Urban Evolutionary Trends:
In chapter three of "The City in History", Lewis Mumford critiques those tenants of urban history that cleave to positivist views of urban city development, and alternatively, he hypothesizes a set of tools that can further the understanding of ancient urban city development. Thus, is order to for us to understand some of the evolutionary trends of the ancient urban city, we must consider the principles relating to urban development and how these principals developed over time.
The Urban Revolution, which first took place in both Mesopotamia and Egypt about 3,500BC, merits our close attention. Understanding the evolutionary trends helps historians form the symbolic boundary between pre-history and history and during it mankind invented civilization. We of course know when and where it took place, but we do not know exactly why; accordingly, we can only guess, or, since we are scholars, we can advance a theory, which is a sophisticated guess.
Historians suggest that the Urban Revolution took place because of a favorable coincidence of factors, specifically a favorable geographical and ecological setting (i.e. a setting such as the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, the Nile Valley, the Indus Valley, or the Yellow River Valley in China where the production of a substantial food surplus would be relatively easy) and a cultural factor, i.e. a people with the knowledge and drive to respond to the challenge presented by these environmental settings. They had to; for example, make complex technological innovations, like the invention of irrigation or the wheel in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley about 3500BC or sophisticated boats. The existence of the wheel and these boats then compelled to the development of roads and canals, setting in motion a process of challenge and innovation that has ever since characterized urban life, particularly in the...