The Urban Mosaic
The Human Mosaic
Chapter 11
Culture Regions
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Urban culture regions
Cultural diffusion in the city
The cultural ecology of the city
Cultural integration and models of the city
Urban landscapes
Introduction
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Like society, the city is composed of many different
groups
Theme of culture regions can be applied to those
parts of the city where people live who share similar
traits
Most city dwellers are intuitively aware of urban
culture regions
Visual clues are important to distinguishing different
urban culture regions
Social regions
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Distinguishing between social culture regions and
ethnic culture regions depends more on the
researcher’s emphases and interests than on
communities themselves
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Social region studies usually focus on socioeconomic traits,
such as income, education, age, and family structure
Ethnic region studies highlight traits such as language and
migration history
The two concepts overlap because there can be social
regions within ethnic regions and vice versa
Social regions
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One way to define social regions is to isolate
one social trait and plot its distribution within
the city
United States census is a common source for
trait information
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Census tracts are small enough to allow subtle
texture of social regions to show
Social regions
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United States census is a common source for trait information
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For example, the next slide shows rough distribution of income in
Berkeley, California
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Tracts with similar average incomes have been lumped together
Show areas of high, middle and low income
In a rough way correspond to social stratification in city
High income areas in hilly east area, where white people dominate
Lower-income areas are on flatlands, closer to bay-front industrial
areas, and made up of students and minorities
Similar mapping could be done using age, education, or
percentage of families below poverty level
Social regions
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A visual check is often a simple first step in mapping
social regions
Another approach is to correlate various social
indicators
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Politicians have long known districts with certain
demographic characteristics tend to vote certain ways
Urban analysts look at the degree of correlation among
factors such as income, occupation, age, and ethnicity
Results can be translated into a pattern of multiple-factor
urban social regions
Neighborhoods
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Often used to describe small social regions where
people with shared values and concerns interact
daily
A conventional sociological explanation for
neighborhoods is that people of similar values
cluster together to reduce social conflict
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Where social consensus exists regarding such matters as
home maintenance, child rearing, everyday behavior, and
public order, there is little need to worry
People who deviate from the consensus face social
coercion
Celebrates social homogeneity of small spatial communities
Neighborhoods
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Increasingly, neighborhoods are found with more
heterogeneity
The current concept of neighborhoods is more
flexible
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Embraces traditional components of locality, such as
geographic territoriality, political outlook, and shared
economic characteristics
Also embraces the consensus from both insiders and
outsiders perception of a certain area as a “neighborhood”
Neighborhood: Montreal, Canada
Neighborhood: Montreal, Canada
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This working class
neighborhood is inhabited
by descendents of
nineteenth and early
twentieth century Irish
immigrants.
Here, much social activity
takes place on the street.
The corner store, tavern,
park, and Roman Catholic
church are also nodes of
activity.
Neighborhood: Montreal, Canada
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Although the larger
area is French, the Irish
are bilingual.
On public holidays, the
Irish fly the red and
white, Canadian maple
leaf flag, while the
French post the blue
and white, Quebec
fleur-du-leis.
Neighborhood: Montreal, Canada
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White, plastic chairs are
found on the balconies of
both groups because sitting
outside and people-watching
is a traditional Quebec
pastime.
With shared values and
concerns, these people
interact daily in their
neighborhood.
Neighborhoods
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May be ethnically and socially diverse, yet think of
itself as a social community sharing similar political
concerns
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Hold neighborhood meetings to address these problems
Recognized by city hall as a legitimate group with political
standing
Neighborhood may only develop when a community
coalesces around a specific political issue
Cohesion may actually erode and wane as issue passes
Neighborhoods
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Concept usually implies people have access
to a permanent or semi-permanent place of
residence
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Increasingly in United States’ cities more people
are homeless
Divorced from ties of neighborhood
Nearly impossible to determine number of
homeless in United States
Neighborhoods
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Concept usually implies people have access to a
permanent or semi-permanent place of residence
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Definitions of homelessness vary
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Depends on criteria used and cultural context of particular
situation
Does living in a friend’s house for more than a month
constitute a homeless condition?
How permanent does a shelter have to be before it is a home?
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To some, home connotes a suburban middle-class house
– To others, it refers to a room in a city-owned shelter
Neighborhoods
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Homeless people are often not counted in
census or other population counts
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May be up to 3 million homeless persons in the
United States
Concentrated in downtown areas of large cities
Neighborhoods
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Causes of homelessness are varied and complex
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Many suffer from some type of disorder or handicap
Deprived of social networks provided by a permanent
neighborhood
Most cities have tried providing temporary shelters
Many homeless prefer to rely on their own social ties for
support in order to maintain some sense of personal pride
and privacy
Neighborhoods
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Neighborhood concept is central to cultural
geography of cities
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Recognizes sentiment people have for a “place” and their
attachment to it
Recognizes how attachment becomes basis for ongoing
social and political action
Many — if not most — urbanites do not share this sense of
neighborhood
Urbanites live in perceptually undifferentiated residential
areas
Culture Regions
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Urban culture regions
