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Module No. 1: Understanding the Theoretical Perspectives of Technology and Urbanization

Question:

Write an essay on Technology and Urbanization.

The rapid and quick evolution of industrialization and technologies has greatly affected the transformation of urban areas and the lifestyle of individuals living in cities. In the modules provided, the course director named Lewis explains important and interesting key ideas that provide important and necessary information about the relationship which exists between the technology and urbanization. Thus, in Module No 1, Lewis had highlighted to have a good understanding of the theoretical perspectives of technology and urbanization and has explained technological determinism, SCOT, Dystopianism and Utopianism. Thus, Lewis argues that the manner in which an individual judges the society and the community in which he lives can be of four different types. The first perspective which an individual could have is to consider that technology is the innovation which has directly influenced urbanization. The second perceptive which an individual could have is to consider technology as a social action which structures urbanization or one which shows that all technologies process are a solution or a remedy of primitive problems and issues in urban areas or an individual could have a completely capitalistic attitude concerning technology and urbanization.

However, the perception which I consider to be most suitable is Dystopianism. Lewis in his Module 1 has stated that in the modern era, technological innovation are no more considered as a factor which has brought about urban change. Additionally, technology is no more considered to be an innovative solution or a remedy to primitive issues faced by urban man. However, in the modern era, the primary object of technology or its innovation is just to make money and a capitalist view is adopted towards technology and urbanization. In my opinion, the dystopian view of Lewis is very practical and real and I completely agree to the said view. In the Module No. 1 when Lewis describes cities, he clearly mentions that a similarity between all cities is that they participate in many economic activities (Fulekar, 2012). Thus, I strongly believe that this perception by Lewis on technology is very real and my reason to believe the same is because it has been very evident in the past. It is clear in the history of many urban areas which have welcomed technological changes due to the companies and business corporations in their vicinity, which earned huge profits after technological innovations and changes. It is evident that business is the driving force and the primary reason for expansion, and thus, money is the only objective and the resource which helps in exploiting natural resources that eventually create new and innovative technologies or improve the existing technologies (Chourabi et al., 2012).

In Module 2, Lewis discusses about industrial revolution which was a result of many technological changes and innovations. Industrial Revolution was a long process which brought changes in old methods of trade and created new manufacturing units. Lewis stated that movement of individuals from their homes in search for work had started the process of industrial revolution which eventually resulted in urbanization. The movement of individuals to places which had industries gave birth to cities which were called “urban areas” and process of urbanization was initiated. Thus, the industrial revolution was a result of this urbanization process to begin (Wang, Zhuang & Hong, 2012). However, Lewis state that the said process of industrialization did not happen over night and was a result of series of technological changes and innovations which took over a period of many years.

Module No. 2: The Three Vital Technological Innovations or Elements That Resulted in Industrial Revolution

However, in Module 2, Lewis points out three vital technological innovations or elements which resulted into industrial revolution. These three elements or innovations were disrobed to be power, communication and transportation. In my opinion, I strongly believe that the above mentioned innovations were the reason of vital change and development in industrial revolution. I completely agree with Lewis’s evaluation that technological developments in power, communication and transport changed the way trade was conducted (Kumar & Kober, 2012). It is evident in history that initially animal power were used in agriculture and other trade related activities which was soon replaced by wind and water which eventually was changed with the innovation of steam power by the use of burning coal. I strongly believe that the innovation of steam with burning coal increased many industries and resulted in movement of individuals creating urbanization (Davis, 2011). Additionally, communication resulted in increasing trade relations between industries from different states and eventually different countries as long distance communication became possible instantly with the innovation of telephone. I strongly believe that industries took the risk to deal with different traders across states and borders only after the innovation of phone as it gave them security minimize the risk of loss. Eventually, with the innovation of trains and cars, which initially used steam by burning coal, the industrial revolution went to the next level creating more movement of individuals which created the concept of cities and urbanization (Yang et al., 2012).

