URSI 100--Introduction to the City

Recent History of the City

Origins of the City

Relation between city size and trade area

“Replacement rate” (@ 2.1 per female)

American City in the Nineteenth Century

Immigration & natural increase as factors in 19th century US growth

“Railroad flat”

Typical urban density—200 people on 2500 square foot lot

Key issues:

a.       conditions of housing for the poor

b.      public transportation

c.       parks, playgrounds, urban design

Western cities founded as commercial ventures by Easterners

Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier hypothesis”

“Dispersing forces” by end of 19th Century:

a.       commuting

b.      electric trolley

c.       bedroom communities

d.      suburban retail strips

Emergence of Metropolitan America

Decentralizing forces:

a.       Automobile & trucking

b.      Growth in personal income

c.       Decrease in length of work work

d.      Communication technology

e.       Entertainment technology

f.        Freeways

Problem with public transportation:

a.       collection problem

b.      distribution problem

Victor Gruen designed the first shopping center at Northland (Detroit) in 1951 (the first enclosed shopping center—mall—was Southdale around 1954).

Models of metropolitan physical form:

a.       concentric zone (Burgess)—based on invasion & succession

b.      sectoral model (Hoyt)

c.       multiple nuclei (Harris & Ullman)

d.      edge city (Garreau)

Central city’s economic and demographic trends are linked to the region in which it is located:

a.       auto created shift to lower densities

b.      loss of manufacturing in central city

c.       suburbanization of income


Based on LEVY, J.M. 2000. Urban America: Processes & Problems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


2003 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 1 January 06