The Industrial Revolution led to the physical transformation of European cities in the early nineteenth century. How and why did European cities physically change in response to urban challenges of the early nineteenth century? In your opinion, were the changes primarily intentional or unintentional? How did this physical transformation affect the lifestyles of urban dwellers at this time? Support your conclusions and opinions with evidence.
European cities witnessed a rapid change in the dynamic of urbanization during the early years of the nineteenth century. This was due to the industrial revolution that was experienced in most European countries. For instance, in Britain, the construction of the underground railway interconnected cities opening up the economy to people from the providence (Hanlon 462). Urban cities such as London grew in population and physical changes were evident. Against this backdrop, this essay discusses how and why did European cities physically change in response to urban challenges of the early nineteenth century; whether the changes primarily intentional or unintentional; how this physical transformation affected the lifestyles of urban dwellers.
The European cities physically changed and this was optically evident. They were in deplorable conditions. For instance, in London sewage was dumped right into the Thames River. According to Basu and Victoria, Paris and other cities emptied their sewers into the rivers that the residents relied on for consumption and daily use (45). Open sewers ran through the cities. Human waste, the offal from butchers’ stalls, and the horse manure that were left daily on the streets were carried away by gutters (Hanlon 470). The roads were very dusty during the summer periods and they were impassable during the winter because they were flooded and muddy. Garbage was disposed of in every corner of the streets in the city of Paris. The pollution was caused by waste from the factories as well as waste from the homesteads. During this time the municipal governments had not implemented measures towards sewage collection and disposal. One of the primary sources that clearly depict this is the novel by Charles Dickens, “Hard Times.” It describes a town that had unnatural red and black bricks as a result of soot (Dickens). The rivers had a purple color and had an ill smelling dye. This is a depiction of the state of the cities.
The cities witnessed the growth of slums. Before the industrial revolution, Manchester barely existed. The land was occupied by scattered villages and fields. However, its population grew to nearly a third of a million owning to the growth of industries. The landlords rented out cellars that were not intended for human habitant to families and in other extreme cases two families. (Basu and Victoria 35) People were crumped up in a room, ten or twelve of them. They were sharing beds or taking turns to sleep. Many living partitions were divided into small spaces. Animal waste and human waste were evident in these residential spaces. Other cities also witnessed the growth of slums because of the rising population due to factories. The rise in slums is attributed to the high migration rates as people came into the cities in search of work. The cities had no regulations over the number of people that could relocate. Due to this high population, the landlord took advantage and created spaces to house the growing population. The slums had narrow streets and hardly enough space for garbage disposal and so the streets in these slums were littered, wet, and smelly (Basu and Victoria 40). One primary source that depicts this is, the illustration by Thomas Annan, “The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow.” It shows the narrow streets of Glasgow that were in deplorable state (Annan).
The European cities witnessed a change in public transportation. The railway was one of the earliest means of transportation that was constructed in cities like London and Paris. The streets were cleared to make room for the construction of the railway. The railway interconnected cities and lead to further immigration. According to Paravanova, the first omnibus line in Paris was installed in 1828 and in 1829, London joined the wagon (98). The growth in public transportation was born out of population demand. The working population had to commute to the factories. Therefore, cities had to adopt any form of public transportation to avoid overcrowding in the cities.
Urban infrastructure was also evident during this time. The initial idea of urban planning originated from Prussia in 1808. Each municipal was required to set up a committee to oversee the conditions of the streets and the sidewalks, the establishment of street pavements as wells as drainage systems. Many cities such as London had street lamps, growth in the number of shops, education facilities, and public facilities such as banks, government offices, factories, and railway terminus. The growing population required these facilities to meet their daily demands. The economy was rapidly growing and the need for banks was high. The factories grew as a result of the industrial revolution.
These physical changes were…………………………
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