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Environmental Studies
Course Code
ENVS 2200
Stefan Kipfer
Study Guide

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What is urban?
Historical Towns, Cities:
Particular Settlements
demarcate from the countryside, the non-urban, the rural
Spatial concentrations of diverse activities
Old Montreal, site of former city wall
1. Urbanization as spatial concentration & extention
Lec. 2
A. Settlements for subsistence:
Human Settlement: ā€¢Human settlement refers to the ways in which people relate to their
environment in the places they work, reside, and sustain themselves
ā€¢Settlement is a geographical manifestation of human relationship to nature through
work, technology and social organization

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Hunter-gatherers, pastoralists and cultivators
Temporary or semi-permanent settlements
B. Historic cities: particular settlements
ā€¢Cities signal ā€œthe growing concentration and unequal distribution of production, power
and people in human societyā€ (Aidan Southall, 1998, 9)
>Geographical, spatial concentrations of social relations: production, reproduction,
authority, culture
>The best and worst of humankind
>Cities express both inequality and diversity [of social roles, occupations, ethnicity
(kin/lineage, language, religion)]
Conditions for the Rise of Cities
ā€¢Stable agricultural surpluses facilitate permanent settlement, a move beyond subsistence
for some
[The Neolithic agricultural revolution (10,000-5,000): animal husbandry,
ā€¢Specialization beyond age and gender
>permanent divisions of labour: trade, craft production, organized religion, professional
>These conditions may facilitate the transformation of semi-permanent agricultural
villages, religious centres, fortifications, trading posts into permanent towns and cities
(city-states, temple cities, craft centres and royal/imperial centres)
eg:catal huyuk
An alternative hypothesis: city ā€˜createsā€™ the countryside
ā€¢No agricultural villages that predate early cities of Catal HĆ¼yĆ¼k, Jericho have yet been
discovered; these cities helped organize agricultural surplus production
ā€¢Does the rise in agriculture 10ā€™000 years ago have its origin in the cities? (See James
Mellaart, Jane Jacobs in Ed. Soja, 2002)
ā€¢But: cities remain dependent on hinterlands (near or far) for food, resources, labour
Modes of Production
ā€¢Historically, cities are key features only in

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societies with certain modes of production (mops):
Mops = social ways of organizing work, transforming nature
>Mops with class inequalities, patriarchy and centralized authority (states)
>They allow for surplus to be extracted, appropriated by a dominant class, through
warfare, slavery, serfdom or wage labour, taxation (secular and religious)
Historical city types across time, space
ā€¢Cities in ancient Slave Societies: Athens, Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople
ā€¢Cities in Tributary Societies (S. Amin in E. Wolf):
-Imperial China (Kaifeng, Changā€™an, Hangchow, Nanking, Canton..) and Japan
(Kyoto, Edo)
-Early India (Harappa, Taxila, Sopara, Kanauj) and Islam (Damascus, Cairo,
Baghad, Tunis, Fes, Cordoba, Zanzibar, Lahore, Delhi, Agraā€¦)
-Medieval Europe (Venice, Florence, Bruges, Paris, Durham, Cologne,
ā€¢Cities and Urbanization under full-fledged Capitalism: (1750 -)
Historical Variations
ā€¢Varying functions, specializations
(centres of worship, trade and banking, imperial administration, craft, industrial
ā€¢Varying relations to countryside
-incorporation and exploitation (Ancient Greece, Rome, Imperial China,
Sumerian and Indian empires)
-competition (cities vs. royalty, nobility in feudal Europe, vs. nomads, pastoralists
in North Africa)
-transformation and subsumption (capitalism)
ā€¢Changing relative importance as settlement form: from minority to majority experience
2. Indigenous Settlement in the larger Toronto area
3. ā€¢Aboriginal settlements for about 11ā€™000 years
4. ā€¢Temporary, seasonal settlements and posts for hunting, gathering, fishing,
defense, and trade
5. ā€¢Agricultural settlements since about 1000 years ago (reaching up 2-5ā€™000
>Haudnesaunee/5 Nations/Iroquois (I), up to the foot of the Humber River
>Huron/Wendat (I), Georgian Bay
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