GGRA03 – Cities and Environments
Chapter 6 ▯ Urbanization in Historical Perspective (week 1 Reading)
Urbanization Concentration of human population in towns, cities, and metropolitan areas.
▯ The Three periods
• Urbanization can be divided into 3 periods
1) Earliest Cities (10,000 BC 1800)
o Villages and farms.
o World population approx. billion
o Cities rarely contained more than 10% of population
2) Urban growth began to accelerate (18002010)
o 50% of population lived in cities
o Urban population growth rate
o Scientific Revolution
3) Urban population no longer until the end of urbanization (2010 present)
o 7580% live in urban areas
o World population stabilizes to about 911 billion people
Cities used to hold approx. 10,000 people and be within a defensive wall.
Cities were “Walking Cities”, everything within walking distance of each other.
Babylon (300 BC) and Rome (200 AD) among the only expectations, they had large empires.
Technology or Scientific Revolution (1800) led to increase in income and therefore an
increase in population.
Greater population lived in cities
Turning point in urbanization
▯ From Malthusian to Modern Economics
Malthusian Economics – Economics of subsistence
Scientific revolution had no yet happened
Parents preferred to have more children with lesser education rather than less children with better
Modern Economic – Sciencebased technological advances and new forms of
Increase in incomes as well as return to education increasing specialization in trade.
Urbanization went hand in hand with domestication or plants and animals during the agricultural
▯ Improvements in Urban Public Health
3 stages in urbanization associated with 3 corresponding periods in public health.
Theory of Epidemiologic Translation distinguishes periods.
1) Pestilence and Famine
Infectious diseases, malnutrition, maternity complications.
Kept population in check
2) Receding Pandemics
Improvements in nutrition and hygiene associated with higher incomes.
Higher rates of survival causing population growth.
3) Degenerative and Manmade Diseases
infectious diseases, in life expectancy
Life expectancy greater than 50 years
Manmade diseases caused by smoking, radiation, unhealthy diets, and pollution.
Degenerative diseases such as old age, cancer, strokes, heart disease etc.
Smaller house holds (23 people) take up more land than large house holds (56 people).
▯ Cities Walls Come Down
Walls served to protect city and distinguish city from fringe areas.
As population increased cities were forced to extend their walls into fringe areas.
In the 19 century following the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1815) city walls lost their defensive
Transformation from closed to open cities.
▯ Urban Transportation Revolution The end of the “Walking City”
Before 19 century all cities were “walking Cities”, city small enough to walk from one place to
Technological innovations made it possible for cities to expand
Began with public transportation; horsedrawn carriage, steam
propelled ferry and train, and later on the automobile. 3
Innovations in communication happened at the same time such as the telegraph, telephone, and
eventually the cell phone and Internet
Commercialization coupled with increase in income meant that urban dwellers no longer lived
within close proximity.
Cities now able to go above a population of 1 billion.
▯ Lecture 1 Introduction to Course
• Cities and Environments
A 1000x the rate of extinction.
30% of species will be extinct in our lifetime.
1000’s of species go extinct each year. 4
We’re mid way through the world’s greatest environmental catastrophe ever, of climate change.
Threshold of 400ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere per year.
Passed threshold in 2013, more than has been seen in 80,000 years.
We will reach a population of 8.1 billion by 2025
And 9.6 billion by 2050
Estimated that 50% of humans will be extinct in the next 100 years.
We have to reduce carbon emissions by 8090% to avoid a catastrophic climate impact.
▯ Urbanization and Urban History (Week 2 Reading)
▯ Urban Cycles
No one believes in the diffusion theory anymore, that cities originated in Mesopotamia and
spread from there.
Evidence that towns existed 23 thousand years before Mesopotamia.
Urban revolution flared individually in several places at different times. 5
Townmaking and urban life are NOT a steady state of existence but surge and lapse in irregular
▯ Urban Origins
“What came first the chicken or the egg?” situation.
Concept of surplus, cities started where there was a shift away from the simple village economy.
Surplus production beyond the needs led to a specialization of tasks.
Towns are built for and by people.
Decisions made by people not of some inevitable physical control.
