City Structure

This week in class we discussed urban ecology, how everything in a city is interconnected.   We also talked about the physical structures of cities. In “A Brief History of Urban Form,” Crawford writes about city grids and how they changed over time. City grids can be influenced by social-economic situations such as the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. For examples, such city structure design from the Medieval time period could not handle the traffic of automobiles during the Industrial Revolution.

City structures varies as it adapts to what seems the most functional. In this powerpoint from the University of Milwaukee, Powerpoint Lecture, discusses early colonial period city structures.

In this picture, it shows the early structure of colonial Boston. It does not seem very grid-like as one would think of like it is today. That is because the city structure if unplanned and develops over time meeting functional needs of the community.

In this map of early colonial Philadelphia however, the city structure is planned. It is under “Speculator’s Model,” influenced by London’s west end with the city square in the center.

In “A Bursa-Focused Investigation of the Effects of Socio-Cultural Changed and Transformation on Physical Structures of Cities in Terms of Globalization Process According to the Production and Consumption Relationships,” the author writes about how globalization and socio-cultural changes influenced city structures using the city of Bursa as an example. Bursa lied on the important silk road and was one of the first cities to have globalization activities applied. “The city of Bursa displays a spatial structure of a religious-economic center with residential areas, streets and suburbs located around it as well as a formation of an area where with culture and administration buildings…formed by Khans, bazaar where antiques and valuables are sold.” Such areas of high business and political activity in a city equaled high traffic in this particular part of the city. Therefore, wide roads with the combination of modern structures were built such as, city hall, government halls, theatre, schools, post office, schools, hospitals, banks, shops, etc. The 19th century city planners realized with high traffic volumes meant more people will live in and around this particular region and built buildings necessary to the people living there.

The economic boost from the silk trade gave birth to the modern city. Meanwhile, globalization, the exchange of not only tangible goods, but also ideas, help give birth to this city. Western influences in the new economic relationships brought forth cultural structures like theaters and other entertainment places.

City structures are affected by social, economic, political, and cultural changes. It adapts to the needs of the people and to the ever-changing times. Cities will continue to change as it is shaped by the intentions of society.