The Relationship Between Society and Space in the Industrial City


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In the industrial city the relationship between society and space was mainly caused by the mechanisation of the country. The people who owned factories and the people who worked in these factories experienced a huge income inequality and as a result they experienced little or no social interactions with each other.

In 1750 AD the industrial revolution took place as a result of the adaption from human labour to the manufacture of products by the use of machines in factories. This occurred because mass production decreased the average cost, the machines sped up the production time resulting in maximised profit (Tickell, 1992) and in the long run, they were more cost efficient than paying wages. To increase profit further, buildings were built specially to support these machines. They were built along canals so they could use the water or the coal found within as a power source. The width and height of these factories were constructed to maximise how many machines could be positioned inside. (Julian Hoppit, 1987)

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However, these buildings were not built with the workers in mind. As a result, injuries were common, the pollution from the factories caused smog and entered the water in the canals which people consumed, causing an outbreak of cholera and approximately 200 deaths. (Pacione, 2009) The homes built near these factories to support the working class did not experience much better conditions.

As a consequence of these features of factories, houses in the central business district that located close to the factories were reduced in quality overall and so rent decreased. They experienced poor lighting, ventilation and dampness, sometimes resulting in illness. Also as the majority of the working class located here to decrease transport costs to work and as the rent was low, there was major overcrowding which resulted in a corresponding decrease in sanitation and the easy spread of diseases. (Pacione, 2009) Overcrowding was made worse as rural-urban migration increased as people relocated to the Central business district to find employment. Overcrowding resulted in a higher rate of crime. All these factors pushed the wealthy class to the outskirts of the city. This was possible as they did not have to worry about high rent or transport costs. The wealthy were also pulled towards the outer regions for reasons including that because there was more space they could choose where to live and this was generally close to friends and in areas that had a better reputation.

Overall, the higher their income the further away from the central business district they would live. As a result polarisation occurs. This is a form of inequality where the populations of high and low income groups grow faster than the middle income group. This sharpens the differences between the two extreme segments. (Pacione, 2009). This resulted in the wealthy and poor having no or little interactions with each other. This is supported by Burgess’s model of the industrial city (figure 1) As seen in the figure 1 the wealthy locate in the commuters zone, at the outskirts of the city, as they don’t have to worry about transport costs into the central business district and want to evade the overall poor quality of life in the centre of the city. The middle income class being the second wealthiest group locate in the residential zone, away from the CBD lifestyle. The stable low income class locate in the zone of transition which is a combination of the CBD area and residential zone. The zone of transition has a better standard of life compared to the CBD. The socially excluded or transient locate in the CBD as rent is low and to reduce transport costs to the factories for work.

The post-industrial city developed in 1956 when there was an economic change from the manufacturing sector to the service sector which developed due to advancements in transport and technology (Shatrevich, 2015). It was also affected by the improvement in communications which extended the reach of international trade i.e. there was trade of products like tea, spice and gold between Europe and other countries. (Pacione, 2009)

Predominance of the service sector caused deindustrialisation which resulted in many people becoming unemployed. As only people who were skilled were needed in the tertiary sector, it was hard to find a job. The dual labour market of a service economy contributes to income inequality and social polarisation (Pacione, 2009) as the white collar or skilled labourers worked in a specific place in the city while the blue collars or no skilled labour worked in a separate location. Also the white collar workers gained a higher status resulting in social segregation.

Consequence of the high unemployment rate, the amount of crime rose significantly, causing the wealthy to move into gated communities. These gated communities included features such as high fences, CCTV and security guards that were provided to install a sense of safety. These gated communities contributed to the fragmentation of the city resulting in social polarisation. This was emphasised as people saw these gated communities as having a better reputation. (Kovács, 2014) As the wealthy moved to the outskirts in their privatised urban spaces, production followed as the wealthy were their main source of income. This resulted in decentralisation of the city and the existence of many different central business districts instead. (Schuurman, 1997) This is emphasised as it ended up being cheaper to move across the city where the wealthy were located than staying in their original location in the central business district and after fragmentation occurred, accessibility to the central business district was lessened.

Fragmentation was increased as people located close to their own ethnicities resulting in social segregation. This resulted in specific places within the country adapting their own characteristics such as special architecture, activities and food specific to a certain ethnicity i.e. little Tokyo. (Pacione, 2009)

As shown in figure 2 the luxury city and the controlling city consisting of privatised urban spaces and gated communities located at the outskirts of the city due to the push factor of high crime rates in the city centre.

The gentrified city is also located on the outskirts of the city as this is where the industrial wealthy homes were originally located. The city of advanced services is located in the middle of the city so it is accessible to both the white and blue collar workers. As well as the suburban city. The city of direct production is located near the controlling city as production followed the wealthy as they are their main source of income.

The tenement city and the city of unskilled workers are separated from the controlling city and the luxury city as a result of income inequality. Therefore in conclusion, as a result of the newly formed dual labour market the city was separated or fragmented into different sections where the skilled labourers and unskilled labourers each occupied. With these segments, other features followed. For example production largely followed the wealthy class to the outskirts of the city as it was more profitable to have the white collars as customers than the blue collar’s or unskilled labourers.

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