▯ Early City Form
Early cities came in many shapes.
Making cities was an intentional act.
Kings made cities to in order to set up their rule.
Ritual properties made layout artificial. (layout was to please the God’s)
Shape of many cities in history represent growth grafted to the original core.
▯ What is a City?
Place where crowing of people takes place.
Not the size but the density.
Cities come in clusters, a town NEVER exists unaccompanied by other towns.
Made of buildings and people.
▯ Lecture 2 – Urban Environments in History
Cities produce the vast majority of pollution, but could also be the solution.
Cities were made for continuous, cheap energy.
Energy needs to be more expensive to solve issues of climate change caused by urbanization
1) Why is History Important?
Provide a detailed record of detailed record of urban values, ideas, and
To understand longterm patterns 6
Urban systems are complex and are built upon prior systems.
Historical analysis or urban growth, development, and change are key to understanding urban
Cities are an expression of values.
Analysis of how cities change over time allows understanding of the civilizations that give
rise to them.
Cities provide evidence of past decisions.
Understanding problems in the past help to understand the institutions we are working with today.
2) When, where, and why did cities emerge?
Theories of urban origin:
Hydraulic Theory ▯ Control over water is essential, for irrigation and travel.
Early cities were almost always establishes at key locations on rivers.
Irrigation systems need governance that can mobilize large investments.
Large impact on urban patterns.
Economic Theory ▯ Economic factor are the most important in urban development – ports,
energy sources, raw materials, etc.
Ex. Chicago in the 19 century, economic development due to rich hinterland.
Military Theory ▯ Settlements established at military strategic locations
Remain influential after strategic value of settlement is gone.
Glacis – Area around star shaped settlement
that soldiers can shoot down
Not aloud to build anything in area,
remained open space.
Cannons have a clear line of fire.
Religious Theory ▯ Centers that are important for religious reasons, are the starting point for
many cities (ex. Jerusalem, Rome)
Political Capitals – Some cities are the product of decisions made by kings, emperors, and
Cities made primarily to be a political capital (ex. Ottawa, Washington)
Ottawa built were it is to be as far away from the US so they couldn’t control Canada by
taking over capital of the country.
Q. Which theory is the most convincing?
A. All of the above, never know a single cause for urbanization. 7
3) Fundamental Characteristics of Cities (Kostoff)
Large population size and density
Fulltime specialization of labor
Class structured society
State organization; government (form of power).
Boundaries, physical boundaries of inside and outside
Cities generated need for writing.
All cities share certain common qualities.
Histories and decisions contribute to a different outcome of each city.
▯ Path Dependence
Describes situations where institutions commonly accepted sets of rules, become harder to
change over time.
▯ Physical Characteristics of Cities
Walls surround most early cities, not so much these days.
Were for defense but also controlled population, flow of goods, and separation between urban
and rural areas (civilization and barbarians)
Majority of public space
Used to be used as sewers, variety of uses.
3) Public and Private
Division between public and private space.
Cities require a political authority with power to maintain public spaces against private
Include Railways, highways, arenas, churches, markets, and canals. 8
Can provide long lasting structures to urban growth.
Can be public or private.
5) Water supply
Urban Form Is the spatial arrangement of cities and the spatial flow of people, goods, and
information that result.
Idea that relationship between city and nature is important.
Tradition of city separate from rural, nature, and wilderness.
Goal was to conquer nature.
Relationship with surrounding agricultural areas for food.
▯ Lecture 3 – The Industrial City
▯ Industrial Revolution
4 main changes:
1) Technology and productive capacity
Coal, steam engine
Based on industrialization
3) Increasing role of capitalism.
4) Expansion of global market and competition.
▯ The Transformation of Production
Allowed for vast expansion of production, especially from 1800’s1900
New energy sources (coal) allowed for industrial growth. 9
Increased production of iron, steel, and machine tools
Increased wealth, new products.
▯ Transformative Technologies
Railways opened transportation and opened up new markets and resources.
Shipping costs dropped, allowing global market access
Telecommunications (telegraph) undersea cables increased connectivity.
Iron and steel smelting = reduced prices.
