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Chicago School

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

In the 1920s and 1930s, Chicago emerged at the forefront of American urban analysis. As the model of the rapidly growing, industrialized city populated by streams of immigrants, Chicago became the prototypical example of the industrial American city. The University of Chicago played a major role in disciplines such as economics, sociology, and geography. Within this context, the Chicago School of urban studies arose, which was enormously influential in sociology and geography for the next several decades. The Chicago School is credited with the first systematic attempt to understand the dynamics of urban areas, including social change, urban planning, and territoriality.

The origins of the Chicago school lay largely with Robert E. Park, a former journalist turned teacher. In 1925, Park, Ernest Burgess, and Roderick McKenzie ...

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