Ancient and Modern Cities

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course will trace the development of cities and urban centers from the Ancient Period through the present era.  We will examine how political, economic, and social institutions influenced the structure of urban centers and shaped the built environment in cities across the world.  In turn, we will analyze how the structure and design of cities influenced the development of civic institutions.

The course will be structured chronologically.  Each unit will include representative primary-source documents that illustrate important overarching themes, such as the origins of cities in the Near and Far East, the development of complex urban environments in ancient Greece and Rome, the influence of religion and trade on city growth in the Medieval Period, the impact of the Industrial Revolution on urban centers in Western Europe and the United States, and the changing face of the city in the Post-Industrial Era.  By the end of the course, you will understand how cities have developed over the past six millennia and better appreciate the dynamic relationship between geography, political and social institutions, and the built environment.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Think critically about the development of cities and urban centers from the Ancient Period to the present era.
  • Identify and describe the origins and features of cities in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Central Asia, and the Far East.
  • Identify and describe the Greek city-state and the evolution of the “polis.”
  • Identify and describe the city planning and design that characterized the Roman Republic and Empire.
  • Identify and describe the emergence of Islamic cities in Africa and the Middle East, the rise of urban centers in China and Japan, and the sophisticated cities of the Aztec peoples in the Americas.
  • Identify and describe the indigenous and Roman influences of medieval European cities as well as analyze the cultural impact that these urban centers had.
  • Identify and describe the characteristics of the Baroque city and analyze the differences between the Renaissance city and the medieval city. Students will also be able to describe the emergence of colonial cities in the Americas and Asia.
  • Identify and describe the impact that the Industrial Revolution had on European cities and will be able to define the characteristics of an industrial city.
  • Identify and describe the origins and characteristics of the post-industrial city.
  • Identify and analyze the causes of the “urban renaissance” and describe the movement’s successes and pitfalls.
  • Analyze and interpret primary source documents from the ancient world to the present using historical research methods.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course you must:
 
√    Have access to a computer.
 
√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.
 
√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
 
√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
 
√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
 
√    Be competent in the English language.
     
√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Unit Outline show close

  • 0.1 Pre-Unit Review

  • Expand All Resources Collapse All Resources
    • Pre-Unit Review  

       

      Unit 0.1 Time Advisory   show close
    • Unit 1: Ancient Cities of the East and West  

      Inhabitants of the Middle East founded the first cities between 6000-4000 BCE.  Small villages situated along navigable rivers and overland trade routes gradually evolved into larger urban centers as commercial markets and religious institutions attracted permanent populations.  Residents constructed walls to defend their communities against marauders and ruling classes eventually began to construct monumental religious and civil structures in the new cities.   Most ancient cities show little evidence of planning.  Narrow streets and open sewers were common urban features.  Poor sanitation led to periodic disease outbreaks; many cities were dangerous and unhealthy places to live.  Nevertheless, cities provided economic, political, and social opportunities that were absent from rural life.  In this unit, we will examine the origins of ancient cities in the Middle East and Asia.  We will compare and contrast the development of these urban communities and consider the place of these cities in their respective civilizations.

      Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 1.1 Origins and Development of Ancient Cities (6000-4000 BCE)  
    • 1.1.1 From Villages to Cities  
    • 1.1.2 Agriculture  
    • 1.1.3 Trade and Commerce  
    • 1.1.4 Population Growth  
    • 1.1.5 Common Defense  
    • 1.1.6 Ruling Classes  
    • 1.1.7 Religious Factors  
    • 1.1.8 Civic Institutions  
    • 1.1.9 Monumental Building Construction and Urban Planning  
    • 1.1.10 Construction Technology  
    • 1.2 Mesopotamia (ca. 4000 BCE)  
      • Reading: Wikibooks’ Ancient History: “Ancient History/Ancient Near East/Mesopotamia/Sumer”

        Link: Wikibooks’ Ancient History: Ancient History/Ancient Near East/Mesopotamia/Sumer” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage to better understand the rise of the ancient culture of Sumer, an innovator when it came to building cities.  Note that this is the first of a series of resources that will cover subunits 1.2.1-1.2.7.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Reading: AbleOne Education Network Classics Technology Center: “Mesopotamia”