Industrial production transformed cities.
Huge rural to urban migration.
Cities grew much larger very quickly.
Transformed life in cities, more people were poor.
▯ Emergence of Capitalism
Capitalism spread all over the world through colonization.
Creation of modern market society.
Housing, water, food etc. all became subject to market price instead of selfprovided or provided
▯ Urban Crisis
European urban population doubled between 18501880.
Poverty – insecurity no health care, employment insurance etc.
Injured people have no way of getting income for family.
Housing – Desperate overcrowding in inner city sections.
Water supply – Older technologies (wells) were no inadequate.
Sewers – Human waste disposal became major issue.
▯ Social Changes
Concentration of poverty in inner city slums.
There was always poor people but never packed together in such large numbers.
Growing fear of disease and disorder.
Behavior of lower class became alarming
Fear of a working class revolution
Decline of morals, and the belief that the poor were “lazy”.
Not going to church anymore 10
• Similarities and Differences of Urbanization THEN and NOW: ***
Disease Working conditions (poor) Informal settlements
Poor living Lack of water, toilet Globalization + investments
Vaccines Knowledge availability Toxins
Technology Migration patterns
▯ Crisis and Reform
Filthy, desperate, overcrowding, disease, poverty, crime, and misery.
Fear of working class revolution led to the development of many solutions to urban crisis.
▯ Towards the Planned City
Growing support for planning as a solution to urban crisis
Not developed by working class developed by middle class and various elites.
▯ Political Problem
To get action for reform it it necessary to convince political leaders:
That the issue is important
That there is a solution (have to have a solution)
That costs will be less than the benefits.
Difficult in the 19 century
Local governments had little power and money.
▯ Changing Understanding of City Environment
After 19 century that new idea that city environments could and must be planned and built
Analysis that public water, public transit, sewage etc. could be solution to that urban crisis.
▯ Responses to the 19 century Urban Crisis
3 main responses: 11
1) The Utopians Saw urban crisis as a chance to change social organization.
2) The Paternalists – Concerned with the evils of urban life and quality of labor.
3) Civil Reformers – Most influential, sought not to change society but to fix worst
aspects of it.
Municipal Infrastructure – Major realization in late 19 – early 20 century that large cities
needed investments in physical infrastructures. (water, streets, sewers, schools)
▯ Growth of Toronto
Toronto was still quite small in 1900
Streetcars, owned by a private company, refused to extend the line to go into the new areas
created from urban population growth in the city.
Modernity and Utopia (Week 4 Reading)
▯ Urban Utopias
Emphasis on the achievement of a better society, creators though that social problems could be
fixed with the right environment.
Embrace grand architecture.
Always include some notion of social structure.
Try to capture the spirit of modernity, the feeling of living in the modern times.
▯ The Garden Movement
Human society and nature meant to be enjoyed together.
Medium sized, freestanding cities that would solve problems of overcrowding, unemployment,
poverty, and warfare between the classes.
“Town and country as magnets”
Each has the power to attract and repel
Separated from each other by a green belt.
Each Garden City has it’s own industry.
Clusters of towns called “social cities”. 12
▯ The Modern Movement
Architecture would play a socially transformative role.
Modern Movement – Campaigned for radical reconstruction of existing cities.
Lecture 4 – Modernity and Utopias
Important aspect to understand what happened to cities during the 19 century.
Modernity is the belief of continuous progress for improvements and technical solutions to
Product of the enlightenment and scientific revolution.
Influenced by the rapid economic growth and new technologies.
Social problems could be fixed with technology.
Getting rid of backward ways of rural areas and replacing poverty (poorness) of agriculture.
Idea that contrasts “tradition” and “modernity”
▯ Modernity and Europe
Ideas of modernity were highly Eurocentric
Orientalism is the Eurocentric idea that MiddleEast societies were underdeveloped while Europe
was developing and superior.
Modernity overcome tradition, which is less advanced and unchanging.
Change represented progress and the future.
European colonization was justified as a project to civilize that rest of the world, which was seen
to them as “traditional “and backward (not modern).
▯ Modernity and the City 13
Modernity influential for urban thinking.