Cultural diffusion in the city
The cultural ecology of the city
Cultural integration and models of the city
Urban landscapes
Inner and outer city
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Centralizing forces—those diffusion forces that result
in residences, stores, and factories locating in the
inner or central city
Decentralizing forces—those that result in activities
locating outside the central city
Pattern of homes, neighborhoods, offices, shops,
and factories in the city results from constant
interplay of these two forces
Centralization
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Economic advantages
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Accessibility
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Department stores located in the city center for greater
accessibility to customers
Especially important before the automobile
Streetcars were centered in the city
Bakeries and dairies located there so daily deliveries
would be efficient
Centralization: Chicago, Illinois
Centralization: Chicago, Illinois
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Chicago’s origins derive from
accessibility. Situated on Lake
Michigan, it began as a prairie
seaport for the agricultural
Midwest and by 1856, was the
focus of ten trunk lines.
Industries and immigrant
workers agglomerated in the
central city. After the Great Fire
of 1871, many industries
relocated on the more spacious
periphery and the downtown
developed as a retail and
financial center.
Centralization: Chicago, Illinois
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The 1885 invention of the
skyscraper and the
construction of elevated
trains intensified downtown
growth and by 1920, the
pattern was set: Chicago
was the nation’s retail and
mail-order capital. This view
is from the 1454’ Sears
Tower to the 1127’John
Hancock Tower.
Centralization: Chicago, Illinois
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The copper-roofed building on
the Chicago River in the lower
left is the Apparel and
Merchandising Mart; the IBM
building stands next to the
round Marina towers; and the
Chicago Temple, Daley Center
and First National bank are at
the lower right. Note the
location of the tallest structures
(and most costly land) close to
the lake front, known as the
Gold Coast. A transitional zone
lies behind.
Centralization
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Economic advantages
–
Agglomeration or clustering results in mutual benefits for
businesses
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Retail stores locate near one another to take advantage of pedestrian
traffic
A large department store generates foot traffic, so nearby stores will
also benefit
Historically, offices clustered together in the city center
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Need for communication before the telephone
Messengers hand-carried work of banks, insurance firms, lawyers, etc.
Still cluster together because of need for face-to-face communication
Take advantage of complicated support system that grows up in the central
city
Centralization
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Social advantages
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Strength of historical momentum should not be
underestimated
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Many activities remain in the central city because they began
there long ago
Example of the financial district in San Francisco located on
Montgomery Street
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Established in the gold rush of 1849
– Area was the center of commercial action
– Originally along the waterfront, later land-filling extended the
shoreline
– Never moved it absolute location
Centralization
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Social advantages
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Prestige is a strong centralizing force
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Important for advertising firms to have a New York
Madison Avenue address
Important for a stockbroker to be on Wall Street
Extends to many activities in cities of all sizes
“Downtown lawyer” and “uptown banker” are examples
Centralization
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Social advantages
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Prestige is a strong centralizing force
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High-income neighborhoods were located close to the
downtown area
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This trend has weakened in North America
– Downtown areas have become congested and noisy
– Transportation has encouraged suburban residences
– London and Paris still have very prestigious
neighborhoods directly in the downtown area
Centralization
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Social advantages
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Strongest social force for centralization has been
the desire to live near one’s employment
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Before development of the electric trolley in the 1880s,
most urban dwellers had little choice other than walking
to work
Most people lived near the central city because that was
where the jobs were
Even after electric streetcar lines many people
continued to walk to work
Many could not afford housing in the new suburbs
Decentralization
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The past 40 years witnessed massive
changes in form and function of most
Western cities
In the United States, suburbanization of
residences and workplaces have created
downtowns empty of economic vitality
Decentralization: Irvine, California
Decentralization: Irvine, California
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This corporate tower is
part of Irvine Spectrum,
a high-tech corridor
about 35 miles
southwest of Los
Angeles. Focusing on
the edge-cities of Irvine,
Newport, and Costa
Mesa, this is a region of
master-planned
communities, office
Decentralization: Irvine, California
parks, giant malls, and
lateral commuting that
experienced
phenomenal growth in
the 1980s when
decentralization
became a major trend
in North American
urban development.
Decentralization
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Geographer Neil Smith’s views
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Processes of suburbanization and decline of inner
city are fundamentally linked
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Capital investment in suburbs often made possible by
disinvestment from central city
Post-World War fl American investor found greater
returns on their money in new suburbs
Refers to these processes as uneven
development
Decentralization
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Socioeconomic factors
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Changes in accessibility have been a major reason for
decentralization
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Department stores now find customers have moved to the
suburbs
People no longer shop downtown
Other business have moved to the suburbs
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Food-processing plants move to minimize transportation costs
Many find trucking more effective than railways because of
freeways
Offices locate near airports so executive and salespeople can
fly in and out more easily
Decentralization
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Socioeconomic factors
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Agglomeration’s benefits have now become
liabilities in many downtown areas
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Rents increased as a result of high demand for space
Congestion in the support system
Traffic congestion — delivery to market time-consuming