        Link: AbleOne Education Network Classics Technology Center: Mesopotamia (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage to better understand the layout and structure of Mesopotamian cities.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by AbleMedia as part of its AbleOne Education Network, “an online educational resource for millions of educators and students at the K-12 and post secondary levels around the globe.  For seven years, AbleOne has used the Internet to provide quality teaching and learning materials to its rapidly growing corps of dedicated users worldwide.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 3, “Mesopotamia”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 3, “Mesopotamia” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to better understand the various Mesopotamian societies and cultures.   Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.  This source presents an overview of Sumerian culture and addresses the cultural issues described in the subunits below.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Lecture: Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology: Dr. Richard Zettler’s “Ur of the Chaldees”

        Link: Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology: Dr. Richard Zettler’s “Ur of the Chaldees” (Quicktime)
         
        Instructions: Please watch Dr. Richard Zettler’s entire 70-minute lecture to gain a better understanding of archeological discoveries at Ur and the structure of Sumerian cities.  This source provides examples of the characteristics of Sumerian cities described in the following subunits.
         
        About the link: This website hosts free lectures from the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, one of the oldest and most respected museums of this type in the United States.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

    • 1.2.1 Tigris-Euphrates River Valley  
    • 1.2.2 Walled Cities, Narrow Streets, Little Planning  
    • 1.2.3 Monumental Buildings—Ziggurats  
      • Reading: Wikipedia: “Ziggurats”

        Link: Wikipedia:Ziggurat” (PDF)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview of the ziggurat, religious structures in ancient Sumeria.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikipedia’s users as an open educational resource; it has not been peer-reviewed, so please bear that in mind when using Wikipedia.
         
        Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

    • 1.2.4 Dried or Fired-Brick Construction  
    • 1.2.5 Agriculture and Trade Economy  
    • 1.2.6 Economically Stratified—Elites Lived in Center of City, Poor at Periphery  
    • 1.2.7 Poor Sanitation, Disease, Famine  
    • 1.3 Egypt (ca. 3300 BCE)  
      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 2, “The Ancient Egyptians”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 2, “The Ancient Egyptians” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to better understand the birth and evolution of Egyptian society. After clicking the hyperlink, a new webpage should open.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right; this will open another box that will display the lecture.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Lecture: Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology: Dr. Joseph Wegner’s “Built of Memory and Hope: The Sacred City of Abydos, Egypt”

        Link: Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology: Dr. Joseph Wegner’s “Built of Memory and Hope: The Sacred City of Abydos, Egypt” (YouTube)
         
        Also available in:
         
        iTunes U
         
        Instructions: Please watch Dr. Joseph Wegner’s entire 75-minute lecture to gain a better understanding of the relationship between religious culture and urban life in ancient Egypt and the structure of Egyptian cities.  This source provides examples of the characteristics of Sumerian cities described in the following subunits.
         
        About the link: This podcast was uploaded to YouTube by the Penn Museum of Anthropology and Archeology, which is one of the best known a respected museums of this type in the United States.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 1.3.1 Dried or Fired-Brick Construction  
    • 1.3.2 Monumental Buildings—Temples  
      • Web Media: PBSVideo: Empires: Secrets of the Lost Empire, “Pharaoh’s Obelisk”

        Link: PBSVideo: Empires: Secrets of the Lost Empire, “Pharaoh's Obelisk” (YouTube)
         
        Instructions: Please watch the entire 55-minute program to better understand Egyptian construction and design techniques for religious and public buildings.
         
        About the link: This website hosts past programs from various PBS series.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

    • 1.4 Central Asia (ca. 2500 BCE)  
      • Reading: Wikipedia: “Harappa”

        Link: Wikipedia:Harappa” (PDF)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview of the Harappa, an important archeological site in current day Pakistan.  This source will cover subunits 1.4.1-1.4.6.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikipedia’s users as an open educational resource; it has not been peer-reviewed, so please bear that in mind when using Wikipedia.
         
        Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

    • 1.4.1 Harappa Civilization of Indus River Valley in Pakistan  
    • 1.4.2 Agriculture, Trade, and Metal Production  
    • 1.4.3 Gridiron Street Plan  
    • 1.4.4 Multi-Story Brick Construction  
    • 1.4.5 Designated Districts for Economic, Religious, and Social Activities  
    • 1.4.6 Sewer Systems and Trash Collection  
    • 1.5 Far East (ca. 2000-1500 BCE)  
    • 1.5.1 Yellow River Urban Settlements in China  
    • 1.5.2 Agriculture, Trade, and Metal Production  
    • 1.5.3 Irrigation Canals  
    • 1.5.4 Economically Stratified  
    • 1.5.5 Limited City Planning  
    • Unit 2: Greek City States - The Polis  

      Between 2000 and 1100 BCE, planned cities began to appear in the Mediterranean Basin.  On the island of Crete, the Minoan Civilization built sophisticated cities with sewer and water systems and radial street layouts.  These cities also possessed monumental temples and civic structures for the ruling classes.  During the Archaic Period (around 800 BCE), mainland Greeks began to develop what became known as the Polis, or city-state.  Urban residents overthrew royal families and established self-governing, democratic communities. 

