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Chapter 14

Reading for Week 6. Book: Social Problems, Chapter: 14

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SP14: Populations, Cities and Neighbourhoods
Julian Simon: humans as the ultimate resource. To solve problems we dont need fewer ppl, but better
educated ppl. A better organized humanity is the solution. Very innovative under difficulties.
Population growth and imperfections on how societies are run; worsen urban problems.
World Population in Context
Two stages, slow growth till industrialization (1700s), then exponential growth.
Now, growth rates are slowing down.
Most growth in developing countries; developed countries share of pop will be halved.
Excessive population growth problem of the past. How though?
The demographic transition
Shift in demographic patterns from high [birth/death] rates to low [birth/death] rates.
In four stages: (1) high/high; (2) industrialization =>high/low (explosive growth), (3) med/low =>slower
increase, (4) post industrial stage => low/low=> no pop growth. Canada may even be past this stage.
William Goode: World Rev and family patterns. How the development of the world changes family
dynamics (demographic transition idea).
Contrasting Perspective on Pop Change
Malthusian Position (Thomas Malthus)
Geometrical growth (exponential) of pop. Subsistence materials grow arithmetically. Well run out of
Solutions: 1. Positive checks: prevent overpopulation by increasing death rate
2. Preventive checks; prevent by limiting birth rate
Criticism: 1. Some nations will handle populations problems peacefully, not war
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2. Food production is not arithmetic; technology aids in production
3. Alfred Sauvy; look at case by case of overpopulation. If unavoidable; look for benefits
4. Joel Cohen; we can modify our environment, this carrying capacity’ is not constant
Population Density
Increase in Pop.density due to high fertility, migration; both of which act on under urbanization.
Correlations: Inc popdensity => dec fertility
Inc popdensity => inc innovation techniques for living, cuz perceived lack of resources.
Inc pop density => economic growth , It is more efficient to be close to everything, large
economic activity.
Humanity benefits from coming together in big cities, advancement socially, culturally and economically.
Urban Sociology: A primer
Max Weber: Cities; greatest social invention.
Contrasting images of urban life
Tonnies: Gemeinschaft-. Characteristics typical of rural and small town life. Strong bonds, ends rather
than means for friendships.
Gesellschaft-. Characteristics of urban settings, weakly connected. Means rather than ends.
Wirth: Urbanism as way of life: cities with less social integration and cohesion than small towns.
Anonymous and stressful.
Simmel: city life affects ppl psychologically and emotionally
The history of Urbanization
Urbanization: large proportion of pop shifted form rural to urban.
Urban area: at least 1000 and >400ppl/km^2
Problem with urbanization is that the state must be able to provide infrastructure, housing, jobs, etc. Rapid
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