The Ecological Pattern of Cities
Most cities look as though they just happened grew without plan or design-and they did. While a few major cities such as Washington, D.C., once had a plan, they have long since outgrown it. But while most city growth is not planned, neither is it entirely haphazard. Cities have structure, and there is some reason for the arrangement of their parts. Several sociologists have sought to discover the underlying pattern of modern cities. (These patterns do not fit ancient or medieval cities, nor cities in underdeveloped countries, which show a very different pattern of development [Santos, 1979]). PATIERNS OF URBAN DESIGN. The earliest
pattern of urban design was the sial’ plli/em of R. M. Hurd . This pictures the city as growing outward from the center along the main transportation routes, thus taking a star shape. As the automobile became a major .form of urban transport, the spaces between the star points filled in, making this pattern inapplicable to modern cities. Burgess’s concentric zone pattern, shown in Figure 18-4, is the most famous pattern of urban design. Based upon his studies of Chicago in the early 1920s, it shows a central business district at the center, surrounded by a slum consisting of old buildings which are gradually being replaced by the expansion of the business district. This in turn is surrounded by zones of successively better-class residences. Do real cities resemble the Burgess pattern? .Most American cities have a central business district, partly or entirely surrounded j)y a slum. This surrounding zone contains the oldest buildings in the city, undesirable because of decay, dirt, and congestion. Housing quality tends to improve as one moves outward from this slum, and much of the choice residential area is located in the suburbs. Butt his pattern does not fit postindustrial cities, whose sequence of zones was reversed, with the rich living close to the center and the poor on the’ fringes [Jobber, 1960; Abbott, 1974]. Nor does the concentric zone pattern describe city growth since automobile transport became dominant. Thus, it fits some cities at a particular time and place . And even then, these zones are not unbroken bands . surrounding the city, nor are they circular in shape. Instead, the various grades of residence are rather irregularly distributed and often concentrated on one side of the city. This observation led Hoyt [19331 to frame his sector t/theory of city growth, holding that a particular kind of land use tends tn locate and remain in a particular sector (a pie-shaped wedge) of the city. Thus, industry tends to .