      Greek city-states were organized functionally.  They typically possessed a central public space known as the agora, which was used for both commercial and civic activities.  Outside the agora, temples and shrines occupied sites of religious importance.  The Greeks also included spaces for recreational activities in their cities.  During the Classical Epoch (around 400 BCE), Greek city planning reached it zenith under Hippodamius of Miletos.  Hippodamius, a Greek architect, developed a gridiron street plan for new cities that incorporated wide city streets, an open city center, and clearly defined zones for public, private, and sacred activities.  Hippodamius was responsible for designing numerous Greek colonies around the Eastern Mediterranean Basin.  In this unit, we will examine the origins of the Greek Polis and look at how urban design and planning evolved from the Archaic Period to the Classical Epoch.  We will also look at Greek approaches to urban architecture and examine how their communities reflected their economic, social, and cultural institutions and values.

      Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 2.1 Minoan and Mycenaean Cities (ca. 2000-1100 BCE)  
    • 2.1.1 Agriculture and Trade Economy  
    • 2.1.2 Urban Design and Planning—Streets Radiated From City Center  
    • 2.1.3 City Districts Equidistant From City Center  
    • 2.1.4 Stone and Mud-Brick Construction  
    • 2.1.5 Sewer and Water Systems  
    • 2.1.6 Monumental Buildings-Palaces and Temples  
    • 2.2 Evolution of the Polis in the Archaic Period (ca. 800 BCE)  
      • Reading: Wikipedia: “Archaic Greece”

        Link: Wikipedia:Archaic Greece” (PDF)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview of Greece’s Archaic Period.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikipedia’s users as an open educational resource; it has not been peer-reviewed, so please bear that in mind when using Wikipedia.
         
        Terms of Use: Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

    • 2.2.1 The Agora—Central Location for Public Political and Economic Activities  
    • 2.2.2 The Acropolis-Center for Public Religious Activities  
      • Reading: Wikipedia: “Parthenon”

        Link: Wikipedia:Parthenon” (PDF)

        Also available in:
        iBook
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview of the Parthenon, the most important surviving example of Greek religious architecture.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikipedia’s users as an open educational resource; it has not been peer-reviewed, so please bear that in mind when using Wikipedia.
         
        Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

      • Web Media: NOVA, “Parthenon”

        Link: NOVA, “Parthenon” (YouTube)
         
        Instructions: Please watch the entire 53-minute program to better understand not only Greek architecture but also the methods by which archeologists and historians recover and interpret the past.  This source also contains information about the subunits that follow.
         
        About the link: This website hosts past programs from various PBS series including NOVA.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 2.2.3 Domestic Spaces  
    • 2.2.4 Recreational Spaces  
    • 2.3 The Polis in the Classical Epoch (ca. 400 BCE)  
    • 2.3.1 City Planning—The Hippodamian Plan  
    • 2.3.2 Gridiron Street Plan  
    • 2.3.3 Designated Urban Zoning—Public, Private, and Sacred  
    • 2.3.4 Wide Streets, Open City Center  
    • 2.3.5 Two-Story Houses Along Square Blocks  
    • 2.3.6 Temple Construction  
    • Unit 3: Roman Cities - The Urbs  

      Roman cities were the backbone of the Roman Empire.  Between 400 BCE and 400 CE, Romans perfected the art of city planning and construction.  While early Roman communities such as Rome evolved organically, later Roman cities located throughout the Mediterranean Basin and Europe reflected uniform planning principles.  The Roman Urbs, or city, was based on a gridiron street plan with regular city blocks.  Romans designed their cities to promote common defense and emphasize civic unity.  Like the Greek agora, the Roman forum was a location for political and economic life in the center of every Roman community.  Several important buildings bordered the forum, including the capitol, which functioned as the principal temple of the city, and the basilica, which was the center of local and national legislation.  Other important sites in Roman cities included public baths, the theatre, the amphitheatre (the site of gladiatorial contests), and the stadium (the arena for horse and chariot racing).  In this unit, we will study the urban planning techniques of the Romans, examine the changing nature of Roman cities under the Roman Republic and Empire, and consider the impact that Roman urban planning has had on other cultures.

      Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 3.1 City Planning in Ancient Rome (ca. 400 BCE-400 CE)  
    • 3.1.1 From Organic to Planned Cities  
    • 3.1.2 Functional City Plan—Designed for Defense and Civil Organization  
    • 3.1.3 Forum—Central Location for Public Political and Economic Activities  
      • Reading: University of Pennsylvania: David Gilman Romano, “The Corinth Computer Project”

        Link: University of Pennsylvania: David Gilman Romano: “The Corinth Computer Project” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please follow the link “Greek and Roman Corinth,” and read all seven subsections (“Greek City, pre-146 BC,” “Roman History,” 146-44BC,” “44BC,” “AD70s,” “Roman Forum, AD 150,” and “Grid Plan”), which will address many of the points raised in this outline.
         
        About the link: This webpage was developed by the University of Pennsylvania as an open educational resource.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 3.1.4 Temples  
    • 3.1.5 Gridiron Street Plan with Two Diagonal Cross-Streets  
    • 3.1.6 Walled Cities  
    • 3.1.7 Regular City Blocks  
    • 3.1.8 Stone and Brick Construction  
    • 3.1.9 Recreational Spaces  
      • Web Media: PBSVideo: Empires: Secrets of the Lost Empire, “Roman Baths”

        Link: PBSVideo: Empires: Secrets of the Lost Empire, “Roman Baths” (YouTube)
         
        Instructions: Please watch the entire 55-minute program to better understand Roman urban culture and recreational spaces.
         
        About the link: This website hosts past programs from various PBS series.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 3.1.10 High Urbanization Rates in Roman Empire  
    • 3.2 The City of Rome Under the Republic and Empire  
    • 3.2.1 The Evolution of Rome  
    • 3.2.2 City Structure  
    • 3.2.3 The Roman Forum  
    • 3.2.4 Dense Urban Population—Approximately one million residents at peak  
    • 3.2.5 Use of Apartment Buildings  
    • 3.2.6 Sewer and Water Systems  
    • 3.2.7 Economically Stratified  
    • 3.2.8 Recreational Spaces  
    • 3.2.9 Domestic Spaces  
    • 3.2.10 Religious Spaces  
    • 3.2.11 Monumental Architecture of Rome  
    • 3.3 Roman Architectural and Planning Influence and Heritage  
    • 3.3.1 Roman Colonization of Mediterranean Basin and Northwest Europe  
    • 3.3.2 Uniformity of Roman Design and Planning  
    • 3.3.3 Conquest of Roman Empire and Spread of Roman Influence  
    • 3.3.4 The Catholic Church and Roman Architectural Preservation  
    • Unit 4: Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas  

      Cities formed the focal points of the civilizations that emerged in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, though their respective urban centers were quite different from one another.  In the Middle East and in parts of Africa, Islam often shaped the evolution of cities: urban communities were centered on the mosque, and all elements of the Islamic city were influenced by religious principles.  Domes and large courtyards conveyed the power of Islam; concealed gardens and courtyards displayed inner beauty and art. 
                 
      In Asia, city-building was primarily linked to state-building.  Under the Ming dynasty and in postclassical Japan, the development of urban centers—many of them walled—was consonant with an increasingly powerful bureaucratic state.  And as the Silk Road opened commerce between the West and the Far East, urban centers emerged along these important trade routes and became points of intersection for peoples of myriad cultures.

                 
      In the Americas, the Aztec Empire was defined by its great cities.  The Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, was a wellspring of Aztec culture.  Built upon a symmetrical layout, the city was divided into four parts (or campans) that surrounded the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, which lay at the city’s center.  Advanced urban planning techniques proved to be a hallmark of the Aztec civilization.

                 
      In this unit, we will study the centrality of Islam in Muslim cities, the role of the state in the construction of Chinese and Japanese cities, and the urban centers created by the Aztecs in the Americas.

      Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 4.1 Islamic City Planning in Africa and the Middle East (ca. 800-1400 CE)  
      • Web Media: PBS, Islam: Empire of Faith, “The Awakening”

        Link: PBS, Islam: Empire of Faith, “The Awakening” (YouTube)
         
        Instructions: Please view the entire 55-minute program to better understand the structure of Islamic cities and the centrality of urban life to medieval and Renaissance Islamic power.  This source provides general information pertaining to subunits 4.1.1-4.1.7.
          
