Lectures 2-5 Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Damian Dupuy

Cliff Lau University of Toronto GGR124 Lectures 2-5 Urban places can be defined using a variety of different criteria Population minimum size of settlement or agglomeration; minimum density; relying on population alone can be problematic Economic base minimum proportion of the labour force in non-agricultural occupations Administrative using some legal or administrative criteria; but comparative research is difficult; physical and social extent of the city can extend far beyond the administrative responsibility (people could work in one area but commute from a different area) Functional reflect the real extent of the urban influence; census data expressed in terms of functional definition; Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) is bigger than the administrative area (Toronto includes Mississauga, Markham, Vaughn, etc) Understanding Urban Geography Understandinterpret the distribution of towns and cities Account for the differences and similarities between them and within them Two key themes: spatial distribution of towns and cities (system of cities); internal structure of the city (city as a system) Discipline is eclectic Approaches to Urban Geography Environmentalism th 1. Dominant up to the mid-20 century 2. Relationship between people and their environment 3. Site and situation studies physical characteristics determine urban development www.notesolution.comCliff Lau University of Toronto 4. Urban morphology how urban areas have grown and changed over time 5. Recent work concentrates on the production, form, and design of urban areas Positivism 1. General paradigm shift in the 1950s 2. Human behaviour is determined or influenced by scientific and universal laws 3. How scientific laws produced observable patterns of urban activity or form on-the-ground 4. Two broad approaches ecological, and neo-classical 5. Ecological human behaviour is based on ecological principles; most powerful groups obtain the most advantageous place in a given space 6. Neo-classical driving force was rationality; homo-economics or economic rationality of human behaviour; cost-minimization of benefits-maximization Behavioural and Humanistic 1. Emerged in the 1970s as a reaction to scientific determinism 2. Behavioural extension of positivism; focused on decision-making, on human behaviour but in a model-like way still seeking generalizations 3. Humanistic looking for the deeply subjective and complex relations between individuals and groups, and the places they exist; techniques drawn from the humanities (use of film, writing, paintings, etc) Structuralism 1. Broad approach in the social sciences 2. Importance of social, economic, and political structures in society 3. Derived from the writings of Karl Marx 4. Approach was dominant in the 1970s and beyond mainly in response to social problems emerging in urban areas www.notesolution.com
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