from Knox, who Lewis refers to in his lectures, summarizes this point: "Within each
phase of urban development, innovations in transportation systems are considered by many [including Lewis] to have been the single most important determinant of urban form and land
use, not only because they controlled the density and areal extent of urban development but also
because they gave expression to the pent-up energies of successive phases of economic and
Okay, let's break this statement down into it's essential components (and borrow bits from
1) "each phase of urban development" -- Lewis discusses three distinct phases in city
A) The Commercial City
B) The Transitional City
C) The Industrial City
The key here is "the single most important determinant ..." -- that is "innovations in
The effects that transportation has on urban development?
-- urban form and land use (i.e., the internal structure of cities -- where things are located relative
to one another)
-- density and areal extent of urban form -- how intensively the land is used and how big the city
-- economic and social change -- how economic and social land uses are organized in the city
So, how does this relate to the city?
The Commercial City
- hand carts