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 4.1.1 Communities Centered Around Mosques  
    • 4.1.2 Adapted to Suit Environmental Conditions  
    • 4.1.3 Separation of Public and Private Spaces—Narrow Streets and Alleys  
    • 4.1.4 Separation of Male, Female, and Family Spaces  
    • 4.1.5 Separation of Economic Spaces from Religious and Private Spaces  
    • 4.1.6 Sharia Law and City Planning  
      • Reading: Sharia Law and City Planning

         

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

    • 4.1.7 Kinship Settlement Patterns  
    • 4.2 Cities in Asia  
    • 4.2.1 Chinese Urbanization Under Ming Dynasty (ca. 1300-1600 CE)  
    • 4.2.2 Regional Trade and Urban Growth  
    • 4.2.3 Cities in Japan  
    • 4.2.4 Trade Cities Along the Silk Road  
    • 4.3 The Aztecs and Tenochtitlan (ca. 1300-1500 CE)  
    • 4.3.1 Seat of Aztec Empire in Central Mexico  
    • 4.3.2 City Planning  
    • 4.3.3 Separation of Public, Private, and Religious Spaces  
    • 4.3.4 City Services  
    • 4.3.5 Large Population: Approximately 200,000 Inhabitants  
    • 4.3.6 Larger and Better Planned Than Most Contemporary European Cities  
    • Unit 5: Medieval European Cities  

      Medieval European cities had both indigenous and Roman roots.  The Romans had constructed many urban centers across Europe, and these cities continued to thrive even after the fall of Rome.  Medieval cities such as Arles, France and Verona, Italy were characterized by Roman street patterns and classic Roman structures (like stone walls, gates, and buildings).  In many medieval towns, Roman stone structures were repurposed; many basilicas and temples became churches, for example.  Other medieval cities, by contrast, had no Roman origins whatsoever.  These new urban areas were trading centers and markets that connected far-flung European regions in a vast commercial network.
                 
      Most European urban centers originated in the eleventh century for three reasons: an increased food supply, a growth in population, and an expansion in trade.  The growth of cities created a merchant and artisan class that remained separate from the feudal system.  Merchant and craft guilds emerged and were governed by the market, not by feudal lords.  Religious and intellectual life thrived in medieval cities, allowing for a degree of autonomy and self-government that was absent from rural areas.

                 
      In this unit, we will first consider the origins of the medieval European city.  We will then study the creation of local religious orders, craft guilds, and merchant associations within these cities.  Finally, we will examine the political, legal, religious, and social elements of medieval urban culture.

      Unit 5 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 5 Learning Outcomes   show close
      • Reading: Wikibooks’ European History: “The Crises of the Middle Ages”

        Link: Wikibooks’ European History: The Crises of the Middle Ages” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage for an introduction to the crises of the Middle Ages and the changes in European society following the collapse of the Roman Empire.  This source provides general historical background so that you better understand the more specific materials that follow.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 22, “Cities and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 10, “Cities and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to better understand the urban life and planning in medieval Europe.  This source contains specific information about the subunits that follow.  After clicking the hyperlink, a new webpage should open.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Reading: University of Oregon: John Nicols’ Western Civilization: “State and the City in the High Middle Ages”

        Link: University of Oregon: John Nicols’ Western Civilization: “State and the City in the High Middle Ages” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage for an introduction to urban life during the high Middle Ages.  This source contains specific information about the subunits that follow.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by John Nicols as a resource for his Western Civilization class.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

      • Reading: Boise State University: E.L. Skip Knox’s Western Civilization: “Medieval Society”

        Link: Boise State University: E.L. Skip Knox’s Western Civilization: Medieval Society” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage for more information about urban life during the high Middle Ages.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Professor E.L. Skip Knox as a resource for his Western Civilization class.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 5.1 Return of the Organic City (ca. 800-1400 CE)  
    • 5.1.1 Roman Architectural and Planning Legacy in Italy and Europe  
    • 5.1.2 Little Centralized Planning  
    • 5.1.3 Cities Centered on Defensible Locations Such as Fortresses  
    • 5.1.4 Legal and Political Influences  
    • 5.1.5 Religious Influences  
    • 5.1.6 Reorientation of Older Cities  
    • 5.2 Local Institutions  
    • 5.2.1 Religious Orders  
    • 5.2.2 Crafts Guilds  
    • 5.2.3 Noble Families  
    • 5.2.4 Universities  
    • 5.2.5 Royal Administrators  
    • 5.3 Political and Legal Rights and Privileges in Medieval Europe  
    • 5.3.1 Town Charters  
    • 5.3.2 Self-Government  
    • 5.3.3 Relation of Cities to Kingdoms  
    • 5.3.4 The Medieval Commune  
      • Reading: The Medieval Commune

         

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

    • 5.4 Urban Life  
    • 5.4.1 Public Health and Sanitation  
    • 5.4.2 Disease and Disaster  
      • Reading: Eyewitnesstohistory.com: “The Black Death”

        Link: Eyewitnesstohistory.com: “The Black Death” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage to better understand the Black Death, a catastrophic plague that hit Europe in the 14th century and decimated the continent’s cities.
         