In some areas traffic moves slower than it did at the turn
of the century
Employees may demand higher wages as compensation
for the inconveniences of central-city living
Decentralization
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Socioeconomic factors
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Many firms have left New York City for the suburbs
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Claim it cost less to locate there
Employees are happier and more productive
Benefits of clustering in new suburban locations
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Industrial parks, where costs of utilities and transportation links
are shared by all occupants
Real estate developments take advantage of clustering by
sharing costs of schools, parks, road improvement, and utilities
New residents prefer a new development when they know a
full range of services is available nearby
Decentralization
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Socioeconomic factors
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First suburbs were “bedroom communities”
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People commuted to jobs in downtown area
Now people work in suburban industrial parks, etc.
Lateral commuting — travel from one suburb to
another
Freeway congestion now goes both directions
Downtown areas today are faced with decay and
lack of investors
Public policy
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At the national level, has contributed greatly to
decentralization and abandonment of our cities
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Federal Highway Act of 1916 and Interstate Highway Act of
1956
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Directed government spending on transportation to cars and
trucks
Urban expressways, in combination with emerging trucking
industry, led to massive decentralization of industry and
housing
Ability to deduct mortgage interest from income for tax
purposes favors individual home ownership
Public policy
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At the national level, has contributed greatly
to decentralization and abandonment of our
cities
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New Deal enactment of the Federal Housing
Administration in 1934, and the GI Bill of 1944
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Meant to put people back to work in the building trades
Also to help house returning soldiers after World War II
What they did was insure long-term mortgages for home
construction and sale
Public policy
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At the national level, has contributed greatly to
decentralization and abandonment of our cities
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Although FHA legislation contained no explicit antiurban
bias, most houses it insured were located in new residential
suburban developments
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By setting particular terms for its insurance, the FHA favored
development of single-family over multifamily projects
FHA-insured loans for repairs were short term and generally
small
Public policy
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At the national level, has contributed greatly to
decentralization and abandonment of our cities
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To receive a loan, applicant and neighborhood of the
property were to be rated by an “unbiased professional”
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Was intended to guarantee property value of house would be
greater than the debt
Encouraged bias against any neighborhood considered a
potential risk in terms of property values
FHA warned against neighborhoods with a racial mix,
assuming such a social climate would bring property values
down
Public policy
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At the national level, has contributed greatly to
decentralization and abandonment of our cities
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Encouraged enactment of restrictive covenants written in
property deeds prohibiting certain “undesirable” groups from
buying property
Prepared maps of metropolitan areas, depicting locations of
African- American families and predicting their spread
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Often served as the basis for red-lining, a practice in which
banks and mortgage companies commonly demarcated areas
considered to be high risk for loans
Red lines were often drawn around these areas
Public policy
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United States Housing Act of 1937 was intended to provide
public housing for those who could not afford private housing
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Did encourage construction of many low-income housing units
Most were built in the inner city
Contributed to view of suburbs as refuge of white middle class
Growing pattern of racial and economic segregation arose in part
because public housing decisions were left up to local
municipalities
Legislation required that for every unit of public housing built, one
inferior housing unit had to be eliminated
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This insured housing would be constructed in older, downtown areas
The costs of decentralization
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Many urban problems in North American cities are
direct products of the rapid decentralization in the
last 30 years
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Vacant storefronts, empty offices, and deserted factories
Retail sales have steadily declined in central cities
Offices are finding advantages in suburban locations
Where rapid suburbanization has been the case,
sprawl has usually resulted
The costs of decentralization
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A common pattern is leapfrog or
checkerboard development
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Housing tracts jump over parcels of farmland
Results in a mixture of open lands with built-up
areas
Results when developers buy cheaper land away
from built-up areas
Home buyers often pay premium prices for homes
in subdivisions surrounded by farmlands
The costs of decentralization
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A common pattern is leapfrog or checkerboard
development
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Housing tracts jump over parcels of farmland
Results in a mixture of open lands with built-up areas
Results when developers buy cheaper land away from builtup areas
Home buyers often pay premium prices for homes in
subdivisions surrounded by farmlands
More expensive to provide city services — police, fire
protection, sewers, and electrical lines
The costs of decentralization
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The most efficient development is adding new housing directly
adjacent to built-up areas
Sprawl extracts high costs because of increased use of cars
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Public transportation is very costly and inefficient when it must
serve a low- density checkerboard development pattern
Many cities and transit firms cannot extend line into these areas
This leave the car as the only form of transportation
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More energy is consumed for fuel
More air pollution is created by exhaust
More time is spent in commuting and everyday activities than in a
centralized city
The costs of decentralization
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Loss of valuable land to urban development
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Checkerboard farm parcels have a hard time
making ends meet
Usually taxed at extremely high rates because
