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Chapter 3

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Andre Sorensen

GGRA03: Cities and Environments Professor: Andre Sorensen Chapter 3: The Industrial City  When James Thompson wrote The City of Dreadful Night in 1880, he was referring to the dirty, gritty city of London in the midst of rapid industrialization  Rapid urbanization and increasing population density created a strained, hazardous and degraded physical environment that had visible and often significant health impacts Pollution in Coketown  “Coketown” to refer to cities like Manchester, a new type of city where industrialism produced the most degraded urban environment the world had yet seen  Industrialization generated unprecedented levels of urbanization Water Pollution in the Industrial City In the industrial era, cities faced two pressing water issues: 1. Water quality 2. Locating sufficient water supplies for a rapidly urbanizing population Water pollution in the industrial city originates from two main sources: 1. Residential: human and animal waste, which is composed of organic compounds 2. Commercial: factories and businesses Land Pollution  Rubbish, garbage, ashes, scrap metals and slag (formed during iron smelting and other metallurgical processes) were often disposed of on open or vacant lots around the city  Many industrial cities were ill-prepared to provide adequate sanitation services  Ever increasing mounds of waste became a major issue for the industrial city, but the debate was who was ultimately responsible for providing such services- private interests or the city? Air Pollution Although there were concerns about air pollution, it tended to be regarded as a nuisance and was lower on the environmental agenda for two important reasons: 1. The impacts of smoke were the dirtying of buildings and high cleaning prices for clothing, but scientists at the time were unable to link smoke with health problems o Water pollution had a more immediate and direct link to public health through the spread of infectious diseases and the rise of bacterial science had showed cause and effect scientifically 2. Smoke was equated with progress, growth and jobs, and the smoky skies were a constant reminder of economic growth and prosperity Reforming the Industrial City  Many had accepted environmental degradation as the price for economic growth 1 GGRA03: Cities and Environments Professor: Andre Sorensen  Pollution became no longer simply a nuisance- it was an unwanted and sometimes dangerous by- product of industrialization  Public health reforms developed out of the dangers of the industrial city o In Europe, the 1832 cholera epidemic killed 20,000 Parisians and many in London, helping to convince an enlightened few of the need for a systematic public health system  Martin Melosi has called the “Law of Purification” o “Clean” meant whatever the observer could touch, taste, smell or see with the naked eye o Visible organisms could live and even thrive in a watery environment was beyond imagination  In cities around the Western world, it became a matter of prestige and pride to construct large- scale water and san
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