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Chapter 14

GEOG 101 Chapter 14: GEOG 101 —The Changing Structure of the city


Department
Geography and Environmental Management
Course Code
GEOG101
Professor
Elijah Bisung
Chapter
14

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GEOG 101 Readings
Chapter 14: The Changing Structure of the city
14A: Early Urban Morphology
Morphology: The form of a city, which varies but often includes an urban population, a centre, a perimeter, and
an internal transportation network.
The first element (form) of the city was the urban population itself.
o Urban population: a population composed of individuals who were not themselves engaged in
agriculture, yet they had to be fed and housed; providing food and shelter for urban population would
be an ongoing challenge to the urban economy.
Second element is the urban centre.
o Urban centre: represents the organizing principle of the city and reflects the vital concern of the
population.
In modern times, the centre is the downtown, where land value is at its peak and where
offices, banking, and retail functions are located, often in tall skyscrapers.
Third element is the perimeter.
o Perimeter: the manner by which a city is separated from the country, by a meaning of defense.
Often by a meaning of defense, since cities often provided safe haven for their residents and
for the surrounding rural population.
Also represents a social division.
Some cities marked themselves off by a system of parks or greenbelts.
The fourth element is the transportation network.
o Moves people and good around.
o Composed typically of surface streets or canals as a means of carrying heavy freight.
o Transportation network determined city design shapes:
Organic city: the street network developed by accretion, varying in width and typically twisting
like mazes.
i.e. Medieval cities, Boston.
Planned cities: streets were laid out along more symbolic lines, with symbolic elements.
Major cities in China, India, and Meso-America had a street pattern that followed
cosmological principles.
The type of street pattern with the greatest impact is the grid.
o First developed by an ancient Greek.
o Advantages: it is regular, simple, and repeatable for as far as the city aspires to go.
14B: Three Historical Urban Types
The political economic system, and the logic of where cities situated, determined the extern of urbanization.
The political economy also has a huge impact on the internal form of the city.
With growth of empires, cities became larger and could get bigger because of a larger area from which to extract
surplus food.
o Has do do with empires controlling larger hinterlands.
The second factor that allowed for greater size was improved methods of distribution.
o Empires built transportation infrastructures, enabling them to get food.
Most cities had a prominent wall; some were surrounded by water.
o Also has prominent churches and urban places.
What made cities distinct: the importance places on trade and artisan production.
The industrial city was the first urban form that generally came about without a wall.
14C: Land Values, Densities, and Urban Form
There is an importance placed on land value.
While functions in the public domain are located based on public needs, the private functions are determined by
market principles.
The market principle:
o Land value = f(site, internal situation)
F = function (specifically land value)
Access: The ability to travel between locations, such as workplaces, stores, and factories; is defined by an
individual’s situation.
Land value determines the intensity of use within the city.
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o The more expensive the land parcel near the centre more economical to use land more intensively
and build upwards.
The nature of land value also plays a big role in the density patterns found in cities.
o Density: the number of people per unit of land.
Nighttime density typically lower in downtowns because most of the space is reserved for
employment.
Daytime density high because people are working.
o Density gradient: The change in density of people over distance.
In general, American cities are the least dense in the world.
o Highest density in America New York.
The most distinguishing feature of the city is the central business district (CBD).
o Serves as a…
Central marketplace
Major transportation node
Nodal point: a place at which things, such as transportation routes, converge.
High-level services; company headquarters are typically here.
Heavy pedestrian traffic.
14D: Transportation and Modern Urban Growth
The modern city has been majority impacted by internal transportation systems.
o Reason: cities rely on accessibility.
Transportation stages:
o 1. Walking city:
Majority of people walked to get from one spot to another.
Before 1850, every city was a walking city.
Centre of the walking city was the port itself.
Bridges and ferries were established to connect central cities with nearby communities, like
Manhattan to Brooklyn.
Urban growth and inability to expand caused increased density.
o 2. Omnibus/horse car/streetcar:
As industrialization took off, urban centres were magnets.
Immigration and migration was on the rise.
The earliest transit system was horse-drawn omnibuses that traveled a fixed route for a fixed
fare.
Later, horse-drawn streetcars were laid out over rails; easier to push/pull.
Toward the end of the 19th century, several eclectic streetcars were developed.
Streetcar city.
o 3. Recreational auto city:
automobiles first came on the scene.
By 19430, there were 26 million cars.
o 4. Auto-centric:
Occurred after WW2.
Automobile began to fundamentally alter city morphology.
Car allowed people to live outside city.
Many of these new residences had less access to existing transit systems, allowing for the
influx of automobile purchase.
The new transportation era led to a decline in the central business district.
Concentric zone model:
Central Business district (CBD)
CBD fringe or frame: wholesale and warehouse functions, truck and railroad depots; industrial
belt.
Zone of transition: area of deteriorating housing and vice districts (red light districts, cheap
hotels, skid row).
Zone of independent workingmen’s homes/ residential zone: working and middle class
housing.
Commuters zone: suburban towns and satellite cities, accessible by transit rails.
14E: Housing the City
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The residential sector is the largest consumer of land in the city.
o Housing comprises of 1/3 of all land in the city.
Filtering: more prosperous families move out of older housing and into new housing, creating a vacancy, which is
filled by families that are less wealthy.
o This creates a cycle whereby older neighbourhoods can have more substandard, cheaper housing.
Gentrification: when the housing stock of a neighbourhood is improved generally through the introduction of
high-prices, more luxurious housing.
Neighbourhoods are best characterized by the prevailing age of housing.
Housing remains among the most biddable of commodities; you buy a house, and then you bid the price.
Foreclosure: the mortgage holder loses all claims to his or her property.
Subprime lending: mortgages made available to people who could not qualify for regular conventional, or prime,
mortgages.
Predatory lending: occur when these mortgages impose an undue financial burden on the households by forcing
debts that far exceed assets.
14F: Urban Development in Europe and Japan
Many European and Japanese societies have been eager to experiment with newer urban styles.
o European counties experimented with new forms of housings.
o Japanese experiment with urban forms more than anyone else trying to accommodate crowded
societies.
Cities in both Europe and Japan differ in that they must contend with much higher levels of centralized control
compared to US cities.
Many compact cities are truly walking cities.
14G: Cities in Less Developed Countries
Cities in less developed countries most contend with challenges based on massive growth combines with overall
poverty.
o No city could easily accommodate this increase, but overwhelming poverty makes matter worse.
While migrants go to cities looking for jobs, the employment picture is often quite bleak.
o Formal sector: jobs in industry, established services, and government.
o Informal sector: labour-intensive, absorbs the remainder of the workforce, open to everyone but offer s
low standard of living.
Illegal temporary structures built up by people with nowhere else to go are often described as squatter
settlements.
o Compose the poorest people, often migrants.
o Unservice without water, sewage, toilets, electricity, or roads.
o Housing is self built with whatever materials they can find.
For many people moving to the city, one of the pressing issues is the lack of proper housing.
Chapter 15: The Geography of Economic Activity and Agriculture
Economy: the extraction, production, consumption, and exchange of goods and services.
No matter how primitive, all human societies need to sustain themselves through economic activity.
15A: Small-scale economic systems
All economic activity takes place within an economic system.
An economic system is the way in which humans in a society organize themselves in regard to their economic
activity.
We take for granted that we live within a capitalist system.
What is more, few economic systems are PURE.
The earliest economic systems were marked by:
o Reliance on substance food gathering or agriculture.
o Economic relations occurred within a small group (i.e. clan or village).
o Small-scale production
o Extensive use f a barter system, involving trading goods and services.
Majority of human life was centered around the hunters and gatherers.
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