Read this article to learn about the concept and characteristics of urbanism as a way of life.
The Concept of Urbanism:
The concept of “Urbanism” represents a way of life. The term generally denotes the diffusion of urban culture and the evolution of urban society.
The term urbanism can be defined in the following way:
C.B. Mamoria is of the opinion that urbanism is a cultural- social-economic phenomenon which traces interaction between the social and technological processes.
Louis Wirth has mentioned four characteristics of urban system or urbanism – heterogeneity of population, specialisation of function, anonymity and Impersonality and standardisation of behaviour.
Prof. Ram Ahuja says that urbanism Is a way of life which is characterised by certain elements such as transiency (short-term relations), superficiality, (impersonal and formal relations with limited number of people,) anonymity (not knowing names and lacking Intimacy) and individualism (people giving more importance to one’s vested interests).
Urbanism is a special concept which Inherits within itself all the characters connected with Urbanization and the urban way of life. The concept was given its final shape by Louis Wirth. Urbanism is a category of relevant element terms. It is a developing concept as the urban life pattern Itself, as it appears, is a developing and constantly changing phenomena.
In modern industrialised society, urbanism has become the predominant way of life. According to some, urbanism Indicate a wide acquaintance with things and people. Such acquaintance imbues the city dwellers with the spirit of tolerance. The urban people learn how to lead different lives in different circumstances.
Following Louis Wirth, Urbanism is a way of life, is characterised by extensive conflicts of norms and values, by rapid social change, by increased social differentiation, greater social mobility, by higher levels of education and income, by emphasis on material possessions and individualism, by impersonality of relationships and decline in Intimate communication and by increase in formal social controls.
“Urbanism is not synonymous with city”. ‘City’ refers to an area distinguished principally by size, population, density and social diversity, whereas urbanism refers to a complex of social relations.
Characteristics of Urbanism:
1. The diversity of social life (Normal and social role conflict)
2. Rapid social and cultural change.
3. Impersonalness and lack of intimate communication.
7. Increase In formal social control.
1. The norm and social role conflicts:
The diversity of social life springs from the size, density and heterogeneity of the population, extreme specialization of the various occupations and class structures existing in the larger communities. These latter factors generally result in divergent group norms and values and conflicting social roles.
2. Rapid social and cultural change:
Rapid social and cultural change also characterize urban life. So there is decline in the significance of traditional and sacred things. The reduced size of the modern family is the result of rapid social and cultural change.
3. Impersonalness and lack of intimate communication:
There is superficiality and impersonalness among the urbanities. Urban society is highly heterogeneous and specialised. So, the result is lack of intimate relationship. The urban people live close together but without emotional ties. Urban social relation takes place between strangers.
Urban people give primary importance to material possessions. They live and are known for their status symbols, bank balances, assets, salaries, buildings with modem furnishings etc.
In urban society people become more j individualistic, self-centred, selfish and so on. They give primary emphasis to their own interests and personal happiness, they develop the attitude towards competition, conflict in relation to economic goods and social position.
Here in urban society there is greater mobility. People move from one job to another, from one locality to another. The ^ residential mobility tends to weaken ties to the local community.
7. Increase in formal social controls:
Social controls in urban society Is more formal. Responsibility for controlling behaviour in cities is largely shifting to the police, the courts and other agencies of government to enforce the norms of certain groups. Cities vary in the extent or the degree to which they are characterised by urban qualities. Some cities have less norm and role conflicts, social change, mobility, individualism and impersonality than others.
According to Morris Janowitz, Sociologists have failed to take into consideration those impressive degrees and patterns of local community life exist within metropolitan limits. He has suggested that the role of mobility and impersonality in urban life should not be overstated in the factory and other work situations. Indeed, urbanism is a matter of degree.