Problems of the city could be solved with technology, investment, and new policies.
“ The ideal city” seems achievable and would change society.
Urban reform would bring better living conditions, but also transform into a more equal society.
Could be achieved quickly and easily.
Modernity – Refers to the period starting with the Enlightenment (16501750), which is
characterized by the rejection of tradition and religious rule in Europe.
Modernism – A movement in art, literature and architecture beginning in the early 20 century
that celebrated technology and progression.
The modern movement was the most important 20 century movement in architecture.
Describes the ideas of an ideal or “perfect” community or society: usually with abundant food,
good housing, beautiful, and with no poverty.
Long period of utopian thinking since Plato in 4 century BCE.
Many utopias involve cities and urban building projects.
Dreaming of utopian solutions was popular in bad times of crisis, war etc.
The “ideal city” would solve all social problems and conflicts.
Thomas More the first to use the term “Utopia” in his book in 1516.
▯ The City as a Vehicle for Utopia
Throughout history there has been thinking about alternative arrangements of society.
Assumption that social problems are bound in urban form, to solve problems environment must be
The opposite of utopias.
Imagining the terrible future.
Usually projecting forwards and exaggerating modern trends.
Often dystopian books/movies (ex. “1984”, “hunger games”) are trying to make a political point
trying to warn of a perceived danger.
▯ The Use of Utopia and Dystopia 14
Imaging a different future.
Seeing existing world from a different view.
Propose solutions as achievable.
Warning of possible terrible futures.
Critiquing a problematic present.
▯ The Garden City
One of the most influential ideas was Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City.
The industrial city would be gradually emptied out into new purpose built towns.
All classes would live in each town, housing would be inexpensive, jobs nearby, and the
land owned by the town.
To town country, or garden city, benefits of both urban and rural are combined together
▯ New Towns
Howard’s followers founded the Garden City Association in 1899.
Build 2 garden cities
▯ 20 Century City Design Radicalism
Modern movement advocated new urban forms designed around cars, and rapid transit.
▯ 4 Goals:
Segregation, distribution of people.
Social, economic and political problems resolved.
Architecture, art, and literature.
Demolish old cities and build radically new cities.
▯ Problems with Utopian Approaches
Simplification of urban complexity.
Reliance on technology.
Creation of “blank slate”, solutions that require either a new town to be built or the demolition of an
Ignore conflicting ideas and beliefs. 15
▯ Megacities, Urban Form, and Sustainability (Week 5 Reading)
A century ago the vast majority of the worlds population was rural.
For the first time in history half the world’s population is urban.
In Urban transformation the most dramatic development has with large cities also know as
Megacities account for 9% of the urban population.
In the future we can either create a sustainable urban area or a wasteful unhealthy environment.
Urban form once established it becomes costly to alter.
▯ A World of Giant Cities
Rapid urbanization in poor countries leads to a lack of infrastructure (waster supply, waste
Causes poverty and sickness
Failure to manage urban fringe land development has led to wasteful urban sprawl.
Sprawl causes air pollution, long distance commuting, land waste and highenergy use
Also causes the wealthy to create community of the wealthy withdrawing themselves from
contributing to share of resources.
▯ Sustainable Megacities?
Sustainability Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generation.
Megacities are inherently unsustainable with their vast consumption of resources and equally vast
production of wasted.
▯ Defining Megacities
Population from as low as 4 million to 8 or 10 million.
7 major issue characteristics of Megacities: 16
1) Air pollution
2) Water supply waste
3) Waste Management
6) Growth management
▯ Giant Cities in Developed and Developing Countries
Cities in rich and poor countries differ in sustainability and their capacity to manage them.
Fundamental difference in developing and developed countries is not just wealth but the speed
and timing and growth.
Rapid urbanization has had major consequences; infrastructure takes time and money, often not
enough to keep up with urbanization.
Governance takes time to evolve to generate effective way to deal with these
Urban Environmental Transition – Suggests that cities go through a sequence of
environmental challenges, as they get wealthier.
