urban site and situation n.
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URBAN SITE AND SITUATION PowerPoint Presentation
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  2. Definitions • Site: the relationship between a city and the physical environment and landscape in which it is located • Situation: the relationship between a city and the rest of the urban system in which it is located

  3. Defensive Sites

  4. Mont Saint-Michel

  5. Mont Saint-Michel

  6. Would this be a good type of place for urban growth in the 21st century? • No, there is no longer a need for this kind of protection, so isolation becomes a disadvantage • Yes, 21st century cities depend (among other things) on tourism money, and Mont Saint-Michel is a prime tourist destination • Isolation has gone from being essential to being an inconvenience to being an amenity, … • Site characteristics are evaluated differently in different periods of a culture’s evolution

  7. This “defensive” city is invaded by some 3,000,000 tourists annually! Carcassonne, France

  8. Sites favoring commerce

  9. Situation is defined by a city’s place in the urban system

  10. Different interpretations of Manhattan’s site  1764 1807 

  11. Pittsburgh, “the point” Originally a defensive site, but perfect for river-based commerce and later for industry … Allegheny River Monongahela River Ohio River

  12. The U.S. urban system,1800(pre-railway) Don Meinig Atlantic America, 1492-1800

  13. Chicago’s site In the mid 19th century Chicago vied with St. Louis for the role of the leading city in the “West” Why Chicago? Why St. Louis? Print from Don Meinig, Continental America, 1800-1867 (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1993)

  14. Chicago’s situation • Given a certain technological system (a culture complex consisting of artifacts, sociofacts & mentifacts) • And given a certain landscape • Chicago’s site predisposed it to be dominant within the urban system • Entrepreneurs and investors took advantage of its site (some made money and some lost it) to turn this city into the leading city of the Midwest

  15. Chicago’s situation The rail lines created a pattern… west of Chicago they formed radial lines, like a funnel (W. to E.) or a sprinkler (E. to W.) east of Chicago they formed a “trunk” to New York

  16. Dizzying time-space compression

  17. Shipping rates were held in check by competition between water and rails

  18. Chicago’s role was as coordinator of north-south and east-west flows lumber traveled from north to south hardware had to be directed from east to west

  19. Chicago’s regional dominance was indicated by its debts in the recession of 1873-74 Compare to Peoria

  20. What are the important site/situation factors today? • Amenities • Factors that make a place appealing to prospective inhabitants • Connectivity • To investment capital • To educated workforce • To communication technologies such as internet and wireless services

  21. Austin, TX and Boulder, CO What amenities do these cities have to offer?

  22. Vancouver, BC

  23. Amenities • Recreation • Arts and culture • Scenery • Climate • History • All can be overlooked or drawn to people’s attention • Cities increasingly market themselves for businesses as a “great place to live,” hoping business executives will in turn believe they can use the location to attract employees

  24. Connectivity • An Atlas of CyberspacesMartin Dodge & Rob Kitchin • • Global and World Cities study group and network •

  25. Just for fun…

  26. World Cities of Various Ranks J.V. Beaverstock, R.G. Smith and P.J. Taylor: A Roster of World Cities

  27. World Cities • Maintain an economic hinterland that reaches beyond the borders of the state • Act as control points for international flows of capital and information • Attract headquarters of transnational corporations and producer services companies • Attract a wide range of workers from recent immigrants to corporate executives, corporate lawyers, and major investors and real estate developers, leading to the most extreme income gaps in the world • Top tier: New York, London, Tokyo • Second tier: Chicago, L.A., Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Singapore, Hong Kong • Third tier: too many to list, see GaWC website

  28. SUMMARY • Site and situation work together • At a given point in history, within a particular culture, a certain site may be perceived as advantageous or disadvantageous • It may present a threat or an opportunity • Part of this judgment relates to the potential of a city to interact with other cities (its situation) • Situation changes over time due to changes in technologies of transportation and communication • Site changes much less, but again technology can rework a site to make it more accessible, easier to build on, more profitable, etc.