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URBAN GEOGRAPHY. Chapter 9. When and Why Did People Start Living in Cities?. City : A conglomeration of people and buildings clustered together to serve as a center of politics, culture, and economics

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when and why did people start living in cities
When and Why Did People Start Living in Cities?
  • City: A conglomeration of people and buildings clustered together to serve as a center of politics, culture, and economics
  • Urban: The buildup of the city and surrounding environs connected to the city (central city and suburbs)
  • Urbanization: Movement of people from rural to urban areas—can happen very quickly in the modern world
origins of urbanization
Origins of Urbanization
  • Agricultural villages
    • Began about 10,000 years ago
    • Relatively small, egalitarian villages, where most of the population was involved in agriculture
  • The first urban revolution: Enabling components
    • An agricultural surplus
    • Social stratification (leadership class)
hearths of urbanization1
Hearths of Urbanization
  • Mesopotamia, 3500 BCE
  • Nile River Valley, 3200 BCE
  • Indus River Valley, 2200 BCE
  • Huang He and Wei River Valleys, 1500 BCE
  • Mesoamerica, 200 BCE
indus river valley
Indus River Valley

Harappa and Mohenjo-


  • Intricately planned
  • Houses equal in size
  • No palaces
  • No monuments
huang he and wei river valleys
Huang He and Wei River Valleys

Purposefully planned cities

  • Centered on a north-south axis
  • Inner wall built around center
  • Temples and palaces for the leadership class

Terracotta warriors guarding the tomb of

the Chinese Emperor Qin Xi Huang


Mayan and Aztec cities: Theocratic centers where rulers were deemed to have divine authority and were god-kings

diffusion of urbanization
Diffusion of Urbanization
  • Greek cities (by 500 BCE)
    • Greeks highly urbanized
    • Network of more than 500 cities and towns on the mainland and on islands
    • Acropolis (buildings on a height of land) and an agora (open public space) in each city
  • Roman cities
    • A system of cities and small towns, linked together by hundreds of miles of roads and sea routes
    • Sites of Roman cities typically for trade
    • Forum a combination of the acropolis and agora into one space
    • Extreme wealth and extreme poverty
urban growth after greece and rome
Urban Growth after Greece and Rome
  • Europe
    • Middle Ages (500–1300)
    • Little urban growth, even decline
  • Asia
    • Centers along the Silk Road
    • Urban growth in Korea, Japan
  • West Africa
  • The Americas
cities in the age of exploration
Cities in the Age of Exploration
  • Early Eurasian centers
    • Crescent-shaped zone from England to Japan
    • Most cities sited in continental interiors
  • Maritime exploration
    • Change in situation to favor coastal locations
    • Continued importance under colonialism
    • Wealth for mercantile cities of Europe
    • European model for cities in colonies
the second urban revolution
The Second Urban Revolution
  • A large-scale movement of people to cities to work in manufacturing, made possible by

1. Second agricultural revolution that improved food production and created a larger surplus

2. Industrialization, which encouraged growth of cities near industrial resources

  • Favored places
    • Had undergone the second agricultural revolution
    • Possessed industrial resources
    • Possessed capital from mercantilism and colonialism
where are cities located and why

Absolute location

Static location, often chosen for trade, defense, or religion


Relative location

A city’s place in the region and the world around it

Trade area: An adjacent region within which a city’s influence is dominant

Where Are Cities Located, and Why?
rank size rule
Rank-Size Rule
  • Characteristic of a model urban hierarchy
  • The population of the city or town is inversely proportional to its rank in the hierarchy

For example:

largest city = 12 million

2nd largest = 6 million

3rd largest = 4 million

4th largest = 3 million

  • Primate city: The leading city of a country, disproportionately larger than the rest of the cities
central place theory
Central Place Theory
  • Developed by Walter Christaller
  • Predicts how and where central places in the urban hierarchy (hamlets, villages, towns, and cities) are functionally and spatially distributed
  • Assumes that
    • Surface is flat with no physical barriers
    • Soil fertility is the same everywhere
    • Population and purchasing power are evenly distributed
    • Region has uniform transportation network
    • From any given place, a good or service could be sold in all directions out to a certain distance
hexagonal hinterlands