land has high potential for development
Taxes eat up their resources
Usually end up selling out to subdividers
Leapfrog development goes on
The costs of decentralization
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Measures being taken by cities to curb
sprawling growth
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San Jose, California, is focusing new
development on empty parcels of the
checkerboard pattern — called in filling
Other cities are tying the number of building
permits granted each year to availability of urban
services
Gentrification
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The movement of middle class people into
deteriorated areas of city centers
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Often begins in an inner-city, rundown residential district
Lower property values make these areas more affordable
than suburban housing
Infusion of new capital in housing market results in higher
property values, resulting in displacement of residents who
cannot afford to stay
Displacement of some opens more housing for gentrification
Gentrification
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Commercial gentrification usually follows
residential
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New patterns of consumption are introduced by
middle class people
Urban shopping malls and pedestrian shopping
corridors bring the conveniences of the suburbs
into the city
Bars and restaurants provide entertainment and
nightlife
Waterfront Gentrification:
San Diego, California
Waterfront Gentrification:
San Diego, California
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This “zone of discard”
was San Diego’s
infamous skid row and
industrial waterfront. To
encourage movement
in and through this
zone, a quaint shopping
complex called Seaport
Village, and a park and
Waterfront Gentrification:
San Diego, California
marina were installed as
part of the city’s larger
revitalization plan. The
project will incorporate
residential units for all
income levels, offices,
hotels, retail shops, and
recreational facilities. These
landscape changes signify
both deindustrialization and
rise of the service sector.
Gentrification
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Economic factors
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As investments were made in the suburbs after
World War II, inner city land was devaluated
Inner city land became a better investment
spurring on gentrification process
Gentrification
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Economic factors
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Most Western countries have been experiencing a process
known as deindustriallzation
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A shift to the service sector leading to abandonment of older
industrial districts in the inner city
Including the waterfront, many of these areas are prime targets
for gentrification
Waterfront areas have been changed from noisy commercial
port areas into aesthetic assets
The economic shift to the service sector also means new
productive areas will be dedicated to white-collar activities
The city will be viewed as a more “liveable” environment
Gentrification
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Social factors
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Maturing of the baby-boom generation has led to
modifications of our “traditional” family structure and lifestyle
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Majority of women in the paid labor force
Many couples choose not to have children or delay the
decision
Gentrified location in the inner city is close to their managerial
or professional jobs downtown
Easier to maintain and more interesting that bland suburbs
Also a way of displaying social status
Inner cities frequently exploit their historical association as a
status symbol
Gentrification
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Sexuality and gentrification
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Gentrification of post-war period has provided gays and
lesbians with opportunity to actively and openly reshape
entire neighborhoods
Gays have seized an opportunity to combat oppression by
creating neighborhoods over which they have maximum
control and which meet long-neglected needs
Limited numbers and types of lesbian spaces in cities also
serve as community-building centers for lesbian social
networks
Gentrified neighborhood of Park Slope in Brooklyn is home
to the “heaviest concentration of lesbians in the U.S.
Gentrification
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The costs of gentrification
–
Success of a gentrification project usually
measured by its appeal to upper-class clientele
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Suggests they are completely homogeneous in their use
of land
Residential areas are consciously planned to be
separate from commercial districts
Sorted by cost and tenure type
Often draws on suburban notion of residential
homogeneity and eliminates the diversity and
heterogeneity of urban life
Gentrification and Adaptive Re-Use:
Montreal, Quebec
Gentrification and Adaptive Re-Use:
Montreal, Quebec
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Gentrification often
requires condemnation
and destruction of old
structures. An
alternative to this is
“adaptive re-use”
whereby a building is
redesigned for alternate
reuse.
Gentrification and Adaptive Re-Use:
Montreal, Quebec
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This Monkland (a monastery
is nearby) was an upscale
theater in a pre-World War II
suburb. A neighborhood in
transition, decline is being
arrested with revitalization.
The theater has been
transformed into a health
club, with retail shops
replacing the theater lobby.
Culture Regions
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Urban culture regions
Cultural diffusion in the city
The cultural ecology of the city
Cultural integration and models of the city
Urban landscapes
The urban ecosystem
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There are four important concepts related to
the ecosystem approach
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Input
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A city needs water to survive, so it imports a given
amount each day
Water may come either from local sources, or from long
distances via canals and aqueducts
The urban ecosystem
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There are four important concepts related to the
ecosystem approach
–
Outputs
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Some water is consumed by people
Other water becomes part of different manufactured products,
and may leave the city as exported goods
Other water is used for industrial cooling and evaporates
Most water — about 95 percent — is used to convey wastes
from one point to another
From home to sewer plant, from factory to river, from sidewalk
to gutter — most troublesome aspect of urban system
The urban ecosystem
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There are four important concepts related to the ecosystem
approach
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A small amount of city water is not used, but stored for future use
Feedback
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Crucial part of any system
Repercussions on a system when an element is returned in modified
form by other components
Example—city’s use of water from a lake both for its water supply and
as a dumping area for sewage
Complicated though not conclusively proven example
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City-produced air pollution may alter weather patterns, straining water
supply system
May cause drought or flooding
The urban geologic environment

