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Chapter 20. Changing Cities in a Changing World. Problems in Urban America. Large cities, people (low- and moderate-income) live in the inner city because majority of them have no place to go.

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Chapter 20 l.jpg

Chapter 20

Changing Cities in a Changing World

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Problems in Urban America

  • Large cities, people (low- and moderate-income) live in the inner city because majority of them have no place to go.

  • NYC- 3 million crowded into apartment (5-story 75-100 yrs-old)- unsanitary, worn out and infested by rats and cockroaches., but,

  • The sense of neighborhood, social structure, and continuity persists.

  • Drug abuse, crime, vandalism and other social problems, relationship between communities and law enforcement officers very tense.

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NYC Police shooting

  • March 16, an unarmed security guard, African American was seriously shot.

  • March 1, an unarmed African American was shot to death.

  • Diallo, 22, was killed last February in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment building by the four white police officers, who opened fire as he was reaching for his wallet. Forty-one bullets were fired at Diallo. He was hit 19 times.

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What left in downtown?

  • Museums, research libraries, orchestras, leading universities (Columbia U, U of Chicago…) recreational facilities…

  • Government agencies, hotels..

  • Deglomeration - e.g. publishing companies moved from NY to Texas, Colorado, Florida

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Revitalizing the City Center

More Americansingle

and DINK people show the interest

1. Stop the deterioration of the urban core-new residential construction to lure the suburban residents- failed.

2. “Gentrification”- the rehabilitation of deteriorated and abandoned inner-city housing with favorable locations relative to the CBD and central city places of employment

High-cost of housing causing more homeless

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Does commercialization help?

  • New waterfront theme built in NY, Baltimore, only attracts more tourist and generate business, but couldn’t keep the permanent residents

  • Lack of federal financial support to reverse the declining trend.

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1992 LA Riots

  • Rodney King case- “Not-guilt” verdict of 4 white LAPD officers stirred the racial tension between black-white and Korean.

  • It was the localized reactions to sweeping economic, political, and ethnic changes unfolding at regional and even global scales.

  • Between 1978 and 1982, over 70,000 job lost in south-central LA. In 1990, Latinos and African American, and Korean comprise most of the residents in this area. They all tried to survive in this jobless area.

  • James Johnson found that the riots were rooted in the growing despair and frustration of different ethnic groups competing for a decreasing number of jobs in an environment of declining housing conditions and scare public resources.

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Suburban City

  • “Country life with city comfort” and the advance of automobile made the suburban life possible.

  • Suburbs plan their zones in response to choice and demand which express the idealized living patterns more accurately than any other urban zone.

  • J.H. Johnson- “Suburban life and landscape are in much closer adjustment”.

  • P.O. Muller’s book “Contemporary Suburban America” in 1981 is the earliest and most comprehensive geographic analyses of the rapid and dramatic changes affecting US cities.

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Cities and Suburbs

  • 1997, “The Suburban Transformation of the Globalizing American City” from Muller showed that the “World City” model

  • Census 1990 revealed that 46% of US Pop living in suburban, 31% in central cities and 23% in rural areas.

  • Metropolitan areas - 60% (115 million) in suburbs and 78 million in cities, Suburbs grew by 15.2% in 80s and 6.6% for the cities

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Atlanta: Capital of the New South

  • Pepperoni Pizza Pattern as described by Truman Hartshorn and Peter Muller.

  • Started as a railroad junction, Atlanta is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country with more than 3 million residents and extends over 20 counties and has the world’s largest toll-free telephone dialing area.

  • Economic vitality helped mitigate its social problems.

  • The central city serves as location for gov’t, hotels, entertainment, sports and ceremonies. Companies established corporate headquarters in “edge cities” on Atlanta’s urban perimeter.

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  • With more than 40 foreign consulates, 300 international flights to 23 countries each day, Atlanta became the international city

  • Since 1980, Asian population grew 300 %,Hispanic population approaches 70,000. Some of the attractions:

  • High museum of Arts

  • CNN

  • World of Coke

  • Six Flags

  • Stone Mountain and

  • Great foods

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The Canadian City - Toronto (80% of Ontario pop live in urban areas)

  • Canada’s major cities suffer much less from the problems plaguing American cities.

