Social change:

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City living: The growth of the Urban:

metropolis and city: 

  • City: a settlement bigger than a town. In UK: a city historically contained a cathedral. very small cities qualify in this definition: e.g UK's smallest city, st. Davids. 
  • Metropolis: A large urban settlement, often comprising different areas, with extensive subsurbs and often more than one centre (e.g cardiff, london, sheffield) 
  •  - the metropolis may encompass outliying towns and erstwhile villages on the fringes
  • some mega-metropolises (LA, Tokyo etc) contain several cities within them. 
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Chicago School: 1920s-40s Urban sociology:

  • studied cities in the UD, principally chicago.
  • adopted approach of 'urban ecology':
  • cities seen as having thier own 'natural' rhythms and patterns of popularion movement.
  • these movement instigated by successive 'invasions' of groups into new areas
  • this resulted in competition amongst groups over land and wealth resources. 
  • resulted in 'natural areas': some areas where competition over land was strongest would be high-density: others, where land cheaper and more plentiful would be lower density. 
  • some areas, settled by poorer groups: others by more affluent groups. over time, due to social mobility, poorer groups moved out into more affluent areas, to replaced by a new wave of poorer groups.
  • these movement subject scientific investigation. 
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Ethnicity and Migration:

  • chicago school, cities are all about change and movement.
  • in the US, migration and immigration have been constant processes: 
  •  - As families become wealthier they move out to other spaces with people similar to themselves
  • new arrivals taje thier place in the less advantaged areas and so the cycle continues
  • however other countries ecperienced immigration waves differently and to different defrees - the pattern is not uniform and need to be examined on a case by cases basis. 
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Critiques of Urban Ecology Approach:

  • treats social processes as adaptations to a human environment with scarce resources (biological reductionism) 
  • posits a 'natural' cycle of rhythms: competition, the cominance, then succession then invasion.
  • Assumes that the Amercian Dream could be reality (given the right conditions) 
  • takes capitalist economy as a given, rather than achnowledging its inherent imbalances and inequalities
  • however the Chicago school were diverse and not all subscribed to ecological explanations.
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Interconnections and barriers within cities:

Interconnections: 

  • differnt area becomes dependent on each other; the centre (factories) and hinterlang (raw materials and resources) are mutually dependent e.g newspapers.
  • constant process of people travelling back and forth across the city:everyone had to go into the centre to visit department stores and banks. 

Barriers: 

  • Zoning: this is when governemtns interven to designate different urban areas for specific activities - often resulting in barriers to mobility and segregation for minority groups. 
  • Social and economic: in effect there are many less explicit barriers to mobility too, especially for minorities, African Americans experienced hostility and discrimination from better-resourced white groups; often could not access rising living standards; confined to poorer employment areas and domestic service due to racism 
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Powerful Social Actors:

  • Individual in powerful position: 
  • groups and organisations:
  • - that cities cannot be considered as 'natural' habitats with in-built systems. 
  • instead we need to examine who makes decisions, with what resouces in the interests of whom and to what ends
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Powerful Social Actors:

  • Individual in powerful position: 
  • groups and organisations:
  • - that cities cannot be considered as 'natural' habitats with in-built systems. 
  • instead we need to examine who makes decisions, with what resouces in the interests of whom and to what ends
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Growth of Suburbs:

  • the suburbs is supposed to be an area of the city free from the problems of inner-urban life, such as overcrowding, slums, pollution: 
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Growth of Suburbs:

  • the suburbs is supposed to be an area of the city free from the problems of inner-urban life, such as overcrowding, slums, pollution: 
  • area on the cites periphery, designed for low density residential dwelling.
  • located a substantial distance from work places. 
  • residents: middle to upper classes - tendency to social homogenisation wit each other, uniform house prices.
  • low paid, low status domestic employment by black americans (In suburban states in US)
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Segregation:

  • Growth of suburbs creates large social differences between different parts of city; these become entrenched over time and lad values rise in more affluent areas, pushing out htoes with fewer resources.
  • social inequality is therfore expressed spatially: racial, religiou and ethnic discrimmination are major factors.
  • life-stage and family are also important: singles and families often live in different areas. 
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Ghettoisaition:

  • in US cities emerged in early C20 through well-definied institiutional practices impacting class adn ethinity:
  • segregation concentrates poverty, employment opportunities dwindle; 
  • Neighbourhoods become progressively more isolated with decreasing services (failing schools; little health care): spiral of decline
  • particularly severe in the US, where scholars talk of ameria 'aparthied' afflicting African-Americans and Puerto-Ricans
  • Crime , violence and family breakdown rise. 

What are the exclusion leading to the Ghetto? 

  • withering of wage-labour economy
  • institiutional failure (poor shools, housing and transport; restricted benefits etc) 
  • racial antipathy and class prejudice
  • symbolic 'taint' and territorial stigma 
  • bureaucratic apathy.
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Gentrification:

  • Definition:movement of middle class populations back into poor city centre areas: 
  • 1) displacement of one group of residents with another of high scoial status and wealth. 
  • 2) transformation of built environment; emergence of new services and appearance of aesthetic element. 
  • 3) clustering of groups with perceived shared culture and lifestyle, or consumer-preferences
  • 4) economic increase in property values; vast profit opportunities for construction industy. 

Example: 

  • HACKNEY, LONDON:
  • poorest inner london boroughs. 
  • in 2 hackney enclaves gentrification processes are in place.
  • incoming residence are highly educated - professional and administrative workers in earner households. 
  • hold cosmopolitan values, with deep dislike for suburban environments
  • politically hostile to conservative party and reductions in public expenditure 
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Consequences of Gentrification

  • its not a benign process of inner-city revitalisation, but expression of inequality and social closer (savage 2003) 
  • as indigenous(original)/ exisitng groups are pushed out, they often become more marginalised (opposite of social mobility) 
  • concentration of wealthier, better-educated citizens in particular district merely deepens residential segregation along class lines.
  • problem stems from lack of affordable houseing for young, small familier, couples and singles in professional/technical occupations wanting to buy own homes: suburbs often too expensive. 
  • often seeking alternative lifestyles to dominant suburban norms: so cultural factors significant. 
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Conclusion:

  • Cities in early 20th century subject to constant process of mobuility and 'churn' determined by different populations acquiring differential access to resources (chicago school)
  • however, over 20th cent social inequalities have increase as new building programmes (e.g suburbs, gentrified areas) created affluent outskirts and enclaves whilst poverity and (in US) ghetoisation cut off the mobility of pooer ethnic populations.
  • blockages of mobility: unequal power, unequal access to resoures, discrimination, increasing segregation along wealth-lines, the power of those with capital to invest in real estate - creating hotspots of development and cold spots of exclusion. 
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