Studies the functions of cities and their economic role in organizing territory.
Compares urbanization as it has occurred historically and in different parts of the world.
Analyzes the internal geography of cities—the distribution of housing, industry, commerce, etc.
Ancient Cities and Civilizations
Egalitarian societies persisted long after agriculture was introduced.
Increased functional specialization led to emergence of cities and states.
Formative Era-- 7000 to 5000 years ago.
Stratified societies w/ urban elite that controlled resources.
City functions--centers of power, religion, trade, education.
Locational factors for early cities:
A long growing season and dependable supply of water
An assemblage of domesticated crops and animals that could provide a dependable, balanced food supply
An accessible location relative to travel and trade routes
Plentiful building materials
Major river valleys in warm climates
Large-scale irrigation systems as the inpetus for early urbanization
Power and authority derived from control of water
Need for a centralized authority to ensure continued operation of irrigation system.
Religion as a motivating factor
Knowledge of meterological and climatic conditions was within domain of religion
Religious leaders decided how and when to plant crops
Priestly class exercised political and social control
Cities are religious spaces functioning as ceremonial centers
Distinction between economic, religious, and political functions are not always clear
Secular and spiritual power fused as technical, religious, and political factors were interlinked
Mesopotamia -- cities protected by walls, temples dominated landscape, poorest on outskirts, no waste disposal, disease kept them small--10-15,000
Greek Cities Have had worldwide influence. Best structures built on high point of city. Public spaces for trade and discourse. A network of cities connected by trade.
Trade networks connected Greek city-states.
Roman Cities Transportation networks--urban places linked by road, river, and sea.
Diffused city life across the Empire.
Military camp=castra (-chester or-caster suffix)
Adopted rectangular grid pattern, open public space (Forum), and entertainment venue (Colosseum) from Greeks.
Collapse of Rome coincided with disintegration of urban system and transportation networks.
Fortress for defense.
Divided into districts--similar occupations
Some by ethnicity--Jewish ghettos
Urban growth outside of Europe
The Medieval Optimum
An unusually warm period that lasted from the 10th to the 14th century.
Coincided with the resurgence of Western Europe
A primate city is a country’s leading city, disproportionately larger and more functionally complex than any other; a city dominating an urban hierarchy composed of a base of small towns and an absence of intermediate-sized cities.
Global spread of urbanization
By 1200 AD, the “urban banana” extended from England to Japan.”
The Islamic City
Mosque and suq (market) were centrally located.
Citadel (Casbah) fortified palace of governor--high part of town near the wall.
Traditional Islamic cities reflect a concern for visual privacy. Houses are “introverted,” and the height of a wall had to be above the height of a camel-rider.
Religious law prescribed that streets should be wide enough for two camels to pass, but they were narrow to provide shade and shelter from desert winds.
Separation of public and private domains.
“ Quarters” to group ethnic and kin groups.
With the discovery of the New World, coastal cities had the advantage. This change in “situation” meant that those cities grew while those along the Silk Road declined.
The Mercantile City
Rise of monarchs who presided over unified countries.
Increased city size
One national capital rose to prominence
New concern for city planning (wide boulevards, large open square, palaces and public buildings with statues.
The Manufacturing City
In the capitalist city, land is viewed as a source of income.
Segregation by economic class. Your ability to pay determines where you live.
Work places are separated from homes.
Central business district emerges
Upper classes began to seek land on the outskirts of the city.