Geography 2060A/B Chapter 4-5: geo week 4 readings

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Geography Week 4 Readings
Tuesday, January 31st 2017
Europe and Russia
CHAPTER FIVE: CITIES OF EUROPE
1. Integral to the study of urban development because of its long history and impact of
European urban influences worldwide
2. Urban system is dominated by world cities of London and Paris
3. Quite a few cities larger than 1 million people but growing slower than other regions
4. Exhibit great diversity in style/form, result of long history and mix of people and cultures
5. Demand for low-wage labor in Western Europe has meant that immigration has gradually
produced new cultural mixes in largest cities
6. Complex land-use patterns within European cities share certain similarities but also have
important differences with cities in the United States
7. Form part of an international trading block that contains nearly half a billion people with
a combined gross national income greater than the US
8. Since end of Cold War, Communist-era cities have undergone radical transformations,
bringing them closer to their western European counterparts
9. Europe became birthplace of modern city planning as it reacted to drawbacks of
uncontrolled growth during the industrial period
10. Sustainable urban management (including environmental protection and urban
transportation) is an increasing priority in Europe
European cities are interesting in their own right; they’re quite old reflecting the history of many
different economic, political, social and technological systems. European cities are essential to
understanding urban landscapes elsewhere; study of European urbanization is made all the more
exciting by the tumultuous changes since the fall of Communism. Cities in much of central and
Eastern Europe diverged in form and function from their western European counterparts. Europe
is more than 70% urban but there’s no standard definition for a city. Wide variation is found
from country to country; reflects correspondence between urbanization and factors such as level
of economic development, historical circumstances, relative location and even terrain/climate.
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES ON URBAN DEVELOPMENT
The forces that modify the built environment of individual cities also determined where cities
were initially located and how they flourished or declined.
Classical Period (800 BCE to 450 CE)
In early Greek culture independent city-states were located along coastlines reflecting sea-faring
culture and easily defendable hill sites, reflecting need for security. Greek towns shared common
traits; at the center was acropolis or high city, which contained temples and municipal buildings.
Below high city or suburbs were the agora (market place) and residential neighborhoods. These
cities were laid out in a north-south grid pattern surrounded by defensive walls; remaining quite
small by today’s standards (ranged 10,000-15,000). Greek civilization was displaced during 2nd
and 1st centuries BCE by the expanding Roman Empire. Although the structure of Roman cities
was similar to their Greek predecessors there were important differences:
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Established mainly inland and operated as command-and-control centers designed along
hierarchical lines reflecting the rigid Roman class system
Roman cities remained fairly small; by 2nd century CE it extended over southern Europe
Vacuum created by collapse of Roman Empire in 5th century was filled by various tribes
who greatly disrupted urban life; urban centers became de-populated
Constant threat of attack spurred construction of castles and other fortifications
Medieval Period (450-1300 CE)
Feudalism curtailed development of cities during early medieval period because its structured
nature favored self-sufficient country manor as basic building block of settlement. The only
urban places to thrive or survive were religious, trade or defensive centers; with long distance
trade after 1000 CE many medieval towns grew along commercial routes that crisscrossed
Europe. In larger cities the market square was surrounded by main church/cathedral, town hall,
guildhalls, palaces and houses of prominent citizens; close to center were streets that specialized
in particular functions. Streets and alleys were quite narrow; enclosing walls had water-filled
moats to enhance defensive capability. Medieval towns were unhygienic; cramped conditions,
lack of air circulation, poor sanitation and absence of waste treatment (Black Death 1347-1351).
Most development was in western/southern parts of Europe had Roman heritage of city building
Renaissance and Baroque Periods (1300-1760 CE)
This was marked by significant changes in economy (feudalism to merchant), in politics and in
art/philosophy. Beginning in Florence in 1300s these changes spread throughout western Europe
when southeastern Europe fell within the Ottoman Empire while much of northern Europe
remained outside the progressive influenced of Renaissance. Merchants greatly expanded trade
functions of Mediterranean cities; economic center of gravity shifted to port towns along North
and Baltic Seas in conjunction with Hanseatic League (goal of promoting trade). Changes in
political system had an impact on European urbanization. Overall appearance and structure of
cities changes because of new forms of art, architecture and urban planning; urban beautification
reached a peak during the baroque period (1550-1760). After introduction of gunpowder,
massive city walls become obsolete. Beginning in Paris, many districts with narrow medieval
streets were torn down to make way for wide boulevards connecting palaces and formal gardens.