        About the link: This website provides short essays about important historical events supplemented by eyewitness accounts.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 5.4.3 Trade and Commerce  
    • 5.4.4 The Catholic Church and Daily Life  
    • 5.4.5 Class and Urban Structure  
    • Unit 6: The City in the Early - Modern Period  

      By the sixteenth century, the influence of the Renaissance was apparent in cities across Europe.  In contrast to medieval urban planning, many Renaissance cities were designed according to classical Greek and Roman models.  The urban “grid” was re-introduced, and many medieval cities were replaced by a new star-shaped city model that stressed uniformity and improved street layout.  Meanwhile, the Baroque city emerged in Europe at the same time that the power and influence of monarchs was on the rise.  In fact, the Church’s central role in urban layouts was superseded by the new centrality of commercial and government areas.  The rise of the European state and its commerce during the Renaissance period also directly influenced the construction of European colonial cities in the Americas, India, and Asia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  However, these colonial cities boasted highly varied urban designs—some were organic, while others were grid-oriented.  In this unit, we will examine the differences between medieval and Renaissance urban centers.  We will then study the elements of the Baroque city before taking a close look at the colonial cities that were constructed as European outposts in the early modern period.

      Unit 6 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 6 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 6.1 The Renaissance and City Planning (ca. 1500s CE)  
      • Reading: Wikibooks’ European History: “Renaissance Europe”

        Link: Wikibooks’ European History: Renaissance Europe” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the webpage to better understand the Renaissance and its relationship to European urban development.  This source will provide you with the background for the subunits that follow.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 28, “The Rise of the Middle Class”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 28, “The Rise of the Middle Class” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to better understand the connection between reurbanization and the emergence of a middle class in Renaissance Europe.  This source contains information about the subunits that follow.  After clicking the hyperlink, a new webpage should open.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Web Media: PBS, Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, “The Birth of a Dynasty”

        Lecture: PBS, Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance, “The Birth of a Dynasty” (YouTube)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please the entire 55-minute program to gain a better understanding of urban life in Renaissance Italy, which provides a case study of the issues raised in the subunits that follow.
         
        About the link: This program was uploaded to YouTube by PBS.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 6.1.1 Rediscovery of Greek and Roman Architectural and Planning Models  
    • 6.1.2 Return of the Grid Plan  
    • 6.1.3 Restructuring Medieval Cities—The Star Shaped City Model  
    • 6.1.4 Demolition of Medieval Neighborhoods and City Centers  
    • 6.1.5 Improvements in Street Layouts  
    • 6.1.6 Uniformity in Building Construction  
    • 6.1.7 Greater Role of State in City Planning  
    • 6.2 The Baroque City  
    • 6.2.1 Influence of the Catholic Church  
    • 6.2.2 Influence of Powerful Monarchs  
    • 6.2.3 Grand Scale  
    • 6.2.4 Wide Streets and Avenues  
    • 6.2.5 Monumental Architecture  
    • 6.2.6 Redevelopment of Elite Districts  
    • 6.3 The Colonial City  
      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 30, “The Rise of Trading Cities”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 30, “The Rise of Trading Cities” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to better understand the connection between mercantilism, urbanism and Enlightenment values.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 6.3.1 Construction of European Colonial Cities in Americas, India, and Asia in 16 and 17th centuries  
    • 6.3.2 Oriented Towards Commercial Spaces Rather Than Religious or Political Spaces  
    • 6.3.3 Hybrid Designs Reflecting Local and European Influences  
    • Unit 7: The Industrial City  

      The Industrial Revolution had a decisive impact upon European cities.  Indeed, the rise of the factory system was largely responsible for the creation of the modern city.  Vast numbers of workers emigrated from rural areas to cities in search of work in these new factories.  This mass migration was termed “urbanization.”  As a result of urbanization, the need for cheap housing near new factories skyrocketed, creating industrial slums that were often poorly ventilated and plagued by deadly diseases such as cholera.  Urbanization also changed the nature of the family unit and reinforced class divides.  However, in the nineteenth century, many lawmakers responded to the growing crises of urbanization with a variety of solutions.  Often, the solution took the form of the increased involvement of the state: in many cities, the government created sanitation systems, running water, and police forces and worked to improve the overall quality of city life.  However, the success of these reforms was often limited.  Many urban inhabitants abandoned the unsanitary and crowded conditions of cities for new planned developments in outlying areas: the su

      In this unit, we will begin by defining the Industrial Revolution and its impact upon European cities.  We will then examine city planning and administration during the 1800s, as well as the rise of technology and urban expansion.  Finally, we will turn our attention to various proposed solutions to city problems, including urban reforms and the development of suburbs.

