Is the city becoming obsolete?

Is the city becoming obsolete? Many social observers believe that it is. In their view, improved information and transportation technology has deprived urban density of its raison d?étre. It is taking different connotations.They also argue that many cities have caused themselves irreparable damage by pursuing policies that have attracted the poor and repelled the rich. The combination of foolish policies and technological change, they say, has doomed the city.

Ongoing technological developments do indeed have massive implications for urban form. It is also true that many cities have followed policies that, in hindsight, appear unwise. Without question some cities are in deep decline. Some may not recover. But the turn of the new millennium does not presage the end of a ten-thousand-year pattern of increasing urbanization.

Are cities here to stay? Envisioning their future requires understanding their functions. Ultimately, it’s true that the future of cities depends on the demand for urban density. And the demand for density depends on what density does.

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Concentric Zone Theory and Urban Crime

Ernest Burgess of the University of Chicago, sought to explain clear divisions of socioeconomic status within and immediately outside of cities.  The disparities from one city block to the next were extremely apparent and Burgess created a tool that has proven to be extremely helpful to future crime study.  Working with the city of Chicago, Burgess examined and identified 5 city zones, each with its own particular attributes.  Though Ernest’s original publication from 1928 on concentric circles very blatantly divided these zones by concentration of African Americans within the inner zones (Burgess, 1928), the general make-up of these areas today is predominantly comprised of minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status. 

The zone distinction within cities will become much more apparent in future discussions about social disorganization and its dominance within inner zones.  

Zone II is distinct in its impoverished condition.  Houses are dilapidated and abandoned, education standards and facilities are low, and crime is abundant.  Brought to light by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay of the University of Chicago, the term social disorganization became a predominant theme in explaining the occurrence of dysfunction and crime within these inner zones. 

The Zone of Transition is one of much despair and hardship.  Houses and apartment complexes are left ignored by landlords and tenants allowing them to go into major disrepair.  Drug dealing, addiction, and prostitution are visible on most street corners as few means of legitimate methods of work are available to those residing in these areas.  High resident turnover occurs as those that find the means are able to move into higher zones.  These community traits leave these neighborhoods unstable and ever-changing, yet through cultural transmission, the general subculture of crime and deviance persists (Siegel, 2009).  While the outermost concentric zones adapt to “conventional norms”, respect for law enforcement, and a shared interest in the maintenance of communities (Siegel, 2009), inner-city subcultures fail to make the same connections as they are continuously ignored and disenfranchised.  Lacking any form of social control, such as family, regular law enforcement, social services, etc., deviance transitions from one generation to another, especially via juveniles and gangs (Lersch, 2011).  The continuous cycle of crime and violence in conjunction with the lack of support from outside sources allows these zones to maintain the disorganization as a concrete subculture. 

There are criticisms of every theory, yet, they are important and worth mentioning for purposes of future research.  Despite the popularity of social disorganization theory, it has been hypothesized that these zones perhaps do not experience heightened crime levels so much as heightened levels of attention to crime. 

Discrimination against the impoverished and minorities allows for these neighborhoods to receive increased scrutiny (Lersch, 2011).  Upon being targeted by law enforcement because of their neighborhood identity, criminal activity and deviance will have more interaction with law enforcement and the judicial system.  This is known as the labeling theory.  Once labeled a deviant by association or law enforcement interaction, there is a tendency for future stigmatization by the system (Lersch, 2011).

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The Model

social disorganization theory

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Characteristics of Medieval Indian Towns

Some of the most important characteristics of medieval Indian towns were as follows:

(1) Medieval period in India was a transitional time and it was not possible under the unstable political conditions for the planned and systematic urban growth. Only fortress towns under the patronage of chieftains and petty rulers could grow.

(2) Towns along the main routes of travel, and by the river-side had trade in food grains, cloth, swords, carpets, perfumes and several other handicraft articles.

(3) Small urban centres was the ‘rule’, and only capitals were having busy life. Jaunpur was the capital city under the rule of Firozshah.

(4) It was under the rule of Akbar that the disturbed urban life was reconstituted and redeveloped. All centres – ‘dasturs’ (districts) as well as ‘parganas’ (tehsils) beside capitals in nature were also ‘garrison towns’ where armies were invariably stationed for protection.

(5) Medieval towns, whether in India or anywhere else, were walled, encircled by an outside moat.

(6) Medieval town site was usually governed by physically significant terrain; it was either on a hill flanked on the other side by a water body, or it was guarded by a ring of mounds.

(7) Medieval town used to have its first nucleus often as a fortress of walled property of a landlord, its internal roads being controlled to connect the market place lying directly before the gate of the castle or place of worship.

(8) Urban centres of the medieval times were surrounded by agricultural land, and farmers and labourers commonly were having their dwellings near or outside the town limit. The areas within the walls of a town near its bound were occupied by artisan castes engaged in handicrafts.

Wealthy merchants were having their mansions around the market place in the central area, while the administrative officials and high-ranked army personnel’s’ residences were around the palace or castle, church, abbey and the place of worship. The entire structure of a town was divided into socially hierarchical classes controlled by the chieftain or bishop.




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Australia – Snow falls in Victoria just a day after 37C heatwave

Iowa Climate Science Education

Both Mt Hotham and Falls Creek in the state’s northeast ranges saw enough snow on Monday for a blanket to settle on the ground as a cold front crossed the state.

On Sunday, Walpeup in the state’s northwest hit a blistering top of 37.1C (98.8F) while Melbourne reached a maximum of 29.5C (85.1F).

Monday’s high temperature in Melbourne was expected to top out at only 14C (57.2F), said weather bureau senior forecaster Michael Efron.

Thanks to Laurel for this link

“We keep getting the upwelling from Antarctica,” says Laurel. “Heatstroke on Friday – lit fire on Saturday cos it was rather chilly, and sure not warm today either;-/”

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October 6, 2020 at 08:48PM

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