• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Providing a thorough and comprehensive survey of the contemporary urban world that is accessible to students, Urban People and Places: The Sociology of Cities, Suburbs, and Towns will give balanced treatment to both the process by which cities are built (i.e., urbanization) and the ways of life practiced by people that live and work in more urban places (i.e., urbanism) unlike most core texts in this area. Whereas most texts focus on the socio-economic causes of urbanization, this text analyses the cultural component: how the physical construction of places is, in part, a product of cultural beliefs, ideas, and practices and also how the culture of those who live, work, and play in various places is shaped, structured, and controlled by the built environment. Inasmuch as the primary focus will be on the United States, global discussion is composed with an eye toward showing how U.S. cities, suburbs, and towns are different and alike from their counterparts in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America

Urban Places and People in Comparative Perspective
Urban places and people in comparative perspective

We used an evolutionary approach or framework in the previous chapter to describe urbanization in Western societies. It was popular among 19th century researchers who tried to make sense of the world in which they were living by reminding themselves of the history their ancestors had made. Obviously, we still find it useful today.

The observations and records that are used in evolutionary arguments let scholars make some sweeping generalizations about cities in general. In no way, however, do they capture all the variations among those cities or the fact that some cities did better and some did worse. This approach also allows us to compare cities on the basis of an ...

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