      Unit 7 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 7 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 7.1 The Industrial Revolution (ca. 1700s-1800s CE)  
      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 41, “The Industrial Revolution” and lecture 42 “The Industrial World.”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 41, “The Industrial Revolution” (Adobe Flash) and lecture 42, “The Industrial World” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lectures to better understand the emergence of industrial modes of production and how these new methods altered cites.  These lectures describe the issues raised in the subunits that follow.  After clicking the hyperlink, a new webpage should open.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 7.1.1 Growth and Expansion of Existing Factory Districts  
    • 7.1.2 New Power Sources  
    • 7.1.3 New Transportation Options  
    • 7.1.4 Relocation of Factories to Major Cities  
    • 7.1.5 Industrial Slums  
    • 7.1.6 Growth of Central Business Districts  
    • 7.1.7 Immigration  
    • 7.2 City Administration and Planning  
      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 45, “The New Public”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s Western Tradition, Lecture 45, “The New Public” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to better understand the demands of the newly emerging industrial urban middle classes.  This lecture addresses the subunits that follow. After clicking the hyperlink, a new webpage should open.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 46, “Fin de Siècle”

        Link: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s The Western Tradition, Lecture 46, “Fin de Siècle” (Adobe Flash)
         
        Note: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.
         
        Instructions: Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute lecture to better understand the consequences of industrial urbanization for the new working classes.  After clicking the hyperlink, a new webpage should open.  Toggle down to the appropriate lecture and click the box labeled “VoD” on the right – this will open another box that will display the lecture.
         
        About the link: This website an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 7.2.1 Home Rule?  
    • 7.2.2 Representation in Legislative Assemblies  
    • 7.2.3 Zoning Issues  
    • 7.2.4 City Services  
    • 7.3 Technology and City Growth  
    • 7.3.1 Electricity and Artificial Lighting  
    • 7.3.2 Streetcar and Trolley Systems  
    • 7.3.3 Elevators  
    • 7.3.4 Skyscrapers and Building Construction Techniques  
    • 7.4 Urban Problems and Solutions  
    • 7.4.1 Pollution and Sanitation  
    • 7.4.2 Crowding  
    • 7.4.3 Political Machines and Corruption  
    • 7.4.4 Crime and Punishment  
    • 7.4.5 The City Beautiful Movement  
      • Reading: Wikipedia: “Frederick Law Olmstead”

        Link: Wikipedia:Frederick Law Olmstead” (PDF)

        Also available in:
        iBook

        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview Frederick Law Olmstead, important contributor to the “City Beautiful” movement and designer of New York’s Central Park.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikipedia’s users as an open educational resource; it has not been peer-reviewed, so please bear that in mind when using Wikipedia.
         
        Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

    • 7.4.6 Progressive Era Urban Reforms  
      • Reading: Wikibooks’ US History: “Progressive Era”

        Link: Wikibooks’ US History:Progressive Era” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website on various attempts to rebalance the relationship between democracy and capital during the Progressive Era.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • 7.4.7 Urban Recreation  
      • Reading: Urban Recreation

         

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

    • 7.5 The Suburbs  
    • 7.5.1 Growth of Streetcar Suburbs in the 19th Century  
    • 7.5.2 Planned Developments  
    • 7.5.3 The Automobile  
      • Reading: The Automobile

         

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

    • 7.5.4 Suburbs Versus Cities  
    • Unit 8: The Post-Industrial City  

      By the early twentieth century, urban centers were usually comprised of two parts: an inner zone that was mapped onto an old industrial area and an outer zone comprised of suburban developments.  The central business districts were no longer characterized by manufacturing centers.  Instead, administration, finance and information processing had become the focal point of post-industrial cities.
                 