Topography can influence urban
development in three ways
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Direction of city growth
Patterning of social regions
Routing of transportation
The urban geologic environment
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Potential effect depends on a number of cultural variables
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Society’s technological level
Capital available for modification of geologic environment
Stage in city’s development
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Geologic environment may have a great effect on those cities in early
stages of growth
Spatial alternatives to expending energy and money on modifying
terrain
Where technology is lacking for bulldozing, landfill, or high-stress
building construction
In a rich, highly industrialized culture, far more examples of
humans modifying the geologic environment are available
The urban geologic environment

Ways topography might influence early
stages of city growth
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Cities usually expand first on areas where
building costs are lowest
Flat, well-drained land close to transportation and
adjacent to existing urban activities will be built on
first
Hills, marshes, and floodplains may be built on
only in later stages of city growth
The urban geologic environment
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Results of increased site preparation —
grading hills or draining swamps, etc.
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May be passed on to consumer
Area will be occupied by higher-income groups
Lower-income groups may occupy the area
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Lots may be smaller
Houses may be undersized
Shortcuts taken in construction methods producing a
finished product of lower quality
The urban geologic environment
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Topography can affect urban transportation systems
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Close link between development and transportation
Horse-drawn streetcars can only be used on flat terrain
Starting in the 1890s, electric trolley systems profoundly
altered the pattern of urban development
The automobile led to widespread building on steep urban
slopes
Urban weather and climate

