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Social Interaction in Urban Areas

Urban areas impact individuals’ relationships with one another. Economic problems and power dynamics are intensified in small spatial areas in which resources are scarce due to dense populations.

Social scientists seek to understand how metropolitan social dynamics are distinct from those in other contexts.

German sociologist Georg Simmel was a founding father of this sociological subfield. He gave a speech that analyzed the effects of urbanity on the mind of the individual, arguing that urban life irreversibly transforms one’s mind.

Social scientists ask two sets of questions about social life in urban areas. The first set asks how social interactions are shaped by urban environments, and the other asks more pointed questions about how the architecture and physical space of a city influence social interactions.

  • Urban Ecology Model

    In the urban ecology model, the social scientist considers how individuals interact with others in their urban community.

  • Sociology of Space

    The sociology of space is a sub-discipline of sociology that is concerned with the spatiality of society. It examines the constitution of spaces through action, as well as the dependence of action on spatial structures.

  • Sociology of Architecture

    Sociology of architecture is a term that describes the sociological study of either the built environment or the role and occupation of architects in modern societies.

Read more here.

Urbanisation is important because we can’t keep developing our food basin and we shouldn’t sentence young people to a life in the outskirts of suburbia, cut off from effective transport and services.

City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore, speaking at the National Press Club

What is the value of public space?

A recent article in land8 asked this question after a stir was caused over the cost of Toronto’s award winning, Sugar Beach.

Formerly a parking lot, and coming in at a cost of $14.1 million, there are those who feel the tax payer funded beach is an example of frivolous spending. However both the designers and Waterfront Toronto have defended the cost.

“Our mandate is to build great parks and public spaces to revitalize the waterfront, to help make the city a better place to live,” said Andrew Hilton of Waterfront Toronto. “These parks do that, by taking what was once dead space and turning it into active, animated spaces that are going to make the area more attractive to developers and people — and that’s exactly what’s happening.”

"You have to look at the return,” explained project landscape architect Mr. Cormier. "The ‘Jackie Kennedy pink’ umbrellas are a unique addition to the city’s urban landscape. They’re elegant. They’re soft. It has a kind of a positive mood and we need positive moods in the city, otherwise everything is so the same.”

I think the success of the space can largely be judged by the design brief. If the intention was to create a high quality public space that would attract waterfront development and people to the area, then by the sounds of it, way to go Toronto! I’d definitely visit Sugar Beach.

Photos | Claude Cormier et Associés