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Comparative Analysis Of Industrial And Post-Industrial Cities

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Urban geography is studied to show us how towns and cities have been distributed over the years and the factors that exist between the socio-spatial features of these cities. In this essay, industrial cities and post-industrial cities will be analysed, contrasted and compared between economic, social and spatial features.

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The industrial cities occurred from the 18th to the mid-20th century and the Post-industrial cities emerged thereafter. The economy might be the biggest driver influencing urban change. In the Industrial city, the economy was largely made up of the manufacturing factor. There were a lot of factories and there was a rise in industrial capitalism. Mass production is the production of large quantities of the same commodity, and the fluctuation of sales does not affect it. A lot of the low-income earners worked in the factories and the wealthy/middle-income workers were educated, meaning they could find corporate jobs instead of working in the factories.

In the Post-industrial cities, there was a rise in the service sector, this means that corporate power was dominating which encouraged or strengthened Post-industrial capitalism. Deindustrialisation is the result of the rise in service factor and a decline in the manufacturing sector. Deindustrialisation results in underemployment, meaning that people end up having to take more than one job to make ends meet. According to Graham and Spence (1995), usually those who are underemployed are either overqualified/overeducated or workers who could be working full time are working part-time. Underemployment affects developing countries where the unemployment rate is low. The economy has shifted, causing fewer jobs for the unskilled labour force. Post-Fordism, flexible production, knowledge and technology are also characteristics of the economy of the Post-industrial cities. Post-Fordism is the theory that mass production should be changed to small, flexible manufacturing production. This is characterised by producing in small batches, economies of scope, the rise of the service factor and white-collar workers, rise of information technology, the specialization of products and jobs and the inclusion of female workers in the workforce. Globalisation and the global cities are characteristics of the post-industrial cities. Globalisation is when businesses in a certain country/city start operating in the international economy, this results in the emergence of global cities, especially if most of these businesses are from the same city. New York, London and Paris are examples of global cities because they play a leading role in the global economy. This economy is dominated by global finance and the electronic flow of information (Information technology).

There was a hierarchal society in the Industrial city. There was a clear distinction between the two main classes; upper class and lower class, and there was an unequal power division (Pacione,2009) because the money often translates into power the wealthy people were the ones making all the huge decisions even though there was a smaller percentage of them in the cities. The mobility of the class was based on certain achieved characteristics. Ultimately, having formal schooling was a way that people could advance up the social hierarchy, an opportunity that lower-class people never got to have. In this society, rapid urbanisation and population growth occurred. The proportion of people living in cities and towns increased as people moved away from rural areas into the cities. The push factors were mainly unemployment, poverty and a poor standard of living. The pull factors were mainly access to job opportunities and education, improved living conditions and access to better services. The protestant work ethic and workhouses were used by religious leaders to manipulate people into working for cheap pay. Religious leaders convinced people that they were sinning by being unemployed. In the religious workhouses, the living conditions there were worse than living on the streets because these people were forced to work, they were not being paid and they there not living comfortably. This resulted in child labour because even children were considered as sinful for not working. The environment was not conducive for welfare. These workhouses could not be stopped because there was very little government intervention, NGOs and welfare. Many women ended up in prostitution and many men turned to alcohol and drug abuse.

In the post-industrial city society, the hierarchal society is not as rigidly structured as in the industrial city, it is no longer simply class but upper class and lower class aren’t distinctively segregated. There is a shift from blue-collar workers to white-collar workers. Blue-collar workers are workers that do manual labour (unskilled labour) and white-collar workers perform skilled labour and have some form of tertiary education. The immigrant population also increases in the Post-industrial city because people have the freedom to travel, work and/or reside in other countries, seeking better opportunities.

In the Industrial City, social-spatial segregation of classes was very evident. There were inner-city slums that had poor living environments, such as not having proper water supplies and public sanitation. The conditions were no different in the large industrial cities. Housing for the poor was either ‘back to back’ housing, tenements, or through houses. It was overcrowded, had no service delivery, poorly maintained and the people were exposed to various diseases such as Cholera and Typhoid. The housing for the wealthy was less densely populated, away from the factories so that they are not exposed to the pollution from the factories meaning they had fewer health risks. The Wealthy did not stay close to the CBD because it was too close to the factories and the working class. The only reason why the workers resided close to the Central Business District (CBD) is that it is much closer to work and its cheaper to stay there. The wealthy people do not want to stay next to the working class and space in between the upper class and lower class deepens the hierarchy and emphasises this point. The CBD drives how the city is structured usually the places closet to the CBD have short-term stability and high mobility rates whereas the places further from the CBD has long-term stability and low mobility rates (less traffic), these are the high-status communities. The diagram below is Burgess’s model of the industrial city and it illustrates the residential segregation in the Industrial city.

In the post-industrial city, what used to be the focus of the city (CBD) in the industrial city is now decentralised. The city becomes fragmented meaning that the CBD is no longer the focal point of the city. Shopping malls, businesses, schools, etc are all distributed around different areas of the town. The rise of the carceral city is the privatisation of space, high walls in residential areas, gated communities and electronic surveillance make residents feel safe and protected from outsiders.

Society and space influence each other, the way that a city is arranged and our image of the city will affect our lifestyle and behaviour in it. Social space is assumed to act as both a product and a producer of change in our environment. The economic, social and spatial features of the Industrial cities and post-industrial cities is a representation of this.

10 December 2020

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