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GEO 793
Valentina Capurri

Understanding 21 Century Urban Structure: Sustainability, Unevenness, and Uncertainty Issues that contemporary cities face include: • Sustainability: Deals with pollution and removing pollutants • Unevenness: Pertains to the inequality both within and between cities • Uncertainty: Refer to the instability generated by intensification of economic competitions, propelled by globalization Unevenness • The loss of well paid manufacturing jobs, the shrinkage of the public sector, and the attrition of trade union movements have resulted in a smaller middle class • The rich have enjoyed disproportional rise in their incomes • Due to decades of low birth rates, only regions that are able to attract immigrants will be able to maintain/expand their population • All other urban areas will face demographic decline Uncertainty • Uncertainty for large numbers of people will mean frequent changes of employment • Uncertainty associated with the future availability of economic conditions and natural resources that define the suburban lifestyles • Raising fuel prices and falling wages will mean that the lifestyles will be difficult to maintain 6 properties in understanding the urban phenomenon include: • Production • Reproduction • Proximity • Capitalization • Place • Municipal/urban governance Production • Economic production creates jobs, which is the main reason for urban growth • Urban settlements are different from traditional self-reliant rural economies due to the inability of the city to satisfy all its consumption requirements and the resulting imperative to export goods and services to profit in order to be able to acquire and pay for required products from outside • Need for specialized activities to be close to one another to survive and also be close to workers rules out the presence within cities of large surfaces needed to feed their population • A city must reach beyond its territory to secure other products and resources essential to sustain its population and economic activity o This includes forms of energy and water • For city to exist it must be in the position to export sufficient goods and services to counterbalance its imports • Cities that fail to export decline and may disappear altogether • The tendency today is for cities to transform and consume goods from around the world and sell their products on the international markets • Due to the decline in production, developed countries(Canada) must rely on innovation and knowledge-intensive activities to compete on the world stage • A shift towards a service economy is felt within cities due to the fact that we see abandoned industrial premises and on the other hand we see and explosion of restaurants, business, and personal services and places of entertainment and cultural activities Reproduction • Reproduction is essential for maintain labour force • Besides child birth, other processes are required for maintaining the labour force, which include: o Health care o Education o Social services o Family and community support • Canada’s inability to reproduce is why the foreign immigration rate has soared in recent years • Smooth operations of reproduction systems allow employers to find an abundant workforce that is healthy, qualified for the tasks, and possesses a work ethic compatible with types of employment present in a given city • Today, Reproduction related consumption of both services and goods, also represent an important outlet for production sector o Services include fast food, child care, etc o Goods include dishwasher, microwave ovens, hygiene, home maintenance products, etc. • Knowledge intensive economy places a burden on post secondary education o Shift from public to private funding (reason for high tuitions) Proximity • Historically people congregate close to each other and activities, to minimize cost of interaction. • Proximity to education, shopping, entertainment, medical facilities, and friends and family • People opt for urban living because of their need for frequent interaction outside the home • Businesses and institutions locate in cities so they can be close to their market, labour base, and other entities that they maintain a relationship with • Cities make interaction affordable in terms of cost and time • A by product of interaction is innovation o Ease of interaction is why cities have been a catalyst for change in social, economic, technological, and cultural realms • Creative cities is based on the assumption that urban fabric can be designed, developed, and spatially structured to promote and welcome all kinds of interaction • Consequences of proximity include: o High cost of land in the city relative to the country • Proximity is determined by transportation systems and activity distribution patterns • In pre-industrial cities, they depended on non-mechanized forms of transportation and where activities were centralized, this principle severely confined the area of urbanized territory • Role of accessibility has played an important role since the early 20 century o Centralization and high density o Dispersion and low density o Return to high residential density in inner city of large metropolitan regions Capitalization Vast resources invested to accommodate agglomerations of residents, businesses and services • Since urban land is a scarce resource, it becomes the object of substantial capital investment so its use can be maximized • Capitalization influenced by engineering possibilities • Improving technologies have promoted larger city size and, until the relatively recent predilection for suburban forms, higher density • Durability contributes a considerable degree of continuity to urban landscape • The cost of redevelopment are much higher than development costs on Greenfield sites at the urban edge Obstacles to urban environment adaptability: • the symbiosis that bind patterns of behavior to built environments o Ex. High capacity road systems encourage reliance on the automobile and trucks, and high rates of car and truck use generate a continued demand for improved and expanded roads • Citizen resistance that occurs when proposals for redevelopment of previously built-up areas clash with residents’ strong emotional attachment to their homes/neighborhoods Place All about subjective attachment to a certain area. It is intangible and makes some locales feel good while others do not, and that invites / repels visitors • Sense of place – refers to the subjective and emotional feelings associated with different parts of the environment • Today, households opt to choose units for its place based on how it looks, feels, accommodates lifestyle, expresses personas; rather than for spatial attributes such as access to work Urban/municipal Governance Governance denotes the intrinsic need for administrative structures and political processes that can generate policies suited to the city • Functioning cities rely on shared infrastructures (transportation, communication, electricity, water, etc. ) and services (garbage collection) and on the battery of legal measures (property rights, bylaws, etc) intended to assure the orderly use of a wide variety of land uses • Cities are becoming larger and more complex, so complex that it is costly to maintain and the recent trend has been to downsize the governments and to engage in the privatization of public facilities and services ** The above factors have portrayed a horizontal view of cities. The following is a vertical view of how and why cities evolved to their present form. Urban properties City Development Metropolitan Suburban Development domination (1975- (Pre-1945) st ( 1945-75) 21 century) Production ▪ Manufacturing is a ▪Manufacturing ▪ More flexible forms major source of relocates in of production, employment in many suburban industrial intense truck based cities parks linkage patters ▪ Reliance on waterways ▪Heavy dependence ▪Added importance and railways for freight on trucks of service sector transportation leads to more and ▪Increasing ▪larger metropolitan importance of the larger suburban concentrations than areas house high- service sector over the previous density office translates into periods concentrations service centres in downtown suburbs and office ▪Concentration of development in both corporate head CBD and Suburbs offices and of advanced services persist in the core parts of metropolitan areas Reproduction ▪Importance of family ▪Baby boom takes ▪ As the period unit as a provider of place in early part of progressed, service period difficulties in maintaining welfare ▪High residential ▪Development of the state due to unstable occupancy levels; welfare state frequent overcrowding economic performance, intensified international competition, and health services required by aging population. ▪ Below replacement birth rate, high immigration levels Proximity ▪ Proximity determined Accessibility range is ▪ The suburban land- by walking and public vastly expanded by use pattern becomes transportation, which the car and new road dominant results in a strong CBD, networks. This steep accessibility and causes flatter ▪ ongoing flattening land value gradients, accessibility and land of accessibility and land gradients and and tight urban texture value gradients and reduced constraints a decentralization of activities on location ▪ Greatly augmented automotive travel leads to congestion and responses to congestion results in further dispersion of activities Capitalization Until 1945, capitalization ▪Generalization of a ▪The high cost of is a result of a gradual new, costly, suburban form of development of different suburban-style form urbanization causes sectors of urban tensions for development and households and ▪ infrastructures consist adaptation/retrofitting government in a in basic facilities: Water,of some older city more constrained sewage, roads, and parts economic climate streetcars ▪This urban form is consistent with the economic climate of the time Place ▪Strong identification Little attachment to Same as for the with the neighbourhood suburban areas with previous period, but and downtown, which the exception of local pressures for represent major hubs of residential areas redevelopment give activities and social rise to NIMBY relations objections partly based on preservation of character of residential areas Urban/Municipal Provision of basic ▪ Intense Same approach as Governance infrastructures but little infrastructure over previous land-use control. development and periods, but less ▪ the central city controlsland-use control; publicly sponsored urban renewal urban renewal and greatly increased most of the built-up area ▪ in spite of difficulty to maintain metropolitan required levels of government reform, expenditure on urban coordination infrastructures and problems at the services metropolitan scale ▪ also severe emerge ongoing coordination problems at the metropolitan scale CBD: Control Business District City development • Buildings were closely packed together, residential density was high, distance between home and work was short, and shopping facilities were found throughout the city and at walking distance from each home. • High income earners built near the edge of the city, in the later 19 century o At this time, pollution and other negative externalities associated with heavy industrial growth made living in the core area less desirable • Working class residential districts were located within walking distance from the factories and were in close proximity to heavy manufacturing and other less appealing features like railways. • Middle class took advantage of public transit and seeked out better homes in commuter suburbs. Metropolitan Development • Suburban areas developed over this 30 yr period are now generally referred to as “mature”/ “Inner” Suburbs • Widespread home ownership and increased indoor and outdoor per capita residential space consumption distinguished the new suburbs from the inner city • Production of relatively large homes on relatively large lots generated an unprecedented demand for mass-produced goods • Increased car ownership and use were inextricably linked to the rise in residential space and single family home ownership • High accessibility nodes located at major expressway interchanges and arterial intersections became sites for regional malls • After world war II, there was an immigration boom in which initiated a cycle of do-it yourself, private home improvements in the older inner city neighborhoods Consequences of Suburban Development • Quality of life in the inner city neighborhoods suffered considerably from efforts to improve suburban commuters’ accessibility to the CBD • Dramatic fall in the CBD’s share of metropolitan sales once regional malls became well established. Suburban Domination • Due to transportation advances, the metropolitan wide accessibility hubs had multiplied throughout the suburbs causing the densities in inner zones to drop and become lower than earlier periods. • Another outcome of transportation included access to rural hinter lands surrounding metropolitan regions • Suburban downtowns that combine office and retail concentrations with civic centres, generally smaller in scale but comparable in many respects. • Neo-traditional movement promotes the creation of neighborhoods that replicate positive features of late 19 and early 20 century forms of urbanization: o A main street, less visual intrusion of the car, vernacular architectural styles, picket fences, etc. Disenchantment with the dominant suburban form of growth has its roots in 4 different contingencies: 1) Downside of suburban dispersion is that its high development costs in a context of fiscal restrictions 2) Growing and profound awareness of adverse environmental and health effects 3) Quality of life implications and overall costs to households that have faced difficulties in accessing essential activities alongside frustrations time lost due to traffic congestion 4) Lack of appeal of many land uses associated with this urban form Urban Properties Circumstances causing a Context for transition rethinking of urban trends Production Changes in production, in part Economic trends are the outcome of international responsible for reduced competitions, causes uneven funding for infrastructure and growth (winners/loser cities) greater demands for social and limit government services. Insufficient funding revenues for current style infrastructures may have a role of brining about transition to alternative development styles Reproduction Aging is partly responsible for Reinforces the trends strain on public sector associated with production: resources. Immigration uneven urban development concentrates in large and insufficient funding for metropolitan regions, thus contemporary infrastructure accentuating a development forms/ or for infrastructures gap between cities supporting alternative development patterns Proximity Loss of metro-wide Congestion raises awareness accessibility due to of need for transition. But congestion, thus loss of auto/truck based land use advantage of living in large dynamic is deeply entrenched metropolitan regions. Also and many activities seek car- loss of local access, due to based economies of scale car-based markets for retail and services Capitalization Massive infrastructure Difficult to deviate markedly systems laid down over the from p
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