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Urban Evolution

Urban Evolution

Credit: Conway Yao
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dielotr/3430705308
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Human evolution over the past 10,000 years has been to increase urbanization. Cities like Chicago are tremendously complex networks. Food and other resources are brought in. Wastes and pollutants are shipped out.

Why It Matters

Credit: Rcragun
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Percentage_of_Population_Living_in_urban_areas_1950-2050.png
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Trends in global urbanization - UN World Urbanization Prospects (2007) [Figure2]

  • Early humans were hunters and gatherers. They moved in search of food.
  • When agriculture was developed, people could gather in villages.
  • As techniques improved, fewer farmers were needed to feed people. This meant that people were available to learn crafts and trades.
  • The Romans Empire was built on a tremendous infrastructure. The Romans were able to colonize the world like no one before them or for a long time after them.
  • The advances that came with the Industrial Revolution, such as sanitation, roads, police, allowed cities to grow again.
  • Predictions for the future are for 10 billion people, most of whom will live in cities in poor countries.

Show What You Know

With the link below, learn more about urban evolution. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What was needed before humans could create permanent settlements?
  2. What was needed for there to be well-developed trade networks?
  3. Why were cities 2,000 years ago more densely populated than cities today?
  4. How can cities provide food and power for a global population of 10 billion?
  5. Why might smaller cities be more sustainable than megacities?

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