Emphasis on control of visual perspective and rediscovery of classical models of design marked
a significant departure from medieval times; urban network remained largely unchanged.
Industrial Period (1760-1945 CE)
Large scale manufacturing began in English Midlands in mid-1700s and spread to Belgium,
France and Germany, reaching Hungary by 1870s. New factories changed the structure of cities
and led to massive rural-to-urban-migration. New tracks, stations and rail traffic began to play a
significant role in urban development; public transportation modified look and functioning of
cities. Development of central business district with office buildings and corporate headquarters.
Growth of cities closely mirrored spread of industrialization
URBAN PATTERNS ACROSS EUROPE
Political, economic, cultural, environmental, technological and other changes can alter the role
and rank of place within an urban hierarchy. Empirical observation of rank-size distribution
holds for Belgium, Germany, Italy, Norway and Switzerland. A deviation occurs at the top of
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hierarchy to create primacy. Primate cities are often national capitals; rural-to-urban migration
was most important component of urban growth, especially in industrial period. Form of
migration within Europe has largely ceased; European cities are among the slowest growing in
the world. Cities of Europe have begun to expand outward and coalesce into conurbations in
tandem with transportation and communications infrastructure. Europe now contains 50
conurbations with more than a million inhabitants. Metropolitan regions between London and
Newcastle form an area of extensive urbanization in England.
Post-War Divergence and Convergence Western Europe
After WWII, separate urban systems developed on either side of Iron Curtain the boundary that
divided Europe into a capitalist west and communist east. Cities in Western Europe cultivated
connections with capitalist world. Most cities incorporated surviving historic structures and
medieval street patterns into their reconstructed city centers. Rapid economic and demographic
growth fueled remarkable urban growth; cities grew in residents as well as in extent due to
suburbanization. Period of remarkable growth began to slow by 1970s as widespread economic
recessions followed the end of Baby Boom. Counter-urbanization development in nearby towns
and rural areas, while growth slowed toward the urban core. Deindustrialization and corporate
restructuring contributed to massive job losses and urban decline in traditional centers of
industry. Since early 1990 competition for investment has come from central and eastern Europe
where production costs are lower.
Socialist Urbanization
Following WWII cities behind Iron Curtain developed independently of western counterparts;
totalitarian governments engaged in sweeping reforms that led to considerable changes to their
national urban systems, which evolved in response to centralized planning rather than markets.
Communist governments had to contend with pressing need to rebuild cities left in ruins after
war; damage sustained by these cities was more severe than in Western Europe. Earliest stage of
post-war economic development involved rapid expansion of heavy industry. Collectivization
and increased mechanization in agriculture, this extensive industrial development led to rising
levels of primacy, severe housing shortages, insufficient social infrastructure/basic services and
environmental degradation. Numbers masked a new reality: under-urbanization; number of
industrial jobs grew faster than housing units, forcing workers to commute. Rural-to-urban
migration slowed significantly; the urban network in much of Central and Eastern Europe was
still less developed than in the West.
Post-Socialist Changes
Since fall of Iron Curtain in late 1980s, Communist governments have been replaced, Germany
has been re-united and USSR have broken up. Demise of Soviet Union opened the way for
western investment to move in and people to move out; impacted cities in a number of ways:
1. City names that were inspired by revolutionaries were changed back to their pre-war
names or to honor individuals/events associated with 1989 velvet revolutions
2. Foreign direct investment flooded in, targeted mainly at capital cities; this boosted
transition to capitalism and fueled speculative construction booms and gleaming
3. Decentralization gave more authority to city planners
The transition to a market economy didn’t come without hardship. Other towns lost economic
status because of the re-orientation of trade westward; industrial towns suffered severely due to
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Document Summary

Chapter five: cities of europe: integral to the study of urban development because of its long history and impact of. European cities are interesting in their own right; they"re quite old reflecting the history of many different economic, political, social and technological systems. European cities are essential to understanding urban landscapes elsewhere; study of european urbanization is made all the more exciting by the tumultuous changes since the fall of communism. Eastern europe diverged in form and function from their western european counterparts. Europe is more than 70% urban but there"s no standard definition for a city. Wide variation is found from country to country; reflects correspondence between urbanization and factors such as level of economic development, historical circumstances, relative location and even terrain/climate. The forces that modify the built environment of individual cities also determined where cities were initially located and how they flourished or declined.

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