In Module 3, Lewis has set out important and vital points which state the consequences of industrial revolution. The primary and most evident result of industrial revolution was the process of urbanization. In the Module 3, Lewis describes how urbanization took place forming the cities in which many individuals live today. Lewis states that as many individuals started travelling to urban areas for working in industries, a shift of population resulted in crowding the urban areas and as a solution the sky scrapper was created (Dhakal, 2010). A very tall multistory building is called a sky scrapper which is found in most cities in the present times, however, the concept was created to settle the moving masses to urban cities. However, the technological innovation played an important role in building of sky scrapers and of course the core element to built it which was steel. I completely agree with Lewis that the idea to built sky scrapper was a great innovation as the cities were getting larger and with the innovation of communication and transport, the interaction between individuals living away was getting easier. Thus, I strongly believe the sky scraper was built for a great reason, however, I strongly support that steel and technology in production of steel at lower process has helped a lot in achieving many goals of urbanization like sky scrapers, flyovers, bridges and by pass roads. Thus, the innovation of sky scraper was possible just because technology had made possible to use steel in sky scraper which gave it enough strength and flexibility even when the floor area occupied was nominal. However, with a tall building which was multistory, another innovation was evident to use the last top floors of the sky scraper which was an elevator Florida, Mellander & Stolarick, 2010). This is obvious that in a building of 20 floors, using staircase is senseless, thus, the elevator was introduced which was again an innovation that helped industrial revolution as well as urbanization (Shackel, 2011). Thus, I strongly believe that technological innovations and changed brought about a series of changes in the urban areas and created a world where nothing seems impossible. I strongly believe that the innovation of one technology was the source of another innovation which ultimately brought about many positive and helpful changes that we presently observe in the modern times. The innovation of steel and its production or processing created sky scrapers, elevators and helped to take urbanization to the very next level (Hoornweg, Sugar & Gomez, 2011).

Module No. 3: The Consequences of Industrial Revolution, Including Urbanization and Skyscrapers

After the introduction of sky scraper, in Module No. 4, Lewis discusses the concept of modern city and the most perfectly planned community by Levittown. In the Module No. 4, Lewis has tried to discuss points that highlight the consequences of growth in technology and the process that took place to from the cities in which we live today. Lewis stated that with the innovation in technology over a period of many years created densely populated multifunctional business centers called as central business districts (also known as CBD’s) in the modern cities. Thus, the innovations in technology brought drastic changes in how an individual lived, worked, communicated and traveled within the central business districts and also outside the city areas (Shou-wei & Zhong-bao, 2010). Thus, Lewis states that the concept of suburban sprawl was introduced as result of industrial revolution along with urbanization. Suburban sprawl is defined to mean an expansion of population moving away from the central city areas into areas which have lesser density and are assessable by cars called as car-dependent communities. The entire process of suburban sprawl is under the concept of suburbanization which refers to create a suburban which is different from the central business districts in a city. In my opinion, the idea of having a community separate from the main area is very practical and I totally agree with the concept of suburbanization (Dybbroe, Dahl & Müller-Wille, 2010). Most of the times, the area about the central business districts are very expensive to live in or rent, thus the individuals who arrive in the city looking for jobs and opportunities usually prefer the areas which are a little distinct from main business centre districts as these areas are cheaper however, not far enough to not be able to travel regularly.  Therefore, I strongly believe that with growth in urbanization, the process of suburbanization is very important to create reasonable homes for individuals who come to urban areas to work and to build their future. The process of suburbanization however is possible with the technology of transportation as travelling to business centre districts can be carried out regularly with the help of a car or public transport (Salim & Shafiei, 2014).

Lastly, in the last module by Lewis, he discusses an important topic which is of great value in the present times. This topic is globalization. Lewis, in his last module clearly states that it was soon that the countries in the world realized that the natural resources which they use to create certain innovations or which are required for the innovations to run like oil, gas, etc are limited in nature and with increased urbanization, most of the natural resources are been used much faster and quickly than expected (Madsen, 2014). Thus, the concept of globalization was adopted to responsibly use the natural resources available in the world. I strongly agree that the growth in technology and urbanization can lead to mis-use or over use of many natural resources like oil, water, gas, etc. With urbanization, the number of cars increases or with the prosperity in life, an individual chooses to have 4 different cars for his personal use, these factors accelerate the misuse or over use of natural resources. Thus, I strongly recommend that not just nations at large but every individual on personal a scale should help in the process of globalization. Globalization is a term which is used to describe a process where companies all around the world develop international relations and initiative to operate and work in an international scale. With the vast innovations in the telecommunication industry and with the invention of cell phones, internet, email and fax machine, the world has got small which increased the movement of individuals resulting in economic hardships of less developed nations. I completely agree with the fact that globalization has resulted in increasing the gap between poor and rich especially in the developing countries. And although globalization is the needs of an hour, it should be carried out with great responsibility keeping the interest of all nations’ uniform in nature (Gu et al., 2011).