      De-industrialization had a variety of impacts upon cities.  The first was that as manufacturing disappeared from city centers, so too did jobs for the working poor.  As a result, urban slums emerged and the tax base declined, leaving city governments cash-strapped and inadequate.  A crisis emerged in urban centers in the 1970s—crime and unemployment skyrocketed while public and city services failed or declined sharply.  This social and fiscal crisis caused many policymakers to rethink urban development.  Urban planners took on a larger role in city administration and began to discuss ideas for mixed use spaces and sustainable redevelopment in the hopes of meeting the needs of urban residents.

                 
      In this unit, we will examine the origins of the post-industrial city of the twentieth century.  We will focus on how deindustrialization affected the urban environment, both economically and socially.  We will then examine how city officials and urban planners attempted to solve the problem of urban decline.

      Unit 8 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 8 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 8.1 Modernism and Urban Redevelopment (ca. 1950s)  
      • Reading: Wikipedia: “Robert Moses”

        Link: Wikipedia:Robert Moses” (PDF)

        Also available in:
        iBook

        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview Robert Moses, one of the preeminent (and most controversial) urban planners of the 20th century.  This resource covers the subunits below.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikipedia’s users as an open educational resource; it has not been peer-reviewed, so please bear that in mind when using Wikipedia.
         
        Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

      • Reading: Wikipedia: “Jane Jacobs”

        Link: Wikipedia:Jane Jacobs” (PDF)

        Also available in:
        iBook
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview of Jane Jacobs’ career.  Jacobs was a writer who developed a deeply influential perspective on urban planning and was an occasional opponent of Robert Moses’ with regard to Moses’ proposed redevelopment plans. This resource covers the subunits that follow.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed by Wikipedia’s users as an open educational resource; it has not been peer-reviewed, so please bear that in mind when using Wikipedia.
         
        Terms of Use: The Wikipedia article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original version of this article here (HTML).

    • 8.1.1 Slums and the Inner City  
    • 8.1.2 Public Housing Programs  
    • 8.1.3 Declining Tax Base  
    • 8.1.4 Failures of Urban Redevelopment  
    • 8.1.5 Social and Political Consequences  
    • 8.2 Cities in Crisis  
      • Reading: American Heritage.com: “New York City on the Brink”

        Link: American Heritage.com: “New York City on the Brink” (HTML)
         
        Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website for a brief overview New York’s decline in the 1970s.
         
        About the link: This online text was developed American Heritage, a popular magazine dedicated to U.S history. This resource covers the subunits that follow.
         
        Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

        The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

        Submit Materials

    • 8.2.1 Deindustrialization  
    • 8.2.2 Financial Crisis  
    • 8.2.3 Crime  
    • 8.2.4 Failing City Services  
    • 8.3 Rethinking Urban Development  
    • 8.3.1 Mixed Use Spaces  
    • 8.3.2 Meeting the Needs of Residents  
    • 8.3.3 Sustainable Redevelopment  
    • Unit 9: Urban Renaissance  

      In the last few decades, many post-industrial cities have enjoyed an “urban renaissance”—repopulation and regeneration after a trend of urban decay and suburban flight in the mid-1900s.  To entice residents and businesses back to urban centers, city governments implemented a number of plans.  The first was to create or better showcase “green” urban spaces, such as public parks.  The second was to institute more environmentally friendly designs in city spaces.  And lastly, urban planners took a more conspicuous role in how cities were to be regenerated or developed.  As a result, many businesses and residents moved back “downtown.”  There, they enjoyed economic benefits—lower transportation costs and tax breaks—as well as social benefits—neighborhood regeneration and community formation.  However, throughout this period of urban renewal, challenges persisted.  Guaranteeing security and city services to new urban residents proved a difficult task, while promoting sustainable growth and development through public-private partnerships was not always successful or positive.  In this unit, we will study the origins of the “urban renaissance,” its short- and long-term effects, and the obstacles that the movement faced.

      Unit 9 Time Advisory   show close
      Unit 9 Learning Outcomes   show close
    • 9.1 Going Green  
    • 9.1.1 Environmentally Friendly Design  
    • 9.1.2 Urban Green Spaces  
    • 9.1.3 Efficiency and City Planning  
    • 9.2 The Lure of Downtown  
    • 9.2.1 Economic Factors  
    • 9.2.2 Transportation and Commuting  
    • 9.2.3 Entertainment and Recreation  
    • 9.3 Challenges  
    • 9.3.1 Safety and Security  
    • 9.3.2 Policing  
    • 9.3.3 City Services  
    • 9.3.4 Sustainable Growth and Development  
    • 9.3.5 Public-Private Partnerships  
    • Final Exam