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  Urbanization, in anthropology, refers to the development of towns and cities, and more specifically to a growth in the proportion of a country\'s population living in urban centres. The world\'s first cities appeared in about 3500  BCE. In traditional societies cities were small and only a small proportion of the population lived in them; in industrial societies between 60 and 90 per cent do. The urbanization of the Western industrialized societies in the 19th century was very rapid. In this century the urban population increased as a result of migration from the countryside. Urbanization is occurring very rapidly in the Third World also, though this is due to the sheer increase in the size of the population rather than solely to migration from rural areas. In Europe, urbanization and industrialization did occur generally at the same time, but there is some debate as to the exact nature of this association. Urbanism was used by Louis Wirth to denote the distinctive characteristics of urban social life: the loss of primary (kin) relationships, weaker social control, an increased division of labour, greater importance of the mass media and the tendency for people in urban areas to treat each other instrumentally.

Urbanism, in architecture, is a term used to describe both the phenomenon of urbanization in modern industrialized societies (that is, the concentration of the working population into urban areas) and more specifically the rational school of town planning. This sense of the term, fashionable in architectural circles in the 1980s, seems to have derived from the French word urbanisme and has taken on connotations of ‘neoclassical’ town planning: formality of layout focused on clearly defined public spaces. It can also be identified with the notion that life in a town has a quality distinct from that in a suburb or a country village.

The term ‘Urbanism’ is frequently used in the discourses of late-20th-century neoclassical theorists, such as the Belgian Krier brothers. They argue for a radical approach to town planning, for a unity of design, whole streets and squares being laid out on the classical model, as opposed to the individualistic architecture of modernism (impressive buildings designed either without attention to context, or specifically to challenge the existing context). The Kriers argue against some of the principal tendencies of modern town planning which has been (for reasons of efficiency, transport, health and administration) to separate cities into different zones for different functions, such as residential and industrial. One of the principal effects of such zoning in the 20th century was the provision of housing in multi-storey tower blocks of gigantic scale. The Kriers\' view draws much of its inspiration from town planning of the Georgian era in England, itself neoclassical in inspiration, and seeks to create environments of mixed use, made up of buildings of human scale, in consistent materials, with a common style.

This postmodernist brand of Urbanism might be called ‘Utopian’ in a traditional, even ideological sense, associated with traditional philosophical speculation on the subject of an ‘ideal city’ which dates back to the earliest theorizing on the subject. DA JM

See also community; contextualism; convergence thesis; globalization; social mobility; society; theories of modernity.Further reading A.N. Cousins, et al., Urban Life: the Sociology of Cities and Urban Society; , J. Friedmann, , R. Wulff, The Urban Transition; , P. Hall, The World Cities; , R. Hertz, and , N. Klein, Twentieth Century Art: Theory: Urbanism, Politics and Mass Culture; , C. Jenks, Architecture Today.



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