Community and Communication in Changing Urban Areas

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Community and Communication in Changing Urban Areas
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Part 1: Urban Studies, Theoretical Perspectives & Telematics
How we view technology & impact is grounded in our theoretical perspectives:

Technological Determinism:
* Change in the city is a direct result of change in telematics OR reaction to technological innovation/invention * Urban change = inevitable, unalternable, predictable
* Physical change (buildings, roads, parks etc.) & SES (socioeco structures) is determined by technology being utilized
Utopianism/Futurism:
Telematics Technology →Solutions to Social, Econ, Spatial & Physical Problems * Similar to ↑ but judges the nature of the changes induced by technology * Resulting changes are positive and telematic innovations make the city a better place to live and work * Not all past changes have been improvements but future technological advances will correct all problems * City development = continuous cycle of innovation

Dystopianism (Political Economy viewpoint)

* Telematics innovation and adoption = social process, not separate/distinct from society * Telematics are used as an instrument of capitalism therefore technology is not a determinant of urban change or wonderful solution to difficult problems but changes can occur as a consequence of capital accumulation * It is only used to accumulate capital

SCOT (Social Construction of Technology view point)

* Technology is a part of society as a whole and have a role to play in implementing or rejecting telematics innovation and urban change and it is also influenced by capitalism but more minimally than Dystopianism * Society shapes the way in which technology is adopted

* There is also a historical context which conditions current decision-making particularly socioeconomic and technological processes and how they became important
Part 2: An Introduction to Urban Studies
Urban Studies – understanding cities, towns and villages and their built environments (buildings, roads, rail lines, parks, utility networks, water and sewer lines – etc) in relation to complex processes that are constantly changing and shaping the city around them

Why Study Cities:
* Characteristics of cities:
* Inherently complex
* Dynamic
* Always in transition
* Very exciting
* In order to plan cities more effectively, we must understand their processes:

What are cities?
* Louis Wirth: large, dense, permanent, heterogenous population * Lewis Mumford : hub of civilations, where cultre and values evolve * Canada Census: continuously built-up area with [population] = 1000 + & population density = 400+/sq. km * Very wide definition that cover many small places as well * Definition differs between nations

* Two important universal dimensions of urban defined: * Size of urban place
* Density of the urban place
What do these widely divergent places have in common:
* Commerce – carrying on of business, few exceptions include religious or education based cities * Primary Economic Activites - Non urban economic activites such as agriculture, foresting, mining etc. * Secondary Economic Activities - manufacturing occurs in urban places * Tertiary Economic Activities – service sector firms occur in urban places * NOTE: large urban places exert considerable influence over smller urban places and surrounding rural areas by virtue of their economics * More Urban Characteristics:

* Built Environments – urban places have a distinct look and feel from the closeness and largeness that is associated with them * Centres of invention and inovation (technological, social, political, economic) * Open cultural environment

* Displacement – proportional to levels of innovation, there are...
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