• “Brown” Issues – Clean water supply and waste management
• “Grey” Issues – Air and water pollution
• “Green Issues – Life support and sustainable ecosystems (acid rain, global warming)
Developing cities deal with all 3 issues simultaneously, rather than in stages. 17
▯ Lecture 5 – Megacities
▯ What are Megacities?
Current definition of having a population greater than 10 million
Used to be 4 million, and 8 million
No reason to think there is a qualitative difference between cities of 8 and 10 million.
There is clearly a difference between cities of 1 million and of 810 million.
Pollution, governance, housing, water, economy, and congestion impact large cities
▯ Why are Megacities Important?
Contain about 9% of the population.
There were only 2 megacities in 1950; by 2007 there was 19 (15 in developing countries).
In 2025 it is predicted that there will be 27 megacities, with 22 in developing countries.
Majority of growth of megacities in poor, developing countries.
Understanding problems and solution characteristic of megacities is essential.
Both a quantitative and qualitative change as growth of megacities increases.
Scale – Geographical concept that a city of 100,000 will function differently than a city of 5
million; evening if they have the same housing types, and population density.
May refer to the object of study (ex. Neighborhood, city, nation etc.)
Differentiation of spatial processes.
▯ Special Issues of Very LargeScale cities
Diseconomies of Scale – Increase in unit per cost of a product as a result from largescale
Economy of Scale – The decrease in unit per cost of a product as a result from largescale
operations (advantage to larger cities).
In the 20 century many predicted that over a certain size a range diseconomies of scale would
become dominant and would increase costs, and reduce efficiency; therefore leading to smaller
Diseconomies of scale cause congestion, long travel times, pollution, and high land costs.
Expected to increase with population growth.
Can be reduced by increased infrastructure investments, roads,
Economies of scale produce large markets and larger labor pools.
Have things like subways, opera houses, specialist services etc.
If large cities continues to grow economies of scale are larger than diseconomies of scale.
Diseconomies of scale mostly cost people, while economies of scale
Optimal city size unknown, there is debate over topic.
1) Extensive Patterns of Growth (Sprawl)
All megacities struggle with extensive growth.
Increasing use of cars, and development of fringe gated communities.
Land prices cheaper at the edge.
Hard to manage growth that goes past municipal boundaries.
Sometimes illegal and considered squatting and/or land invasion.
Cause political fragmentation.
2) Increasing Polycentricity
Multiple centers in a region. (ex. Downtown Toronto, Scarborough, Mississauga).
Polycentric development long thought to be ideal for metropolitan regions.
Jobs decentralizes, jobs not in the centers but in the suburbs.
Sometimes centers are unplanned (Los Angeles).
Natural pattern in large cities.
3) Social Spatial Polarization
Major pattern in megacities today.
There is an increase in spatial sorting of class.
Allows separation of elites from larger urban conservation and taxes.
Those in gated communities no longer have incentive to contribute to public goods, infrastructure,
and public facilities.
Promotes an increase in inequality.
4) Political Fragmentation
▯ Splintering Cities 19
Graham and Marvin describe sociospatial polarization as the product of “splintering cities”.
Many cities tend to have fragmented urban space, nonunited government, elites and
other lower classes.
▯ Planet of Slums
Megacities form a major part of the current “planet of slums”
Urban growth taking place at a time of shrinking government resulting in the production of illegal
slums, without water supply or sewers.
Formal – Sectors that are officially recognized and documented and therefore pay taxes.
Informal – Those beyond official recognition and record and therefore don’t pay taxes.
Allow people to survive in cities where are few formal jobs.
Lecture 6 – Cities as Systems in a Global Urban System
▯ Global Urban Revolution
New pattern of Urbanization, very different from that in developed countries.
Massive urban population growth
Rapid economic change. 20
Development of a global urban system.
Shift of jobs to services (service sector).
Demographic Transition – Describes and explains the process of rapid population growth
that occurs as poor countries modernize.
Primary cause is that a drop in death rates almost always happens before the drop in birth rates
Drop in death rates is a result of better medicines, water supply,
Drop in birth rates depends of increasing wealth and education.
Scale of population increase depends on the time interval between these 2 factors.
Urbanization patterns in the next 40 years will be criti