Lewis in all his Modules tries to develop the relationship between technology and urbanization and tries to state all the factors and reasons how technological innovations resulted in industrial revolution which eventually helped in urbanization. Lewis has also state d how the process of urbanization used technology and its innovation to grow and become what it is today. However, the process of urbanization requires careful responsibility of not over exhausted natural resources which are essential for many technological innovations (Al-Kodmany, 2011). Thus, it is clear that technology has a great impact on urbanization in every aspect like movement of individuals creates social urbanization, with population increasing in urban areas, the demand for land and resources increased in cities making them expensive which results in economic hike, the cities which are run by political authority try to make laws to determine the structuring and planning a city created political urbanization. Thus, technology is the reason which helped in growth of industrial revolution which created urban areas called cities.

Reference List

Al-Kodmany, K. (2011). Tall buildings, design, and technology: Visions for the twenty-first century city. Journal of Urban Technology18(3), 115-140.

Chourabi, H., Nam, T., Walker, S., Gil-Garcia, J. R., Mellouli, S., Nahon, K., ... & Scholl, H. J. (2012, January). Understanding smart cities: An integrative framework. In System Science (HICSS), 2012 45th Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 2289-2297). IEEE.

Davis, K. (2011). The urbanization of the human population. The City Reader, 20.

Dhakal, S. (2010). GHG emissions from urbanization and opportunities for urban carbon mitigation. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability,2(4), 277-283.

Dybbroe, S., Dahl, J., & Müller-Wille, L. (2010). Dynamics of Arctic urbanization. Acta Borealia27(2), 120-124.

Florida, R., Mellander, C., & Stolarick, K. M. (2010). Talent, technology and tolerance in Canadian regional development. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien54(3), 277-304.

Fulekar, M. H. (Ed.). (2012). Bioremediation technology: recent advances. Springer Science & Business Media.

Gu, B., Zhu, Y., Chang, J., Peng, C., Liu, D., Min, Y., ... & Ge, Y. (2011). The role of technology and policy in mitigating regional nitrogen pollution.Environmental Research Letters6(1), 014011.

Hoornweg, D., Sugar, L., & Gomez, C. L. T. (2011). Cities and greenhouse gas emissions: moving forward. Environment and Urbanization, 0956247810392270.

Kumar, A., & Kober, B. (2012). Urbanization, human capital, and cross-country productivity differences. Economics Letters117(1), 14-17.

Madsen, J. B. (2014). Human capital and the world technology frontier.Review of Economics and Statistics96(4), 676-692.

Salim, R. A., & Shafiei, S. (2014). Urbanization and renewable and non-renewable energy consumption in OECD countries: An empirical analysis.Economic Modelling38, 581-591.

Shackel, R. (2011). The impact of urbanization on the child’s right to play.My Name is Today, Special Issue: Children’s Right to Play, Butterflies Advocacy & Research Centre.

Shou-wei, Z. S. F. Q., & Zhong-bao, L. U. (2010). Region Difference, Urbanization and Urban-rural Income Gap [J]. China Population, Resources and Environment8, 022.

Wang, H., He, Q., Liu, X., Zhuang, Y., & Hong, S. (2012). Global urbanization research from 1991 to 2009: A systematic research review.Landscape and Urban Planning104(3), 299-309.

Yang, J. S., Chung, E. S., Kim, S. U., & Kim, T. W. (2012). Prioritization of water management under climate change and urbanization using multi-criteria decision making methods. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences,16(3), 801-814.

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