The Factors That Changed the American City in the Second Half of ...

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The Factors That Changed the American City in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

By | April 2011
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In the second half of the nineteenth century, there were many factors that changed the American city. As urbanization and industrialization developed simultaneously, cities were provided with supply of labor for factories and improved transportation. There was an obvious shift in population from rural to urban and there was an increase in immigration. Because of the industrialization, cities in the late 19th century went through significant changes not only in their size but also in their architectural designs such as the skyscrapers with their newly invented designs.

A number of improvements in urban transportation made the growth of cities possible. Cities gave way to streetcar cities because people had little choice but to live in walking distances. By the 1890s, both horse-drawn cars and cable cars were being replaced by electric trolleys, elevated railroads and subways, which could transport people to urban residence. These improvements in urban transportation made it possible for more people to immigrate into the cities making it even bigger. Large factories also had an effect because large factories soon made up a urban city along with skyscrapers.

As cities expanded outward, they also soared upward, since increasing land values in the central business district dictated the construction. Skyscrapers had replaced church spires as the dominant feature of American urban skylines and the buildings mostly had electric lights for commercial purposes. In addition, when landlords divided up inner-city housing into small, windowless rooms, the tenement apartments could cram over 4,000 people into one city block. The tenements allowed for more immigrants to move in.

The second half of the nineteenth century was times where factors changed the American city from rural to more of an urban. As immigrations increased, industries were growing with improvements in transportation of railroads and streetcars and these factors all contributed to the changes in the...