THE URBAN ‘COMMUNITY
The Development of Cities In order for the primitive Stone Age village
to expand to a size of several hundred thousand, it needed a food surplus, a water supply, and a transportation system. Since a river valley provided all three, the first large cities arose six or seven thousand years ago in the valleys of the Nile, the Tigris, and the Euphrates. Surplus food to support an urban population was abundant in the fertile valley, and the .slow-flowing rivers provided simple transportation. Although most ancient cities remained tiny by modem standards, a few each d a size of several hundred thousand, complete with problems of water supply, sewage disposal, and traffic congestion. . The growth of cities unleashed revolutionary changes. The primitive village was organized on a kinship basis and guided by . custom. By contrast, a city has: (1) a division of labor into many specialized occupations, (2) social organization based upon occupation and social class rather than kinship, (3) formal goverrynent institutions based on territory rather than family, (4) a system of trade and
commerce, (5) means of comm uni cation and record keeping, and (6} rational technology. These developments proceed steadily as small towns grow into large cities. Obviously the large city could pot arise until the society had made a number of necessary inventions; at the same time, the development of the city proved a great stimulus to the making and improving of such inventions as carts and barges, ditches and aqueducts, writing, number systems, governmental bureaucracies, systems of occupational specialization and social stratification, and many others .
• Towns and cities are of many kinds-templetowns, garrison towns, mining towns, seaports, political capitals, resort centers, industrial cities, trading centers, and others. The “company town” is a unique kind of community which has nearly disappeared [Allen, 1966]. Most large cities are diversified, carrying on a number of kinds of activity. An early sociologist, Cooley , noted that cities tend to grow wherever there is a “break”
in transportation so that goods must be unloaded and reloaded for transshipment. Port cities such as London, Montreal, and New Orleans are each located up a navigable river at the point where large ocean vessels can go no farther. Denver lies at the foot of a mountain range Pittsburgh at the confluence of two rivers. The break-in-transportation theory does not necessarily apply to resort centers such as La Vegas, Aspen, or Monte
Carlo, to political capitals such as Washington or Brazilian, or to other specialized cities .for which transportation was relatively unimportant,
but the break-in-transportation theory still explains the location of most cities, In the Western world, urbanization has accompanied industrialization. Commercial and industrial development provided an urban “pull,” while changing agricultural technology and high rural birthrates combined to provide a rural surplus.of people. In many undeveloped countries today, however, urbanization is rushing along without a proportionate industrial development. Death rates .