CASE STUDY – URB 300

1. Provide and explain two micro and two macro level reasons from the case for the movement of people to the suburbs of Detroit:

 

Reasons for the movement of entire families and neighborhoods from the urban areas of Detroit Michigan actually begins in the early part of the twentieth century with the flow of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. This flood of European newcomers transformed the landscape of Detroit entirely. These new immigrants were attracted to the city of Detroit because of the burgeoning automobile industry. Detroit underwent its most rapid growth in the 1920’s due to the influx of immigrants from Poland, Germany, and Italy moving into their own ethnic neighborhoods where they began to build their churches, synagogues, and shops around their own customs and cultures.

The existing population of Detroit tended to resent what they considered the incursion of these newcomers and the jobs that they seemed to be taking away from the real Americans. Around this time the African American population began to move north to the city of Detroit also in search of better economic opportunities as were the European immigrants. The black immigrants found it more difficult to blend in with the existing population and also experienced heavy discrimination and prejudice being aimed against them by the existing citizens and also by the immigrant population whom they were competing against for the low paying jobs. In the 1960’s another migration began in Detroit, this time the exodus was from the city itself to the outer areas of the city better known as the suburbs. This white flight was mainly due because of several reasons. Because of discrimination and worsening economic conditions in the city, the black residents were mostly confined to ghettoization where crime became rampant. Because of these conditions it increased the level of distress within the city by increasing alcohol and drug abuse along with the increasing crime rate in the inner city. Many non-black residents left their homes in the city to live in the suburbs.

2. According to Wirth, Provide examples that fit the case study:

The significant factors that are mentioned by Wirth, which are applying to distinct settlements that are distributed within a city, and sought after by the population of that city are as follows: Individuals desire to live in areas of a city that posses prestige, high land values, sufficient rentals, absence of noise and other pollutants, are areas of high desirability for people of all races and ethnic groups.

American cities contain many people that seem to be younger, than the rural areas or the suburbs do. Young people tend to prefer to live in cities than older people do. The older populations prefer to live in the rural areas of a city. Woman also tend to prefer to live in cities, and according to the research of Wirth, woman predominate numerically over men. The population of a city is also indicated by racial and ethnic lines. Again according to Wirth the foreign born and their children constitute nearly two-thirds of all inhabitants of cities with a population of one million people or above. The larger American cities also have attracted a large percentage of African Americans and other racial groups. The factors of age, sex, race, and ethnic background seem to be the primary characteristics that according to the research conducted by Wirth are among the significant factors in accordance with which the urban population is selected and distributed into more or less distinct settlements or city neighborhoods (p.15).

Wirth also mentions that never before have such large and diverse masses of people with so many different cultural and personality traits been brought to live together in the entire history of the world, as has been done in the great cities of the United States.

3. Consider the Quote:

Question number three is asking us to consider the quote; the single focus metropolis disappeared and was replaced by an amorphous sprawl of population without a unifying hub or culture. Does this quote fit the case study? In my opinion the quote fits the case study. In the beginning of civilizations and cities there was a single goal that the population of the ancient city needed to achieve, if they did not achieve that goal then their city would die and in all actuality they would die also. In his research Teaford actually makes a lot of sense with his statement about there no longer being a unifying hub. In the time period which he mentions the United States was in the midst of world war two and was a country still inhabited and settled by European immigrants.

They all spoke different languages and had different cultures, but their unifying factor was that they all wanted to be good American citizens. They tended to make it a point to learn to read and write the English language and some even changed their names in order to sound more American.

I do tend to agree with Teaford’s comments that in modern time most Americans commute in private cars usually by themselves or with others along the same social economic strata and lifestyle which they are. Most American now tends to stay away from the inner hub of any large major American city because of several factors. The factors can include the perception of high crime rates and drug and alcohol abuse which is quite often associated with the urban world.

4. Briefly explain Van der Leeuw’s theory:

Sander van der Leeuw’s theory is that modern people as well as ancient people learn new techniques and new innovations in producing objects and new concepts. Ancient man learned to produce three dimensional objects and also how to illustrate them in two dimensional methods.

He also states that origins of cities or urbanization areas need to have better and more often be in contact with themselves to effectively organize new ideas and new information for better innovation. New inventions are usually brought into cities for implementation and this very often causes the emergence of new cities which usually form in clusters.

Reading, writing and counting emerged in the ancient cities in different manners as shown by the Mayas in the Americas and the Sumerians in Mesopotamia. When human beings form cities they also tend to implement laws and administration as well as monetary transactions because this is now needed to operate a city efficiently. As cities tend to grow into empires, he also states that more wealth is needed from other regions in order to sustain the growing city or empire. In large cities or empires such as the Roman Empire, efficient roads and city infrastructures are needed for communication to other parts of the empire and to effectively move about troops from one province to another.

The rise of Detroit as a thriving urban area is due in great part to its geographical area and also to the industries that were formed within its boundaries. Its proximity to the great lakes region made it very valuable to the shipping trade where commerce and the exchange of innovative ideas could be spread and implemented. The lakes could also be used to transport military personnel if needed, as was done during the American Revolutionary War. Another major factor for the rise of Detroit to a great American city is that the automobile industry chose to make its worldwide headquarters there back at the start of the twentieth century. This industry drew millions of people from all over the globe seeking employment in this new industry. The auto industry also started thousands of other industries that were now necessary in order to manufacture new products that the automobile would require, such as tires and anything else that can be thought of that a car needs. This reason is probably the best example of van der Leeuw’s theory of innovation.