C = city

T = town

V = village

H = hamlet

Hexagonal Hinterlands

how are cities organized and how do they function
How Are Cities Organized, and How Do They Function?
  • Urban morphology: The layout of a city, its physical form and structure
  • Functional zonation: The division of the city into certain regions (zones) for certain functions (purposes)
zones of the city
Zones of the City
  • Zones
    • Central business district (CBD)
    • Central City (the CBD + older housing zones)
    • Suburb (outlying, functionally uniform zone outside of the central city)
  • Modeling the North American city
    • Concentric zone model (Ernest Burgess)
    • Sector model (Homer Hoyt)
    • Multiple-nuclei model (Chauncy Harris and Edward Ullman)
edge cities
Edge Cities

Suburban downtowns, often located near key freeway intersections, including

  • Office complexes
  • Shopping centers
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment facilities
  • Sports complexes
urban realms model
Urban Realms Model

Each realm a separate economic, social, and political entity that is linked together to form a larger metropolitan framework

cities of the periphery and semi periphery latin america
Cities of the Periphery and Semi-Periphery: Latin America
  • Griffin-Ford model
  • Blend of Latin American traditions with globalization
  • Disamenity sectors
    • Not connected to city services
    • May be controlled by gangs and drug lords
  • Industrial park
  • Gentrification area
cities of the periphery and semi periphery subsaharan africa
Cities of the Periphery and Semi-Periphery: Subsaharan Africa
  • De Blij model
  • Low levels of urbanization but rapid growth rates
  • European colonial imprint
cities of the periphery and semi periphery southeast asia
Cities of the Periphery and Semi-Periphery: Southeast Asia
  • McGee model
  • Colonial port and surrounding commercial zone as focal point
how do people make cities
How Do People Make Cities?
  • Role of powerful social and cultural forces
  • Periphery and semi-periphery
    • Sharp contrast between rich and poor
    • Often lack zoning laws or enforcement of zoning laws

Luanda, Angola

Tokyo, Japan

making cities in the global core
Making Cities in the Global Core
  • Redlining: Financial institutions refusing to lend money in certain neighborhoods
  • Blockbusting : Realtors purposefully selling a home at a low price to an African American and then soliciting white residents to sell their homes at low prices, to generate “white flight”
making cities in the global core1
Making Cities in the Global Core
  • Gentrification: Individuals buying and rehabilitating houses, raising the housing value in the neighborhood
  • Commercialization: City government transforming a central city to attract residents and tourists, often in stark contrast to the rest of the central city
  • Tear-downs: Houses that new owners buy with the intention of tearing them down to build much larger homes
  • McMansions: Large homes, often built to the outer limits of the lot
urban sprawl
Urban Sprawl

Unrestricted growth of housing, commercial developments, and roads over large expanses of land, with little concern for urban planning

new urbanism
New Urbanism
  • Development, urban revitalization, and suburban reforms that create walkable neighborhoods with a diversity of housing and jobs
  • Concerns
    • Privatization of public spaces
    • Failure to address conditions that create social ills of cities
    • Countering urban sprawl
gated communities
Gated Communities
  • Neighborhoods with controlled gate (access) for people and vehicles
  • Private security
  • Rapid diffusion to Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America
  • Security for wealthy in poor countries
  • Use for low-income communities in core countries
ethnic neighborhoods
Ethnic Neighborhoods
  • European cities: Neighborhoods of migrants
  • Cities of the periphery and semi-periphery
what role do cities play in globalization
What Role Do Cities Play in Globalization?
  • Function of world cities beyond state boundaries
  • World cities as nodes in globalization
  • Primate cities with concentration of development, interconnectedness
  • Primate cities in former colonies