  • For example, Toronto is much less dispersed than an American Cities with same population, more middle and high income residents in city and result in the better services such as public transit and police/fire departments. Downtown is still the center of the economic activities. No sharp contrasts in wealth that are common in US cities.

  • The problems in Canadian cities - integration of foreign-born residents (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal…)

  • Differences to US Cities 1) No competing Urban realms

  • 2) Stability and cohesion in urban models not seen in US cities 3) less suburbanization, 4) more use of public transit.

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The European City urban areas)

  • The historic cores are preserved well in Paris, Madrid, Rome, and Lisbon. But, modern and historic buildings in London vie for space.


Metropolitan Greenbelt (30km wide, open country scattered small towns)


Urban sprawl and suburbanization

Sub too far to commute

and gasoline price is 3-times higher in Europe than in US

Suburbs are clustered villages or towns set in open countryside

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European Cities urban areas)

  • Suburbs don’t compete with the urban center as American suburban cities do

European gov’t keep the central cities’ dominance

La Defense project in Paris

Cities remain crowed and clustered

good for the financial health of its CBD

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Microdistricts in Eastern Europe urban areas)

  • Communist planning tend to neglect cultural and historic heritage while attempting to reorganize urban life into “microdistricts” - dominant square at the center of the city and wide, radiating avenues fronted by ugly apartment blocks, so called “socialist city”

  • Prague and Budapest -less affected than Bucharest (Romania).

  • Former Soviet Union cities showed the communist urban mode. No American urban skyline, the 11 million residents in Moscow live in hundreds of microdistricts along avenue radiating from Red Square.

  • Bucharest

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Prague - The city of Hundred Spires urban areas)

  • capital of Czech Republic, 49o45’N,15o30’E

  • 1968, “Prague Spring”

  • 1989, new democratic country formed.

  • home of Antonin Dvorak and Franz Kafka.

  • Tourist attractions - Tyn Church and Old Charles Bridge.

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The Ibero-American City urban areas)

  • Urban pop grew from 41 to 74% from 1950 to 1997.

Griffin and Ford proposed the Latin American City structure

Concentric zones+ radial sectors

Thriving CBD

Traditional market

Modern high-rise sector

Transit+affluent residents

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Latin American City Model urban areas)

  • Spine surrounded by the elite residential sector - end to Mall- emergence of suburbs from N America.

  • Maturity - best housing outside the spine sector - attracting middle class.

  • In-situ accretion - more modest housing

  • Peripheral squatter settlements - home to the impoverished and unskilled, but they are optimistic about finding work and improving their living conditions.

  • Disamenity sector - “barrios” or “favelas”, slum areas, homeless.

  • Industrial Park - reflects the industrial activities in city

  • Gentrification zone - where historic buildings are preserved.

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Southeast Asian City urban areas)

  • Kuala Lumpur - capital of Malaysia - 1483-foot-tall Petronas Tower (photo) (tallest buildings in the world) (Sears Tower, 1454ft, 110 floor) (construction in Shanghai, a 1507 ft. Russia Tower- 2100 ft, Millennium Tower in Tokyo-2775 ft)

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Asian Cities urban areas)

  • T.G. McGee proposed a model in “The Southeast Asian City”

  • Residential zones similar to the those in Griffin-Ford model of Latin American City.

  • Similarities(Between G-F’s and

    McGee’s models

    - hybrid structure of

    sectors and zones

    - An elite residential sector

    - An inner-city zone of mid

    income housing

    - peripheral low-income

    squatter settlement.

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Cities in Africa -fig20-5 urban areas)

Kano, Kaduna, Zaria

Kinshasa, Nairobi and Harare (inland)

Dakar, Abidjan, Luanda, Maputo (coast)

Traditional cities

mostly in Muslim


Colonized cities

Western (European +


Johannesburg, Cape Town

and Durban

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The End of Cheap Oil urban areas)

  • Oil reserve - 1020 gbo (gigga-barrels of oil) 25 gbo/yr consumption, but with 2% increase of consumption, it won’t last 40 yrs.

  • New discoveries - 7 gbo/yr

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Oil discoveries and Production urban areas)







data source: Scientific American, March 1998