Communities, the Environment and Health
Community: A set of social relationships, typically arising from living in a particular place, that
give people a sense of identity and belonging
Social environment: Cultural context and patterns of relationships within which humans live
Natural environment: Land, water, air, vegetation and organisms that make up the physical
Built environment: Physical surroundings that humans create
Nomadic life: Most of history, humans were hunters and gatherers, living in small groups and
foraging their natural environment for food. They didn’t have a permanent residence and were
nomadic, following the migration of animals and seasonal availability of plants. Not much built
Rural life: 7,000-10,000 years ago, humans began growing crops and raising animals. People
became connected to one place, instead of roaming. Increasingly built environment. Produced
and stored food surpluses, protecting them from droughts and disasters. Specialization of labor.
Preindustrial cities: Rural to city life took thousands of years. Farmers increased capacity to
produce surplus food, they could support larger populations.
Modern urbanization: Remarkably short period in the 19 century, industrialization changed
how we lived. Foundation for industrial revolution was a massive new capacity to manufacture
Sunbelt cities and global growth
Today, urbanization is increasingly global phenomena. 2008, UN called “an invisible but
momentous milestone” that first time in human history, majority of people lived in urban areas.
In 2015, eight of the ten largest metropolitan areas will be developing nations.
Understanding the Culture of Urban Life
Gemeinschaft: Social organization in which most relationships are based upon the long0term
personal ties of collective kinship, common tradition, and shared values. Like small rural
Gesellschaft: Social organization in which most social relationships are impersonal, temporary
and based primarily on the pursuit of individual rational self-interest.
Durkheim – organic solidarity in the city. In his eyes, homogeneous rural communities exhibited
mechanical solidarity, social cohesion based on shared experience, personal ties and limited
sense of individuality. With the growth of cities, social solidarity was gradually replaced by
organic solidarity, a new form of social cohesion based on interdependence. In modern
industrial society, people depend on each other precisely because their work and social roles
are so specialized.
Jane Addams – to help address social problems like poor sanitation, crowded housing,
increasing crime and exploitation of workers, Addams cofounded Hull House in 1889, a
settlement house that provided community services for ethnically diverse poor and working-
class residents. She invented a new form of urban sociology that relied on gathering detailed
data and mapping the demographic characteristics of different neighborhoods. Community studies: Typically look at groups of people who share some common tie and
engage in social interaction within a particular geographic area. Employed small scale direct
observation from U of Chicago. Social cohesion even in the ethnic neighborhoods.
Human ecology: The study of the links between the physical environment – natural and built-
and social life. This approach reveals that the physical environment is important at all levels of
Distinguish between the various physical spaces that make up urban communities
Inner city: typically, the most de