Cities alter just about all aspects of local
weather and climate
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Temperatures are higher
Rainfall increases
Incidence of fog and cloudiness is greater
Atmosphere pollution is much higher
Urban weather and climate
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How cities alter the climate
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Large areas of pavement and buildings —about
50 percent is hard surface
Rainfall quickly carried into gutters and sewers
Little moisture left for the process of evaporative
cooling
Urban weather and climate
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Cities generate enormous amounts of heat
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Comes from heating systems in buildings, autos,
industry, and human bodies
On a winter day in Manhattan, amount of heat
produced is two-and-one-half times that reaching
the ground from the sun
This generation of heat sitting over the city is
called an urban heat island
Urban weather and climate

Rain and snowfall are also affected by urbanization
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Because of higher temperatures, snowfall will be about 5 percent
less
Rainfall can be 5 to 10 percent higher
Function of two factors
Large number of dust particles in urban air are necessary
precondition for condensation
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Rainfall increases near 10 percent have been documented
immediately downwind from cities
Some have observed a pattern of reduced rainfall on weekends
because dust particle generation from autos and industry is reduced
Fog and clouds (dust domes) are usually more frequent around
cities
Urban weather and climate

City-generated air pollution is one of the
most serious problems of our times
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Can cause serious illness, even death
Damages agriculture near cities
Unless halted, it may actually be the main limiting
factor on urban growth
Acid Damage: Vienna, Austria
Acid Damage: Vienna, Austria

Corrosive acid
deposition occurs when
sulfur and nitrogen
oxides are released into
the atmosphere from
such sources as motor
vehicles and
smokestack industries.
Acid Damage: Vienna, Austria


This originally white,
French Gothic
Votivkirche (church)
was built from 18561879.
The costly cleaning
process has started
with the 325’ steeples.
Urban hydrology

The city is a great consumer of water
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Residential areas usually consume the most
Each residential person uses about 60 gallons
per day
Consumption is greater in drier climates, where
lots are larger, and in middle and higher-income
neighborhoods
Higher-income groups usually have a larger
number of water-using appliances
Urban hydrology


When water price increases people use less, as was
illustrated by periods of drought in the West
Urbanization seems to increase both the frequency
and magnitude of flooding
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–
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Creates large impervious areas where water cannot soak
into the earth
Precipitation is converted into immediate runoff —forced
into gutters, sewers, and straightened stream channels
bared of vegetation
Time between rainfall and peak runoff is reduced in cities
In the countryside water runs across soil and vegetation into
stream channels and on into rivers
Urban vegetation


Studies show two-thirds of a typical North American
city is comprised of trees and herbaceous plants
It affects city’s geology, hydrology, and meteorology
–
–
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Affects quantity and quality of surface water and
groundwater
Reduces wind velocity, turbulence, and temperature
extremes
Affects pattern of snow accumulation and melting
Urban vegetation

It affects city’s geology, hydrology, and meteorology
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–
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Absorbs thousand of tons of airborne particulates and
atmospheric gases
Gives habitat for mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects
Masks out much of the city’s noise
Affects distribution of natural and artificial light
Extremely important in development of soil profiles, which
control hillside stability
Urban Vegetation: Oklahoma City
Urban Vegetation: Oklahoma City

Inspired by Copenhagen’s
Tivoli Gardens, ChineseAmerican architect I. M. Pei
created a master
redevelopment plan for
OKC’s downtown in 1964. It
includes landscaped hills,
lakes, fountains, and a
tropical, botanical garden
within a glass-tubed bridge.
Urban Vegetation: Oklahoma City

Urban vegetation
affects the quantity and
quality of ground water,
reduces temperature
extremes, dampens
noise, and provides
recreational space for
people and habitat for
wildlife. What ongoing
costs are incurred by
this project?
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