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GEOG 340: DAY 17-18 Finishing Chapter 13; Urbanization, Urban Life, and Urban Spaces HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Presentation on theme: "GEOG 340: DAY 17-18 Finishing Chapter 13; Urbanization, Urban Life, and Urban Spaces HAPPY HALLOWEEN!"— Presentation transcript:

1 GEOG 340: DAY 17-18 Finishing Chapter 13; Urbanization, Urban Life, and Urban Spaces HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

2 On Tuesday, I showed a short video on the “golden ratio,” as elaborated on by Leonardo Da Vinci. I talked about it last week, as did Thanh. Tuesday we heard from Sarah & Keltie, along with Melissa, who will share some resources and her discussion questions. Today we will hear from Doug R. and from me. We need to start scheduling the project presentations, which will be very short, and which will have to overlap with the chapter presentations. We need to coordinate better the remaining presentations and make sure there is a division of labour, so here is the schedule. Please talk to your co- presenters. HOUSEKEEP- ING ITEMS

3 NameTopicWeek Thanh Chris Shaping space Mental maps 10 MaggieRole of cities in eco-crisis11 Tomson Taylor & Emily Urban growth in developing countries 12 I should have seen to it that people were organizing a division of labour; if you are presenting the same week as someone else, talk to them!!

4 I wanted to share with you some material I re- encountered in a book, The Urban Order, by John Short (recommended). In a chapter on “The City as Text,” he talks about Spiro Kostoff’s observations about recurring urban forms:  Organic (medieval, garden suburbs, exurbia)  The grid (popular with communitarians and land speculators alike)  The ‘diagram’ (military geometry, cosmic symbolism, utopian experiment)  Grand manner (“…ceremony, processional intentions, a regimented public life” – from Babylon to Nazi Germany, and expressing the pretensions of political power, and  The skyline, be it Gothic cathedrals (celebrating the divine) or modernist towers (celebrating corporate and financial dominance). FOLLOWING UP ON THE LAST CHAPTER



7 That Vitruvius, active around the time of Christ, argued that buildings should have the same proportions as the human body and should be human-scaled. Short also points out that some architecture has also been explicitly phallic or suggestive of the female breast. That only a few geographers and sociologists have addressed the city as a terrain experienced by our bodies and senses. That the meaning of buildings will vary according to social status. That whereas Greek and Roman (and other) cities were culturally coherent, our cities are not. They don’t tell a common story – “we can identify the letters but it does not add up to a sustained narrative.” ADDITIONAL POINTS BY SHORT

8 Urban theorist, Kevin Lynch, argues that what makes cities legible are five elements:  Paths (streets, railways, transit lines, canals, etc.)  Edges (linear breaks in continuity, boundaries, rivers, shorelines)  Districts (areas with a common identifying character)  Nodes (major intersections, junctions, shopping malls, where points converge), and  Landmarks (external points of reference like mountains, buildings, signs, monuments, etc.). These provide orientation and a sense of place. ADDITIONAL POINTS BY KEVIN LYNCH From “Image of the City” (1960)

9 The authors vividly describe different conceptions of urban vs. rural, and what best meets people’s needs. What best meets your needs? City? Country? Village? And, if city, what size of city? Remember Ebenezer Howard’s attempt to find the perfect compromise in the “garden city.” The authors also talk about the sociospatial dialectic – in which urban space shapes urban society and vice versa. Can you think of examples? CHAPTER 14

10 Their reference to the concept of the lifeworld is rather complex, but what I take from it is that, partly by circumstance and partly by choice, we create semi- permeable bubbles for ourselves within cities. We do not engage with all of the city all of the time. It would be too overwhelming. We have our routines. What is your lifeworld, even if it is subject to change and fluctuation? CHAPTER 14

11 The bourgeoisie…. has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. …The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society…. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new- formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” – Karl Marx and Friederich Engels. CHAPTER 14


13 THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION Another perspective on the early modern era was offered by historian, Karl Polanyi, originally from Hungary, in his book, The Great Transformation. Polanyi argued that the enclosure of the commons disembedded people from nature and from their communities. In the UK, this occurred when landowners discovered that it was more profitable to dispossess tenant farmers and replace them with sheep to meet the demand for wool in the burgeoning textile industries. The farmers, driven from the land, became potential workers in the factories or migrants to other lands such as Canada, the U.S., and Australia. The process of enclosure occurs to this day.

14 The Industrial Revolution, and consequent urbanization, was one of most wrenching social processes ever encountered by human beings. Three sociologists who were amongst the first to study the phenomenon were Ferdinand Tőnnies (1855-1935), Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), and Georg Simmel (1858-1918). CHAPTER 14 Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft mechanical vs. organic solidarity struggle of the individual against conformity

15 Gemeinschaft= strong communities ties as found in rural and traditional societies. Gesellschaft= functional ties based on impersonal interdependence, as found typically in cities. The ‘mechanical solidarity’ of traditional societies is based on groupthink. ‘Organic solidarity’ emerges from the differences and densities of urban society where people are linked through a division of labour. At a certain point, though, organic solidarity can yield to anomie, and thereby to deviance (breakdown of norms). People also are faced with psychic overload in cities, become indifferent to others, and seek to protect themselves and find ways to withdraw. Sociologist Richard Sennett has even argued that people seek to avoid difference, and instead look for homogeneity. Dual aspects of cities – freedom to be ourselves without constricting social conventions, but danger of becoming part of the ‘lonely crowd.’ CHAPTER 14

16 Durkheim was more optimistic about cities than Tőnnies. He saw more scope for freedom there. Tőnnies saw cities as places of selfish impersonality, as in the following poem by 16 th century English poet, Robert Crowley: And this a city In name but in deed It is a pack of people That seek after meed (profit) For officers and all Seek their own gain But for the wealth of the Commons No one taketh pain. And hell without order I may well call Where every man is for himself And no man for all. CHAPTER 14


18 Other theorists have talked about the fact that for the multi-faceted nature of humans to blossom, we need appropriate spaces. It’s hard to feel holy in a shopping mall. To be part of a body politic, we need public spaces to assemble and protest. To enjoy authentic cultural experiences, we need cultural venues, and to commune with nature, we need wild places. Vancouver, for instance, has no central plaza. The Art Galley grounds have become the de facto place to hang out. A related point made by Ray Oldenberg, The Great, Good Place, is that people need “third places” – not just work places or domestic places (where they reproduce themselves physically and species-wise) – but social spaces to meet with friends and hang out. ROLES AND SETTINGS


20 “Night of the Texting Dead” A countervailing force….

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